Culture and diversity guide



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African/Caribbean

This is often used as a general term to describe black people from the Caribbean Islands, and as such is not wrong. However, people often prefer to identify with their island of origin, e.g. Jamaican, Barbadian etc.

 

Afro-Caribbean is used less and is gradually being replaced by African/Caribbean. Likewise, the term West Indian is a historical term that is not considered appropriate unless it is used as a title e.g. West Indies Cricket Team.

 

Asian

This is a general term, and although not unacceptable, is very imprecise. It is far more acceptable to the people concerned, to be identified in terms of their nationality/region/religion, e.g. Indian, Pakistani, Mauritian, or Bengali, or Sikh, Hindu etc.

 

Although terms such as South Asian or South Eastern Asian are sometimes used, many people may not be clear as to what is meant. Again, it is better to refer to people by their country of origin, such as Vietnamese, Malaysian, etc. By doing so, you are likely to reduce the risk of causing offence.



 

Black

Under the Commission for Racial Equality guidelines, the term black refers to African or African/Caribbean people.

 

Black British

Although this is often seen on official documentation, when racial identity is an issue, people in general (particularly young people) will refer to themselves as Black. Many people in South Wales will now classify themselves as Black Welsh.

 

British

This term is about citizenship, and doesn’t directly relate to ethnic or racial origin. Nearly everyone born in Britain has British citizenship, regardless of colour or ethnicity. The term should not be used as a synonym for white.

 

Coloured

This is not usually an acceptable term, and many people find it offensive. Although it was in common usage some years ago, it is now used less often, and has generally been replaced by the term black.

 

Non-White

Many people may find this term deeply offensive, as its origins relate to apartheid. The term should be avoided.

 

Half-Caste

The use of the term half-caste was widely used until recent times. It is now regarded as offensive by many people due to its origins within the Hindu Caste System, in which being half-caste (and therefore less than whole) could mean social exclusion for the individual concerned.

 



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