Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ethnic Group Identification

Last month, the Honolulu Advertiser published an article with the following headine: More whites, fewer Asians in Hawaii.

My boyfriend pointed out to me that although they used "Asian" to describe Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, etc., they used "white" to describe those of European descent. I think they should have used "Caucasian" instead of "white" to be more consistent and to be more politically correct.

The AP Stylebook (2005) had this to say about Nationalities and Races:

Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, races, tribes, etc.: Arab, Arabic, African, American, Caucasian, Cherokee, Chinese (both singular and plural), Eskimo (plural Eskimos), French Canadian, Gypsy (Gypsies), Japanese (singular and plural), Jew, Jewish, Latin, Negro (Negroes), Nordic, Sioux, Swede, etc.

Lowercase black (noun or adjective), white, red, mulatto, etc.

Further down in the article, there are several tables (like this one) that use "Black" to describe African Americans.

I also didn't understand why the first table (shown below) was included in the article, since it uses the same data from the last table, but excludes "Blacks," and "American Indian and Alaska Native alone."

Race is a difficult issue to deal with in printed media. It seems like the politically correct terms are always changing, and opinions about which terms are considered derrogatory vary from person to person.

No comments: