On Race: Being Called a 'Minority' : NPR Public Editor As 'minorities' become the majority a change is inevitable. But it could be a long time coming.
NPR logo On Race: More On Being Called a 'Minority'

On Race: More On Being Called a 'Minority'

Blue game chips out number one red game chip.

There seems to be no majority opinion about 'minority' — if or when to stop calling some ethnic and racial groups that.

Oy vey.

Journalists are as divided as people at large. The deputy standards editor at the Associated Press, David Minthorn, was quoted as saying that the wire service, which feeds most of the American news media, would continue to follow academics, demographers and the dictionary. That is, it would use "minorities" to refer to racial, ethnic, religious or political groups that are smaller and different from the larger group.

But Mallary Jean Tenore, an editor at the Poynter Institute, wrote in a column that using the word to describe anyone who isn't white is "familiar and politically correct, but it does little to explain the people we're referencing. And as people of color become a majority, the word is becoming increasingly inaccurate."

And sure enough, an article this week in The Washington Post by Carol Morello and Ted Mellnik reported that over the last decade, "minorities" as a group became a majority in eight big-city metropolitan regions in the country.

"I prefer not to say 'minority'; better to be specific," tweeted @PeterTatian. Peter Lake, commenting online, seemed to go further: "Time to stop using ethnic and racial labels altogether except when that use is required. REQUIRED is the operative word here."

What perhaps all might agree upon is that this is debate will grow. "I have no doubt other precise terms will emerge as the situation evolves," said Minthorn.

This is called kicking the can down the road. Diplomatically.

-- See my first post about using 'minority' here: On Race: The Relevance of Saying 'Minority'

Lori Grisham contributed to this post.