How about we replace the term ‘minorities’ with…

Poynter.org
Phuong Ly asks whether it’s time to stop using the term “minorities,” in part so we can avoid sentences like this one from the Associated Press:

For the first time, minorities make up the majority of babies in the U.S. …

But news organizations are struggling to find a better word to replace it. One option, Ly writes, is the acronym AHANA. Suggestions from readers include:

How about Americans?

How about people?

…just describe whatever group are the actual minorities.

As ethnic groups, each is a minority. To use majority would be confusing and borderline tendentious, as if non-whites were conspiring together to form a presumptive majority.

What’s your pick?

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  • Anonymous

    I like

    “people of color.” That’s what we use to describe ourselves.

  • Anonymous

    I like

    “people of color.” That’s what we use to describe ourselves.

  • http://twitter.com/kdberr1 Karin

    Use the specific ethnic group. I never liked being part of a “minority.” I have an ethnic identity, it’s African-American, and that’s OK. Referring to me as a “minority” doesn’t acknowledge this at all. No matter what term is used to replace “minority” still puts non-whites in their place against the white majority. Stop lumping non-whites into one group.

  • Anonymous

    Why do we write the names of Vietnamese and Thai people the wrong way in English newspapers?For example, David Smith who family name is Smith is called David Smith in the first time his name is mentioned in a news story, but in the second and third references we call him Mr Smith or just Smith, as in Mr Smith said, or Smith said.  But for Yingluck Shinawatra, who family name like Smith is Shinawatra, and her brother is called Thaksin Shinawatra, we call them in English newspapers as Yingluck or Thaksin for second and third reference in a news story, and that is like called Mr Smith above as David in the second and third refs. That seems disrespectful to this Yankee editor living in Asia. Yes in Thailand, they do it that way in Thai language newspaper yes, i know. But in Western newspapers I feel that we should refer to her as Ms. Shinawatra the second ref and her brother as Mr Shinawatra for second and third refs. Yes or no? Agree or disagree? And the same applies to names of VIetnamese people living in Vietnam or in the USA.  A man named Nguyen Thu Thuy is in reality Mr Nguyen, since family name comes first in Vietnam naming order…..and USA newspapers and UK papers do call him Nguyen Thu Thuy on first referemce. But on second and third refs they call him Thuy, and again that is like calling Mr SMith above as “David” the second and third refs. We know that is wrong. So why do we teat Thai and Vietnamse names in a disrepsectul way? Go to Japan. There, everything is fine. While in Japanese cutlure names are WATANABE Hironobu, family name first like China and Taiwan and Vietnam, most English newpspaper will refer to him in English now as Hironobu Watanabe, and then most readers will know that his family name is Watanabe and Davide Smith’s name is Mr Smith, not Mr David. The previous PM in Japan was called Junichiro Koizumi in first reference and Koizumi in second ref….Why can’t we bring Thai and Vietnamese names up to speed on this, for English newspapers and online sites?
      
    For example, David Smith who family name is Smith is called David Smith in the first time his name is mentioned in a news story, but in the second and third references we call him Mr Smith or just Smith, as in Mr Smith said, or Smith said.  But for Yingluck Shinawatra, who family name like Smith is Shinawatra, and her brother is called Thaksin Shinawatra, we call them in English newspapers as Yingluck or Thaksin for second and third reference in a news story, and that is like called Mr Smith above as David in the second and third refs. That seems disrespectful to this Yankee editor living in Asia. Yes in Thailand, they do it that way in Thai language newspaper yes, i know. But in Western newspapers I feel that we should refer to her as Ms. Shinawatra the second ref and her brother as Mr Shinawatra for second and third refs. Yes or no? Agree or disagree? And the same applies to names of VIetnamese people living in Vietnam or in the USA.  A man named Nguyen Thu Thuy is in reality Mr Nguyen, since family name comes first in Vietnam naming order…..and USA newspapers and UK papers do call him Nguyen Thu Thuy on first referemce. But on second and third refs they call him Thuy, and again that is like calling Mr SMith above as “David” the second and third refs. We know that is wrong. So why do we teat Thai and Vietnamse names in a disrepsectul way? Go to Japan. There, everything is fine. While in Japanese cutlure names are WATANABE Hironobu, family name first like China and Taiwan and Vietnam, most English newpspaper will refer to him in English now as Hironobu Watanabe, and then most readers will know that his family name is Watanabe and Davide Smith’s name is Mr Smith, not Mr David. The previous PM in Japan was called Junichiro Koizumi in first reference and Koizumi in second ref….Why can’t we bring Thai and Vietnamese names up to speed on this, for English newspapers and online sites?
      

  • Anonymous

    Why do we write the names of Vietnamese and Thai people the wrong way in English newspapers?For example, David Smith who family name is Smith is called David Smith in the first time his name is mentioned in a news story, but in the second and third references we call him Mr Smith or just Smith, as in Mr Smith said, or Smith said.  But for Yingluck Shinawatra, who family name like Smith is Shinawatra, and her brother is called Thaksin Shinawatra, we call them in English newspapers as Yingluck or Thaksin for second and third reference in a news story, and that is like called Mr Smith above as David in the second and third refs. That seems disrespectful to this Yankee editor living in Asia. Yes in Thailand, they do it that way in Thai language newspaper yes, i know. But in Western newspapers I feel that we should refer to her as Ms. Shinawatra the second ref and her brother as Mr Shinawatra for second and third refs. Yes or no? Agree or disagree? And the same applies to names of VIetnamese people living in Vietnam or in the USA.  A man named Nguyen Thu Thuy is in reality Mr Nguyen, since family name comes first in Vietnam naming order…..and USA newspapers and UK papers do call him Nguyen Thu Thuy on first referemce. But on second and third refs they call him Thuy, and again that is like calling Mr SMith above as “David” the second and third refs. We know that is wrong. So why do we teat Thai and Vietnamse names in a disrepsectul way? Go to Japan. There, everything is fine. While in Japanese cutlure names are WATANABE Hironobu, family name first like China and Taiwan and Vietnam, most English newpspaper will refer to him in English now as Hironobu Watanabe, and then most readers will know that his family name is Watanabe and Davide Smith’s name is Mr Smith, not Mr David. The previous PM in Japan was called Junichiro Koizumi in first reference and Koizumi in second ref….Why can’t we bring Thai and Vietnamese names up to speed on this, for English newspapers and online sites?
      
    For example, David Smith who family name is Smith is called David Smith in the first time his name is mentioned in a news story, but in the second and third references we call him Mr Smith or just Smith, as in Mr Smith said, or Smith said.  But for Yingluck Shinawatra, who family name like Smith is Shinawatra, and her brother is called Thaksin Shinawatra, we call them in English newspapers as Yingluck or Thaksin for second and third reference in a news story, and that is like called Mr Smith above as David in the second and third refs. That seems disrespectful to this Yankee editor living in Asia. Yes in Thailand, they do it that way in Thai language newspaper yes, i know. But in Western newspapers I feel that we should refer to her as Ms. Shinawatra the second ref and her brother as Mr Shinawatra for second and third refs. Yes or no? Agree or disagree? And the same applies to names of VIetnamese people living in Vietnam or in the USA.  A man named Nguyen Thu Thuy is in reality Mr Nguyen, since family name comes first in Vietnam naming order…..and USA newspapers and UK papers do call him Nguyen Thu Thuy on first referemce. But on second and third refs they call him Thuy, and again that is like calling Mr SMith above as “David” the second and third refs. We know that is wrong. So why do we teat Thai and Vietnamse names in a disrepsectul way? Go to Japan. There, everything is fine. While in Japanese cutlure names are WATANABE Hironobu, family name first like China and Taiwan and Vietnam, most English newpspaper will refer to him in English now as Hironobu Watanabe, and then most readers will know that his family name is Watanabe and Davide Smith’s name is Mr Smith, not Mr David. The previous PM in Japan was called Junichiro Koizumi in first reference and Koizumi in second ref….Why can’t we bring Thai and Vietnamese names up to speed on this, for English newspapers and online sites?
      

  • Anonymous

    AP’s awkward sentence could have been salvaged by simply substituting “minority groups” for “minorities.”  it doesn’t need to entail a big philosophical/sociological discussion.

  • Anonymous

    AP’s awkward sentence could have been salvaged by simply substituting “minority groups” for “minorities.”  it doesn’t need to entail a big philosophical/sociological discussion.

  • Anonymous

    but AHANA? I would scrap that one too — 1979 was a long time ago too! RE:AHANA is a term that refers to persons of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent.[1] The term was coined at Boston College in 1979 by two students, Alfred Feliciano and Valerie Lewis,[2] who objected to the name “Office of Minority Programs” used by Boston College at the time. They cited the definition of the word minority as “less than” and proposed, instead, to use the term AHANA which they felt celebrated social cultural differences. After receiving overwhelming approval from the university’s board of trustees, and UGBC president Dan Cotter, the Office of Minority Student Programs became the Office of AHANA Student Programs. The term, or one or its derivative forms, such as ALANA (where “Latino” is substituted for “Hispanic”), has become common on a number of other American university campuses. Boston College, which has registered the term AHANA as a trademark, has granted official permission for its use to over 50 institutions and organizations in the United States. Many more use the term unofficially.
    Boston College prefers the ethnic-sounding acronym “AHANA,” which stands for African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American.[3]

  • Anonymous

    but AHANA? I would scrap that one too — 1979 was a long time ago too! RE:AHANA is a term that refers to persons of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent.[1] The term was coined at Boston College in 1979 by two students, Alfred Feliciano and Valerie Lewis,[2] who objected to the name “Office of Minority Programs” used by Boston College at the time. They cited the definition of the word minority as “less than” and proposed, instead, to use the term AHANA which they felt celebrated social cultural differences. After receiving overwhelming approval from the university’s board of trustees, and UGBC president Dan Cotter, the Office of Minority Student Programs became the Office of AHANA Student Programs. The term, or one or its derivative forms, such as ALANA (where “Latino” is substituted for “Hispanic”), has become common on a number of other American university campuses. Boston College, which has registered the term AHANA as a trademark, has granted official permission for its use to over 50 institutions and organizations in the United States. Many more use the term unofficially.
    Boston College prefers the ethnic-sounding acronym “AHANA,” which stands for African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American.[3]

  • Anonymous

    Phuong Ly has a very good idea and bravo! I agree 100000 percent. And yes, as Acton says here too, get rid of the PC and just say what is happening….nothing to be ashamed of….the word “minorities” no longer has a meaning in English, in terms of news reporting , so scrap it….. but please no more intialisms or acronyms. Just call each ethnic group by its name, and just remember….EVERYONE is part of a minority now…there is no majority…. bravo Phuong Ly…..now if only the US news media could also start lowercasing internet….. but that’s for another day…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1922049 Acton Gorton

    Revolutionary idea: How about reporters spend less time worrying about political correctness?

    “For the first time, minorities make up the majority of babies in the U.S. …”

    would be:

    “For the first time, non-white babies collectively out number white babies in the U.S. …”