Eliminate and avoid expressions which cloud the fact that all attributes may be found in all groups: for example, "inscrutable Orientals," "frugal Scots" or "lazy Mexicans."
Certain modifiers reinforce racial and ethnic stereotypes by giving information that suggests an exception to the rule. Avoid them:
Be cautious in using adjectives that, in certain contexts, have questionable racial or ethnic connotations or insulting, often racist overtones, such as primitive, conniving, savage, lazy, backward, culturally deprived, simple, and clannish.
Be aware of the current self-identification preferences of racial and cultural groups in Canada:
Note that the term African American is gaining currency in the U.S.A.
Note also that the terms used to designate the Indigenous peoples of Canada have undergone considerable change in recent years. Although the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, uses the term aboriginal peoples in the lower case, the words Aboriginal, Indigenous and Native have since come to be capitalized when used in the Canadian context. The terms currently preferred are the following:
© Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2013
TERMIUM Plus®, the Government of Canada's terminology and linguistic data bank
Writing Tools – The Canadian Style
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