Racial and Ethnic Groups & Associated Definitions
Due to an alarming increase in racial hatred and violence against Asians Americans in particular, arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, President Biden has released a Presidential Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
The Biden Administration’s Executive Order 14031: Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders establishes a White House initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, as well as a Presidential Advisory Commission, both of which aim to advance equity, justice, and opportunity among these groups.
Released on January 20, 2021, Executive Order 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government directs federal agencies to evaluate whether their policies produce racially inequitable results when implemented, and to make the necessary changes to ensure underserved communities are properly supported.
To advance these Federal policy priorities, and drive cultural change among the people in a workforce, it is necessary to understand the challenges faced by racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, the definitions, classifications, and terms used in society today, and in the past, concerning them. We have compiled the following list of DEIA definitions to facilitate knowledge and discussion about the members of these racial and ethnic groups and associated terms:
Affirmative Action refers to policies and practices within a government or private organization to improve employment or educational opportunities for members of certain demographic groups, such as minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans, as a remedy to the effects of long-standing discrimination against such groups.
African American (or Black American) are Americans with partial or total ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa; generally denotes descendants of enslaved Africans who are from the United States; refers to a person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
Afro is used to describe something that is associated with African people or African culture.
Afro-centric refers to emphasizing or promoting emphasis on African culture and the contributions of Africans to the development of Western civilization.
Alaska Native refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America, including Central America, and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
Allyship, is used in contemporary social justice activism to describe efforts in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with, and to advance the interests of, marginalized groups, both in society at large, and within particular social contexts, such as universities or workplaces.
American Indian refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America, including Central America, and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
Asian refers to people born in, or with ancestors from the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian ancestry; refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent.
Black refers to dark-skinned people of African descent, no matter their nationality.
BLM (Black Lives Matter) an international activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people; protests police killings of black people and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.
Civil War in the United States was a civil war between the Union (northern states) and the (southern states); central cause of the war was the status of slavery, especially the expansion of slavery into territories acquired as a result of the Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican–American War.
Colored (or Coloured) is a racial descriptor historically used in the United States during the Jim Crow era to refer to an African American, originates from the intermixture of the whites and the blacks when used as an indication of race or ethnicity, usually considered offensive as compared to a “person of color” that usually carries a respectful connotation and refers to all racial groups that are not white.
Critical Race Theory is an academic concept that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with a core idea that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.
Diversity means the practice of including the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs of the American people, including underserved communities.
East Asians refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, or Mongolia.
Equity means the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment.
High Yellow denotes a black person with a very light complexion.
Hispanic refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, Latin America and living in the United States, including Brazilians; often used interchangeably with Latino (or Latina for a woman or Latinx to be gender-neutral); refers only to a person’s origin and ancestry as they can be of any race or color.
Inclusion means the recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of employees of all backgrounds.
Indigenous refers to the original inhabitants of a given land region; indigenous people practice unique traditions and retain social, cultural, economic, and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live; for example, the Lakota in the United States, the Mayas in Guatemala, Aymara’s in Bolivia, the Inuit and Aleutians of the circumpolar region, the Saami of Northern Europe, the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders of Australia, and the Maori of New Zealand.
Intersectionality refers to the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect, especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.
Islam is a major world monotheistic religion promulgated by the prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the 7th century; the god in Islam is referred to as Allah, which in Arabic means “the god” or “the deity.”
Jim Crow refers to laws in forcing racial segregation in the southern United States, which existed from the post – Civil War era until 1968.
Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) commemorates the end of slavery in the United States; marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.
Latino (or Latina for a woman or Latinx to be gender-neutral) refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, Latin America and living in the United States, including Brazilians; often used interchangeably with Hispanic; refers only to a person’s origin and ancestry as they can be of any race or color.
Muslim is a follower of the religion of Islam.
Native Americans has the same general meaning as “Indigenous peoples of Americans”
Native Hawaiians, or simply Hawaiians, are the Indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands..
Negro, relating to black people, is a member of a dark-skin people originally native to Africa south of the Sahara.
Pacific Islanders refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, the Pacific islands, especially an indigenous person of Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, or a person of Pacific Islands dissent.
People of color was originally meant to be a synonym of “Black” but has expanded to include Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and other non-white groups.
Race (racial categories), included in the census questionnaire, generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically and include racial and national origin or sociocultural groups.
Skinhead refers to someone with a shaved head or very short hair, often associated with a violent gang, and also thought to adhere to white – supremacist or anti-immigrant principles
Sikhs are people who adhere to Sikhism, a monotheistic religion and philosophy that originated in the late 15th century in the Punjab region of present day Pakistan.
Southeast Asians refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, countries that are south of China but east of Asia, which includes 11 countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, and Timor-Leste.
South Asians refers to people born in, or with ancestors from, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, or Maldives.
Sponsorship (or Employment Sponsorship) refers to vouching for, supporting, advising, or helping fund another person or an organization or project.
Turban is a type of headwear based on cloth winding, featuring many variations, and worn as customary headwear by people of various cultures.
Two-Spirit is a term created by Indigenous people to separate themselves from Western descriptions of gender and sexual identities; some feel it is disrespectful to attach Two-Spirit to the LGBTQI2S acronym for that reason.
White refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
White Privilege (or White Skin Privilege) refers to the social and economic advantages that white people have by virtue of their race over non-white people in some societies.
White Supremacy (or White Supremacism) is the belief that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white peoples should have control over people of other races.
Woke (Woke Culture) refers to being aware or well-informed in a political or cultural sense, especially regarding issues surrounding marginalized communities; describes someone who has “woken up” to issues of social injustice.
Yellow refers to a person having light olive or light brown skin
Some Relevant Articles:
~ Measuring Racial and Ethnic Diversity for the 2020 Census
~ Mapping America’s diversity with the 2020 census
~ The Changing Definition of African-American
~ DIVERSITY EXPLOSION
~ Black-white mixed race identity rises in the South
~ Diversity within the Federal Reserve System
~ Lack of Diversity in the Government Workforce Can Lead to Retention and Trust Issues
~ 20% of White Employees Have Sponsors. Only 5% of Black Employees Do
~ What is affirmative action?
~ Affirmative Action, US Department of Labor
~ What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack?
~ A Lesson on Critical Race Theory
Some Notable Podcasts/Webinars:
~ White decline and increased diversity in America’s aging population
~ The Supreme Court and the Future of Affirmative Action