A group of New York Times journalists released a list of racial terms they find “bothersome” Sunday.
NYT’s Race/Related team included terms like”ethnic,” person of color” and “illegal immigrant” among those they found slightly offensive.
John Eligon, the paper’s national correspondent, found “ethnic”a troublesome term because it “normalizes” whiteness.
“What makes a black person ethnic but a white person not? On the one hand, this is the normalization of whiteness – if you are not white, then you are something else,” Eligon explained. “On the other hand, it speaks to how uncomfortable some people are even to discuss race.”
The NYT Stylebook approves using ethnic as an adjective in writing.
Marc Lacey, the national editor, took issue with the term “people of color.” The phrase sounds too close to “colored people,” Lacey said.
“I know it’s now commonplace, and that it’s used with the noblest of intent. But white is a color too so everyone is technically of color, right?” Lacey added. The NYT Stylebook also frowns on the use of “people of color,” saying the phrase is too “self conscious” for the news.
Graphics Editor Audrey Carlsen spoke out against using “half” to define people who are more than one race.
“Multiracial people are often defined by their fractions-‘half white,’ ‘half black,’ ‘a quarter Native American.’ The math is convenient but inaccurate, suggesting a person’s identity can be sliced into clean, separate boxes,” Carlsen argues.
The group plans to release a list next week, and asked readers to contribute their own thoughts about offensive racial terms.
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