Is cajun an ethnicity?

I am proud to say that I am of Cajun ancestry. My father's family comes from a small area in southeast Louisiana that was founded by a small group of people with their own language, customs, etc. Unfortunately when he grew up (he is in his 60s) cajuns were discriminated against so he was not taught to speak cajun nor could he say he was cajun. I am always seeing on applications a section for race and/or ethnicity. Well, I have learned cajun. I was taught by my grandfather as a child and am proud of the culture. I therefore claim cajun to be my ethnicity in the same way someone would say they are hispanic. As far as race, I am caucasian. I am bringing this up because I was corrected today on an application by another race. For my race I put caucasian but for ethnicity, cajun. I was rudely told that I cannot put cajun I would have to put caucasian for both. Why? As far as I understand the definition, I should be able to claim cajun as my ethnicity.

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Race refers to people grouped together rather arbitrarily based on skin-color by most colloquial American/English standards. Frankly, it has very little solid basis on anything other than historical sociopolitical biases and agenda, but sadly it still has very large clout in politics and society. Examples would include black, white, asian, etc...

    Nationality generally refers to what country you are a citizen of (Canadian, German, American, Japanese).

    Ethnicity vaguely refers to what "original" socially and linguistically-coherent group of people one is descended from. This is different from nationality since while most people living in Germany and Austria are citizens of their respective countries claiming their respective nationalities, for the most part, they all belong to one German ethnic group sharing a pretty common culture and language (while many immigrant groups live in these countries and can claim German or Austrian nationality, they aren't ethnically German).

    So, I am a Caucasian/Asian mix so I am an ethnic cross of Vietnamese, French, etc., a racial mix of white and asian, but holding American citizenship.

    It's kinda confusing because many countries and nationalities unlike the US or Canada base their state's existence on one supposedly-united and coherent ethnic group. Thus Finland is for the Finns, Koreans for the ethnically Korean, and so on. So even if someone naturalizes and becomes a Korean or Finnish citizen, certain native Koreans or Finns would have difficulty accepting their nationality since in their eyes ethnicity and nationality are so closely tied in their countries.

    Not to further confuse/add exceptions, but very occasionally, "race" can refer to a certain ethnicity--such as "The Japanese race" although you don't hear this use much more nowadays, and in Canada, the French speaking province of Quebec was called a "nation within Canada" by the prime minister.

    So I don't blame you if you're confused--in our globalized world with increasing multiculturalism these terms will be increasingly muddled.

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    Cajun is most certainly an ethnic group. I found this in Wikipedia:

    "...Ethnic group of national origin....

    The Cajuns retain a unique dialect of the French language and numerous other cultural traits that distinguish them as an ETHNIC group. Cajuns were officially recognized by the U.S. government as a national ethnic group in 1980 per a discrimination lawsuit filed in federal district court. Presided over by Judge Edwin Hunter, the case, known as Roach v. Dresser Industries Valve and Instrument Division (494 F.Supp. 215, D.C. La., 1980), hinged on the issue of the Cajuns' ethnicity. Significantly, Judge Hunter held in his ruling that:

    "We conclude that plaintiff is protected by Title VII's ban on national origin discrimination. The Louisiana Acadian (Cajun) is alive and well. He is “up front” and “main stream.” He is not asking for any special treatment. By affording coverage under the “national origin” clause of Title VII he is afforded no special privilege. He is given only the same protection as those with English, Spanish, French, Iranian, Portuguese, Mexican, Italian, Irish, et al., ancestors." ...."

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  • 3 years ago

    Cajuns are Acadians who were kicked out of Canada, and went to Louisiana. They are French ethnically, although there are enough difference for them to be almost a separate group.

    And, speaking "Cajun?" Do you mean French?

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