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Ethnic groups
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WikiProject Ethnic Groups is a project to coordinate among articles about ethnic groups and other closely related topics. This project, founded in January 2004, has produced an optional article template and infobox to be used for articles about ethnic groups and other similar entities. It also provides an opportunity for interested contributors to assess any article in the WikiProject, following the Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team's assessment system. A concise overview of the articles associated with this Wikiproject can be found in the Ethnic groups articles by quality assessment table.

A few Wikipedians have gotten together to make some suggestions about how we might organize data in articles about ethnic groups. These are only suggestions, things to give you focus and to get you going, and you shouldn't feel obligated in the least to follow them. But if you don't know what to write or where to begin, following the below guidelines may be helpful. Mainly, we just want you to write articles!

First, let's start with what this project is not:

  • There is no intention of identifying all individuals by ethnic group or even of increasing the number of ethnic or national identifications in Wikipedia.

Let's be clear: ethnicity is a minefield. However, that is all the more reason to have clear and consistent criteria for talking about it when we talk about it.

When this project was founded, Wikipedia had relatively few articles on ethnicities; in particular, discussion of many of the world's most prominent ethnic groups was wholly subsumed into the discussion of a nation-state or a region. That has now largely changed: it is pretty safe to say that Wikipedia no longer commonly confuses Romanian (person from Romania) with Romanian (person of Romanian ethnicity). It is now routine in Wikipedia to describe (continuing with this example) a "Romanian national of Hungarian ethnicity" without linking to the arguably irrelevant article about the nation-state of Hungary (or similarly, to refer to a Hungarian national of Romanian ethnicity without linking to the article about Romania). Similarly, we do not treat the Transylvanian Saxons as misplaced nationals of Germany.

When this project started in January 2004, we noted that different ethnicities were very differently handled. This still remains somewhat the case. For example, most Native American ethnicities are dealt with mainly from a historical and anthropological point of view, whereas other groups such as the Overseas Chinese are dealt with from a contemporary political point of view. As of October 2006, this has undoubtedly improved somewhat, partly through the efforts of this project in providing an article template and, especially, an appropriate infobox for these articles, which serves as a reminder that (for example) Native American groups are still present in the world today and (conversely) European ethnic groups also have anthropologically significant sub-ethnicities.

As remarked above, this area is a minefield. Ethnic groups have only slightly more epistemological validity than races, and the concept is possibly even more subject to hijacking by extreme nationalists than the concept of a nation itself. Nonetheless, it crops up constantly and we need guidelines for dealing with it.

In addition to the articles on individual ethnicities, this project also relates, in various degrees, to certain ancillary articles which describe concepts that are necessary in order to discuss ethnicities.

Also, almost every biography of a person who is not of the majority ethnicity of the country they are from already notes ethnicity. This project is a place where we can discuss such matters in a context that is not tied to work on one particular ethnicity, and try to reach some consensus by which different ethnicities will be treated in a parallel manner.


This WikiProject aims primarily to provide guidelines for articles about ethnic groups and nationalities independent of writing about nation-states. The motivation for this came in writing about Eastern Europe, but it should relevant to any other parts of the world.

This project construes the term "ethnic group" in its broadest sense. There may be identifiable ethnic (sub)-groups within an ethnic group (such as the Ashkenazi within the Jews). Any article templates, infoboxes, etc. we adopt must allow for a way to talk about that. Often, ethnicities border on being nationalities, such as the native "First Nations" of the Americas, or are heavily identified with a particular nation, such as the Ethnic Germans.

The scope of the project also extends to such Ancillary articles as Ethnic group or Self-determination. In those cases we do not so much expect to provide guidelines as simply to provide the informed input of a group of people who have been significantly involved in writing in Wikipedia about ethnicity.

As of 17 October 2018, there are 5,457 articles within the scope of WikiProject Ethnic groups, of which 9 are featured and 41 are good articles. This makes up 0.1% of the articles on Wikipedia, 0.1% of all featured articles and lists, and 0.14% of all good articles. Including non-article pages, such as talk pages, redirects, categories, etcetera, there are 15,970 pages in the project.

Ethnic groups and the burden of evidence

Two facts that are particular to articles within the scope of this WikiProject place a special burden of proof upon editors:

  • It is a fact of human nature that discussions become heated over issues which mount a challenge (real or imagined) to the identity that individuals have constructed for themselves. A related fact is that issues of ethnicity (however the term is defined) are all too frequently issues of identity. By extension, the content of pages that are within the scope of this WikiProject can be the source of both heated debate and hasty, unverified assertions.
  • Moreover, as Franz Boas pointed out at the beginning of the twentieth century, language, culture, and biological traits vary independently, and no inferences can be made from one to the others in the absence of very precise evidence.

For these reasons, the need for accurately, verifiably and reliably sourced information for articles within the scope of this WikiProject cannot be understated. This is true of all aspects, but is perhaps especially true of concepts that are difficult to define or subject to manipulation. Prime examples of these are the concept of "related groups," as well as population data compiled from different statistical sources. While some facts can be established and verified in these domains, the opportunities for original research are abundant.

The content policies and guidelines of Wikpedia (described Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Neutral point of view) give qualified license to the removal of unsourced info at any time by any editor. In these cases, the burden of proof is placed upon the editor who originally added the information.