Defining Our Experiment, Facing Our Challenge
Understanding California’s human landscapes (human imprints on the land) requires knowledge of the people who built them. Because modern California populations have become remarkably complex, defining and categorizing the state’s people is a difficult and fascinating task.
Ethnicity refers to the combination of a people’s racial ancestry (physical characteristics) and culture ( customs, language, and religion). In this section, we will venture far beyond the confines of ethnic categories to identify some of the rich mixtures of races (those people who share distinctive and inherited biological characteristics), cultures, and lifestyles that characterize California’s population.