American -- Often used as a shorthand for a citizen of the United States of America. Citizens of other countries in North America, Central America, and South America are also citizens of the Americas and are therefore also Americans.
Anglo American -- People of English descent living in the United States. This term is considered offensive by some when used as an inclusive alternative for White. Often shortened to Anglo. See European American, White.
Arab -- See Middle Easterners.
Asian American -- People of Asian descent living in the United States, including, but not limited to, people of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Philipino, and Nepalese heritage. People from India may prefer to be called South Asian. People from Pakistan may prefer to be called West Asian. In the past, the term Oriental was widely used but now is considered pejorative by many.
Black -- An inclusive term for people of African descent, including, but not limited to, people from North and South America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Considered of great symbolic importance by many because it represents a casting off of terminology imposed by others. The terms Negro and Colored, although still used by some, are considered pejorative by most members of this group. See African American.
Caucasian -- See White.
Chicano/Chicana -- A term reflecting pride in the indigenous roots of the Mexican American people. It gained wide political and popular favor among Mexican American activists during the 1960s civil rights movement and has reemerged as a political term especially among academics and political activists. Chicana is the feminine form of this word. See Hispanic, Latino/Latina.
Colored -- See Black.
Culture -- The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another. Culture is transmitted through language, material objects, ritual, institutions, and art from one generation to the next.
European American -- People of European descent living in the United States. An emerging term favored by some as a preferred alternative to White, Anglo American, and Caucasian. See Anglo American, White.
Hispanic -- A term grouping all people of Spanish-speaking descent. This is the preferred inclusive term in some regions, especially in the Southwest. See Chicano/Chicana, Latino/Latina, Mexican American, Tejano/Tejana.
Latino/Latina -- Refers to people of Latin American origin. An emerging inclusive term for people from North America, Central America, South America, and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. The term refers to a shared cultural heritage (Black, Native American, Spanish), a history of colonization by Spain, and a common language, Spanish. Latino has regional and academic support and seems to be preferred on the East and West Coasts. Hispanic is considered an alternate term by many. Those who prefer to be known as Latino say that the word was coined to express the common historical and political factors listed above, and that Hispanic merely reflects usage of a European-based language. Latina is the feminine form of this word. See Chicano/Chicana, Hispanic, Mexican American, Tejano/Tejana.
Middle Easterners -- An inclusive term referring to people from a region in western Asia and northeast Africa that includes, but is not limited to, the nations of the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. The term Arab traditionally refers to a person from the Arabian Peninsula.
Native American -- Indigenous people who inhabited the Americas and Caribbean prior to the European conquest. There is a debate as to whether the term Indian, American Indian, or Native American is preferable. Many Native Americans use Indian or tribe in referring to their people. Others suggest that these and similar words are incorrect and carry derogatory connotations. Recommended usage is to refer, whenever possible, to a particular people or nation by its name, i.e. Tigua, Navajo, Maya, Tarahumara, Alabama-Coushatta, Aztec, Cherokee, etc. . See Indigeneous.
Negro -- See Black.
Oriental -- See Asian American.
Pacific Islander -- People of the islands in the Pacific Ocean including the three major ethnic groups: Polynesians (New Zealand,Tahitians, Samoans, Hawaiians, and others); Micronesians (U.S. Trust Territories, Guam, Wake Island, Bikini, and Kwajelin); and Melanesians (, Australia, and the Solomans).
People of Color -- Refers to anyone who is not white. A term of inclusion and solidarity referring to Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians. This term is often preferable to other inclusive terms such as minority and nonwhite. While people of color are a minority in the United States, they are the majority of the world's population. Use of the term minority, some claim, therefore obscures this global reality and in effect reinforces racist assumptions. To describe people as non-white is to use whiteness as the standard or norm against which all others are defined. The term people of color is a political statement. People may choose to identify themselves this way for reasons that include physical appearance, racial and/or cultural heritage, class, and political perspective. This is a debated term. See Minority.
Race -- Many anthropologists consider that among homo sapiens, there are three races: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid, and their various subdivisions. Others claim that there is only one race, the human race. Generally, this term is used to refer to the different varieties of human beings distinguished by physical traits and/or geographic points of origin.
Tejano/Tejana -- Originally a historical term that designated citizens of Mexico born in Texas. This term has once again become popular as a designation among some Mexican Americans and seems to be used especially along the border region to designate a shared Mexican experience and to specify that one is from Texas. Tejana is the feminine form of this word. See Hispanic, Latino/Latina.
White -- Members of the dominant or majority culture in the United States.
While the term Caucasian is commonly used in place of White,
neither a common ancestry related to the Caucasus Mountains region, nor
an assumption that all whites are culturally or ethnically homogeneous should
be assumed. See Anglo American, European American.