U.S. Racial Groups: General & Specific Terms
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Martin Luther King, Jr.
View U.S. Census
and statistics of racial and social-economic characteristics of people
Also view maps that show a different spatial pattern of racial groups.
|Members of specific groups and people not of these groups use words, labels, and names to identify themselves and other groups. Which names are acceptable? In the 1990s political correct language had become the fashion. Read an article in The Economist on how silly the discussion over political correctness has become!|
|* The term "African Americans" is used
multiculturists and academics, while the term "Black Americans or Blacks" is used by
assimilationists and "people of color" on the street..
# The term "Hispanic" comes from the Latin word for Iberia, Hispania. The term become widely used in the late 1970s when the U.S. Census Bureau adopted it to describe persons in the United States who are descendent from Spain or from a Spanish-speaking country in the Western Hemisphere. Hispanic is based on history and geography rather than on racial or ethnic categories because Hispanics may be of any race -- African, Asian, European, and/or Native American -- as long as they trace their ancestry to Spain or one of its (former) colonies.
## The term "Latino/a" (male/female) originated from within the social group it describes and is considered a more appropriate term, certainly by them.
|Note: The Nixon (Republican) administration invented these "racial" categories for affirmative action purposes, not Democratic Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson as many scholars and journalists have reported.|
What do we call ourselves?
Statistics Canada also uses the term "visible minority, " which does not include Aborginals, rather than the U.S. term "racial minorities," which does include Indians.
Politically Correct Language!
Some words, let's admit it, are just too offensive for their own good. Some condemn themselves; but others pose as perfectly harmless, capable of being slipped by bigots into every conversation. These need watching; for the n-word is only the tip of the iceberg. Videotapes from other city offices over the years show a Latina councilwoman, Laetitia Gonzales, bursting into tears when a colleague described her dress as Day-glo pink; the first openly lesbian sub-accountant, Ms Wilkins, resigning when the budget director pointed out a dichotomy in her spread-sheets; and the gay information tsar, Roger Pringle, refusing point-blank to sit beneath a sign reading Queries. Worst of all was the incident late last year when the sub-director of pothole-maintenance, having groaned "Not juice again!" as his secretary brought his breakfast, was sacked for anti-Semitism.
Slurs ancient and modern
Despicable incidents of this sort should clearly be avoided. But there
you go again; "despicable" itself contains a slur on
Americans of Mexican extraction. The Economist has been
told off for that, too; again, quite right. Despicable should never be
used in public situations; conspicuous should be conspicuous by its
absence; and all who are at all perspicacious will lament the
presence of these words in our language. It's all the fault of those
damned Romans, who could never have run their empire
without the help of all those illegal dishwashers and cleaners they
so casually insulted with almost every verb they coined.
By exposing and shaming the users of such words, the Washington
mayor's office has done the world a service. The Economist
believes it should do no less to keep the language spick and span.
Rather than denigrating racial, religious or life-style choices,
rather than niggling and nipping at the differences between us, we
should take the higher path, and our readers should write to us
every time we fail. Those with the longest list of gratuitous slurs
will receive a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary reduced, by
judicious expurgation, to the size of a Filofax. That should put our
writers in a paddy.