Tag Archives: politically correct

Minority: Connotations of the Term

I’m in the middle of writing an essay that covers racism in the subtle forms of a supposedly post-racial era. Researching racism inevitably turns up numerous instances of the politically-correct term “minority.” I dislike this term on many levels. If I ever have to use it in my writing, I always put the term in quotes to indicate my disdain.

Minority: The smaller number or part, especially a number that is less than half the whole number. / Children under the age of 18.

Surely I’m not the only person who has wondered why a term that clearly indicates inferiority would be so widely accepted. Google results on the subject suggest that “minority” be replaced by “people of color.” Hmm. It’d be lovely if people didn’t have to be divided and categorized by physical traits, but I guess it would be overly optimistic to imagine a world where everyone saw fellow humans before they saw a black guy or a redhead or whatever. Even white women can be labeled a minority, since apparently white males are the most superior of all lifeforms.

Whites are the accepted majority in America, but is the white population large enough to presume that anyone who isn’t white is a “minority?” Wikipedia lists whites as 72% of the population. Even if the demographic is larger, why would it be acceptable to group together everyone who isn’t white under one general term? It seems odd to me that most people don’t get pissed off about a term that means “not white” and “less than,” and is also used to refer to children. Maybe I’m just overanalyzing.

P.S. The existence of race is debatable, just came across that in my research… The argument is that race is not backed by biology and is discredited by the numerous variations within groups classified as the same race. I hate labels, pigeonholes and categories for people of any sort, but I guess they serve a purpose that isn’t always negative.

So, again, with that in mind, how can the word minority continue to be accepted? I cringe when I see or hear it. Ignorant on so many levels. What exactly even is “white” anyway? Is it only characterized by pale skin? There are plenty of people out there not of European descent who have pale skin… does that make them white too or do you have to be Caucasian? This is one of many social constructs I would love to see eradicated.

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