Saturday, September 12, 2015

Minority - Why to Stop Using this Word

I used the word "minority" in my Why this Blog? post and heard from a sister that it isn't the best term to use. The article below was helpful to me to read and learn from. I am glad I now understand the distinction between this word, and other, more informative words. -DG

Isn’t it time to stop using the term “minority” to describe all individuals, racial and ethnic groups who are not White?
by Barry Cross, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Elsie Y. Cross Associates, 2009

link to the full article

Here are some excerpts:

Using the term “minority,” and even Hispanic, paints a picture with too broad a brush. This terminology does not distinguish the textures of culture, ethnicity and race, nor does it notice or attempt to understand different experiences, realities and perspectives by social group identity. For example, if we use the term “minority” to describe everyone who is not White, we miss the differences between Arabs, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
This is not about being politically correct. This is about respecting people for who they are and making an effort to acknowledge their heritage, ethnicity, culture, race, and/or experience. Calling everyone who is non–White a “minority” is disrespectful and lazy. Think about it, we don’t call White people the “majority.” Most White people don’t consider themselves a group, however, they experience others as “minority” groups.
The more appropriate way to describe someone or a group when you don’t know their ethnicity, nationality, or race would be as a Person of Color for individuals or People of Color at the group level or for mixed groups. However, if you do know their heritage, it is always best to use that. I would say the same is true for the terms Hispanic and Asian. Both terms cover a wide range of cultures and nationalities. So again, if you do not know that person’s ethnicity then it would more appropriate to be curious and ask what race or ethnicity best represents the person who you are describing. Accept how they self-identify.

While the term “minority” is commonly used by the media, human rights groups and in various government documents and policies, it subordinates groups, places a negative label on people and racializes the term. Let’s move away from creating an “us and them” two-group mentality and get to know who we really are by our social group identity and see, acknowledge, and accept our differences and similarities. Reducing everyone who is not White to a “minority” continues to make individuals and groups invisible.

Why this Blog?

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