Wikipedia:WikiProject Ethnic groups

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Ethnic groups
General information
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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 16 April 2020, there are 6,175 articles within the scope of WikiProject Ethnic groups, of which 10 are featured and 46 are good articles. This makes up 0.1% of the articles on Wikipedia, 0.11% of all featured articles and lists, and 0.15% of all good articles. Including non-article pages, such as talk pages, redirects, categories, etcetera, there are 18,340 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.


Descendant Wikiprojects

Similar Wikiprojects

The similar WikiProjects are WikiProject Clans of Scotland and WikiProject Languages.

The latter can be useful for helping avoid orphaned ethnic-group articles. Ideally, all articles on ethnolinguistic groups should be cross-listed in the corresponding language article. There is an "ethnicity" field in the language info box for this purpose. However, the writers of the language articles may be unfamiliar with which ethnicity articles have been written, so it will be helpful if writers from this project add the links or at least suggest them on the talk page.

Often speakers distinguish "languages" based on ethnicity, while linguistically they may be lumped together. In such cases there may be more than one ethnolinguistic group listed in the language info box.


See /Members.


See Wikipedia:WikiProject Ethnic groups/Template for a prototypical structure of an article about an ethnic group.

Hierarchy definition

No classification of ethnic groups has been defined. However, the notion of hierarchy is potentially relevant, probably yielding a directed acyclic graph, but probably not a simple tree. For example consider:

           Semitic peoples
                 / \
                /   \
               /     \
              v       v
        Ashkenazim   Sephardim
               \     /
                \   /   
                 \ /
           Jewish Americans

Also, there may be a need to consider (necessarily controversial) designations such as nation, subnational group, etc. Mostly, this looks like an issue to postpone for now, and to discuss at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ethnic Groups. However, it is probably relevant to discuss for an ethnic group to what extent it is defined by ancestry, heritage, and geography. For example, an Afro-Brazilian is defined by African heritage, typically by descending from slaves (the word would be unlikely to be used for a 21st-century person whose parents had come from Ethiopia, or for a transplanted family of white South Africans), and by Brazilian birth or by one's family having lived several generations in Brazil.

Again, these are just preliminary notes on a subject we have not yet really engaged, and should probably be refined in the talk page before trying to work out any standard approach. For now, there is no standard.

Article naming

As of April 2012, there is no strong consensus on naming of articles about ethnic groups. In the following table the pattern is based on an imaginary Elbonian ethnicity.

Pattern Examples
Elbonians American Jews, Romanians, Rusyns, Serbs, Taiwanese aborigines
Elbonian people Basque people, Koreans, Kurdish people
Elbonian¹ African American, Iyer, Jew
Ethnic Elbonians Ethnic Germans
Elbonians (ethnic group) Macedonians (ethnic group)
(other) Asians in South Africa
The Youtai do not have an article of their own but are covered at History of the Jews in China.

¹ Since an ethnic group is group of people, a designation in the plural is probably the least ambiguous article title.

Categories and subcategories

There are currently two norms that generally apply in using categories. The Wikipedia:Categorization/Gender, race and sexuality policy says that racial/ethnic subcategories (for example, by occupation) should only be created if the topic has already been established as academically or culturally significant by external sources. The Wikipedia:Categorization/Categories and subcategories guideline for using subcategories is that in straightforward cases an article should not be in both a category and its subcategory. Obviously, valid exceptions to this do occur. For consistency in this Project, it will be helpful for the category page to say where an "all included" practice is being applied. For an example of that, see Category:American film actors..


General Strategy and Discussion forum

We use the talk page as the discussion forum, and sometimes move content to more appropriate places as pattern develops.


Stubs in this area can be marked with one of the stub types listed at the foot of this page

You also may want to place {{WikiProject Ethnic groups}} on the talk page of articles within the scope of this project. This will show as:

WikiProject Ethnic groups (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject iconThis page is within the scope of WikiProject Ethnic groups, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles relating to ethnic groups, nationalities, and other cultural identities on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This page does not require a rating on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This page has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.

Alternatively, you can set the |small=yes option, and the template will appear more compact, as well as right-aligned:

WikiProject Ethnic groups (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject iconThis page is within the scope of WikiProject Ethnic groups, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles relating to ethnic groups, nationalities, and other cultural identities on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  Quality: rating not applicable
 Mid  Importance: Mid

Adding this template to a talk page will automatically place the article into Category:WikiProject Ethnic groups articles.

There are also two userboxes available:

Partial list of pages covered by the project

We are currently (October 2006) in the process of switching over to a more automated method of tracking this: Wikipedia:WikiProject Ethnic groups/Assessment. The criteria have also changed somewhat; see Template:WikiProject Ethnic groups and Template talk:WikiProject Ethnic groups.

The rest of this section should evolve into notes on articles where more than routine attention is currently needed.

Note that there is a separate (and very active) WikiProject Indigenous peoples of North America. Since that has been formed, this project has tended to "stay off of their turf". In particular, please do not place {{WikiProject Ethnic groups}} on talk pages that already have {{NorthAmNative}}.

New classification

An article's quality assessment is generated from the class parameter in the {{WikiProject Ethnic groups}} project banner on its talk page:

{{WikiProject Ethnic groups|class=???}}

The following values may be used for the class parameter to describe the quality of the article (see Wikipedia:Quality scale for assessment criteria):

FA (for featured articles only; adds articles to Category:FA-Class Ethnic groups articles) Featured article FA 
A (adds articles to Category:A-Class Ethnic groups articles) A-Class article A 
GA (for good articles only; adds articles to Category:GA-Class Ethnic groups articles)  GA 
B (adds articles to Category:B-Class Ethnic groups articles) B-Class article B 
C (adds articles to Category:C-Class Ethnic groups articles) C-Class article C 
Start (adds articles to Category:Start-Class Ethnic groups articles) Start-Class article Start 
Stub (adds articles to Category:Stub-Class Ethnic groups articles) Stub-Class article Stub 
FL (for featured lists only; adds articles to Category:FL-Class Ethnic groups articles) Featured list FL 
List (adds articles to Category:List-Class Ethnic groups articles)  List 

For pages that are not articles, the following values can also be used for the class parameter:

NA (for any other pages where assessment is unnecessary; adds pages to Category:NA-Class Ethnic groups articles)  NA 
??? (articles for which a valid class has not yet been provided are listed in Category:Unassessed Ethnic groups articles)  ??? 

Ethnic groups article statistics

This list is generated automatically every night around 10 PM EST.

Ancillary articles

Closely related:

Less closely related:


Deletion discussions can be viewed at Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Ethnic groups

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Open tasks

Clipboard.svg Here are some open WikiProject Ethnic groups tasks:

Feel free to edit this list or discuss these tasks.


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