Panethnicity is the grouping together and labeling of various ethnicities into one all-encompassing group. In the US this is most often seen in the labeling of all Spanish speakers as Latin American regardless of their country of origin, the labeling of all people from East Asia as Asian Americans, of all people with dark skin as African-American and of all Native American tribes as collective Native Americans. Often these labels group together people of different nationalities and/or ethnicities that may in fact be very different from each other. The grouping is often done based on similar physical characteristics, sharing of a common language or a common religion [] .


The use of panethnic labels is often started by outsiders of the group. Mainstream institutions and political policies often play a big role in the labeling of panethnic groups. They often enact policies that deal with specific groups of people and panethnic groups are one way to group large numbers of people. Public policy might dole out resources or make deals with multiple groups, vie|wing them all as one large entity [] . Groups that have similarities in background, language, and other characteristics in turn might form groups that come to be panethnic as a way to form group solidarity. Likewise, some groups choose to embrace the panethnic labels that have already been given to them by outsiders. When racial or ethnic discrimination occurs, if outsiders have already labeled as one group they will all be discriminated against, and in turn often accept the labels as a way to unite and fight the discrimination and stereotyping that can occur from panethnic labeling [] . With the Civil Rights Movement, the increase in collective action based on identity contributed to the formation of many panethnic groups. As a unified group many panethnic organizations have developed such as La Raza and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. Panethnic organizations can serve to help groups achieve goals based on common interests and also to pool their resources together. Panethnicity has allowed for Asian Americans to unite based on similar historical relations with the U.S., such as U.S. military presence in their native country. The Asian American panethnic identity has evolved to become a means for immigrant groups such as Asian Americans to unite in order to gain political strength in numbers.


1*cite now
first=Grace and Kara Joyner
title=Do Hispanic and Asian Adolescents Practice Panethnicity in Friendship Choices?

2*cite now
first=Dina G.
title=Institutional Panethnicity: Boundary Formation in Asian-American Organizing

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