Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dwight Lewis: stop calling Hispanics and blacks a "minority"

The Tennessean columnist Dwight Lewis questions the use of the word "minority" to describe blacks or Hispanics:

"What is a minority group? And why do so many media organizations, and individuals as well, use the term 'minorities' when they're talking about blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians or Pacific islanders?"

Lewis points to recent reports of "minorities" having a combined representation of over 50% of the population in Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico, California, and the District of Columbia.

"Perhaps I am too sensitive, but I don't like the term minorities or minority groups."

"I haven't liked it since I heard the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks speak to a group of inmates at the Tennessee State Prison for Women in Nashville several years ago."

"'When you use the term minority or minorities in reference to people, you're telling them that they're less than somebody else,' said Brooks, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1950 for her second volume of poetry titled, Annie Allen."

"'Don't let anyone call you a minority if you're black or Hispanic or belong to some other ethnic group,' added Brooks, who died in 2000. 'You're not less than anybody else.'"

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