Disclaimer: I do not mean to offend anyone, but it is inevitable that some may take offense. And for that I advise against continuing.
People tend to merge both together. When I first came to Australia, I had to go through my ancestral history explicitly. A normal conversation would go like:
Aussie: So where are you from?
Aussie: Oh! - proceeds to say something in Malay, probably thinking that he sounds very clever
Me: I'm Chinese.
Aussie: Oh, so you are Malay-Chinese?
Me: Nope, my parents are Chinese and their grandparents/parents who are Chinese, immigrated from China to Malaysia.
Aussie: What's that? - confused
Me: My mother's mother and father and my father's father and mother-
Aussie: Your grandparents?
Me: .. (Thinking: Don't be a smartass) Yes. My grandparents or their grandparents immigrated from China. To. Malaysia.
Aussie: So, some where along the line, your ancestors must have married a Malay to make you part Malaysian right?
Me: Malaysian is a nationality. Malay is a race. I'm pure Chinese.
Me: (Idiots! Idiots all around me) Look, you're Australian, right? So if your parents moved to Malaysia, does that make you Malay?
Aussie: Ohh so you're originally from China and you moved to Malaysia?
Me: No, my ancestors did. I was born in Malaysia, therefore I'm Malaysian.
Aussie: So you're Malay-Chinese.
Me: No. I'm Chinese, from Malaysia. I'm not Malay, Malay is a different race altogether.
|Source: Google Images|
Nationality: Wherever you've got citizenship. So, Australian, Malaysian... Those are nationalities.
Race: Whatever "color" (this is politically incorrect but I don't know how else to put it) you are. So, Caucasian (White), Asians (Brown/Yellow)... Those are races.
I can see why some people cannot differentiate between the two. Asians are branched off into Korean, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Malay... All of which are also the respective names of their nationalities. Additionally, Caucasians do not have those differing sub categories, they categorize purely based on nationality. So I can see why it's confusing, so let's break it down...
Race is something you can not change. It's something you're born with and will die with. It's in your features, your skin tone, your ancestral heritage, in your blood. If you're Caucasian, that means your parents are both Caucasian, their parents were Caucasian and so on and so forth.
Nationality, on the other hand, can be changed depending on the individual. Anyone who has the right qualifications could apply for citizenship anywhere in the world. If you were born in Australia and you are Caucasian, you could migrate to Malaysia and become a Malaysian or migrate to America and become an American if you wanted to... But you will always be Caucasian.
Here are a few pictures of hot girl stars to illustrate my point:
Hebe (singer) is born in Taiwan. Taiwanese have been known to argue that they are a different race altogether, and much rather refer to those from China as Chinese, and themselves, Taiwanese. But for the sake of this argument, she's Chinese-Taiwanese - because Taiwan was once a part of China and they are descended from Chinese. Anyway, if she migrated to Australia, her nationality will be Australian, making her Chinese-Australian.
Scarlett Johansson (actress) is mixed with Jew (maternal) and Danish (paternal). So, her race is Jew-Danish. However, because she immigrated to America, her nationality is American. Therefore, she is Jew-Danish-American.
Nina Dobrev (actress) is born in Bulgaria and is racially Bulgarian but she moved to Canada when she was 2 so now she is Bulgarian-Canadian. Canadian is her nationality.
I actually wanted White, Yellow and Black representatives but I do not know any Indian/Nigerian/African/Malay actresses/singers so this will have to do. Haha!
Hell, if I had Australian citizenship, I would be Australian but I will always be Chinese. It's the same thing with African-American and me being Chinese-Malaysian!
* I'm not implying that Australians are dim, I am merely unfortunate to have met some ignorant ones. And it's not even limited to Australians, even in Malaysia (specifically Kuching), I have friends who go like:
Friend: OMG, s/he's Australian/American/Kiwi/Canadian/(insert nationality here) so that means s/he's either White or is mixed! (Obviously, they don't phrase it as so, they usually use the word 'ang mo' which is Hokkien slang for 'white people' but it's literal translation is 'red hair' so they would usually say 's/he is ang mo')
Me: Seriously? His/her parents are from Malaysia, they moved to Australia/America/New Zealand/Canada and moved back to Malaysia... How does that make him/her white?! If that's the case, if I move to Australia/America/New Zealand/Canada and moved back here, does that make me white?
Oh, to understand the above, you have to bear in mind that a majority of Chinese are more welcoming towards the white folk and tend to ostracize darker skinned races. But that's for a different post which, I promise will follow this one. That's a promise I will keep unlike this promise which I broke because, I have a personal vendetta against people who worship Caucasians.