To minimise inadvertent racism when describing different population groups in word and print.
To unify the method and terminology used to describe all populations.
To accord dignity and respect to all populations by describing everyone, not just the majority, by heritage.
To stop perpetuating the negative and false skin ‘colour’ dichotomy or polarity of “black” and “white” in describing two specific population groups – people of direct African descent and those of European descent – which it can be argued evokes a specific history and perpetuates an old and specific form of racism.
Modernise the template the Office of National Statistics uses for ethnic categories, which is relied upon by institutions throughout the UK.
Remove from the Office of National Statistics lexicon the words “black” and “white” as the headline category to describe people of African and European descent respectively and use heritage-describing terminology as it does for other populations.
Replace “black” with a single-word generic heading that denotes in heritage terms the common origin or roots of African, African-Caribbean, African-American etc. people, with these regional sub-categories listed below it. We suggest “Afroic” as the generic heading but welcome other suggestions, the goal being a simple, succinct, easy-to-pronounce word. This same word to be used in conversation and print as a generic global term to replace “black” for anyone of African descent. The specific regional categories African, African-Brazilian, African-American, African-Cuban, African-Caribbean, British Afroic etc. are there to use when you know the person’s exact region of birth or their nationality.
Replace “white” with European as the single-word heading
As explained in the aims – uniformity, fairness, human dignity, respect, modernisation, closing another avenue for persistent racism
Precedents – we have already seen language use become increasingly modern and enlightened in the last 30 years in relation to other populations out of respect for them.
– terminology for people born to parents of different ethnic origin in the UK has moved from “half-caste” to “mixed race” in the 1990s to “mixed heritage” or “dual heritage” (or triple, quadruple etc. heritage)
– people from east and south-east Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines are no longer called “the yellow races” or “yellow people”
– Native American people are no longer called “red Indians”
So why not us? The name of the campaign is a pun on the term ‘lack of respect’ and is intended to emphasise the lack of respect inherent in conveniently describing people of African descent as “black” and defining them as the opposite of Europeans and people of European descent, and the racist history that underpins it. In short, the descriptor is a misnomer and what’s more, we are are not the “opposite” of Europeans or people of European descent any more than an Asian, Arab or other population is.
Holocaust denial is rightly condemned and outlawed in countries that consider themselves civilised and forward-thinking. So should heritage denial.
In this 21st century we believe what we put forth promotes human dignity and falls into line with the ideals espoused by the UN Convention on Human Rights.
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