Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Joseph E. Trimble & Ryan A. Dickson
An ethnic gloss is an overgeneralization or simplistic categorical label used to refer to ethnocultural groups, such as American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans, and nationalistic or indigenous groups where unique cultural and ethnic differences found among group members are ignored. An ethnic gloss presents the illusion of homogeneity where none exists, and therefore it may be considered a superficial, almost vacuous, categorization that serves only to separate one group from another (Trimble, 1991). Use of an ethnic gloss provides little or no information on the richness and cultural variation within ethnocultural groups, much less the existence of numerous subgroups characterized by distinct life-ways and thoughtways. At best, it is an invented and often contrived symbolic label for referring to a distinct ethnocultural population. It is a sorting device that has little to do with the deep cultural influences that guide a group member's thought, feelings, and behavior. ...