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stereotyping: racial and ethnic

To avoid racial and ethnic stereotyping, follow the guidelines below.

Ethnic clichés

Avoid expressions which cloud the fact that all attributes may be found in all groups:

  • inscrutable Orientals
  • frugal Scots
  • lazy Mexicans

Gratuitous modifiers

Certain modifiers reinforce racial and ethnic stereotypes by giving information that suggests an exception to the rule. Avoid them:

  • Avoid: The board interviewed a number of intelligent Black students.
  • Say: … a number of Black students OR … a number of intelligent students.

Connotative modifiers

Be cautious in using adjectives that, in certain contexts, have questionable racial or ethnic connotations or insulting, often racist overtones, such as the following:

  • primitive
  • conniving
  • savage
  • lazy
  • backward
  • culturally deprived
  • simple
  • clannish

Identification of groups

Be aware of the current self-identification preferences of racial and cultural groups in Canada:

  • Black(s), not Negro(es)
  • ethnic (or cultural) minorities, not ethnics
  • Indigenous people(s) in Canada, not Indigenous Canadians
  • Inuk (singular) or Inuit (plural), not Eskimo
  • Métis, not Metis

Note that the term African American is common 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 and Indigenous have since come to be capitalized when used in the Canadian context. The terms currently preferred are the following:

  • Indigenous people(s)
  • First people(s)