Different designations are acceptable to different groups when they are referring to themselves. The following designations have been recommended for general use by the terminology committee of Penn State’s Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity.
Note: Designations should not be hyphenated when used as modifiers. For example, Hispanic American student, not Hispanic-American student.
On first reference; either African American or Black American after that. If the person or group is not American, then African or Black (whichever is most specific and accurate) is used.
Asian & Pacific American
On first reference; or use the federal affirmative action term Asian/Pacific Islander, for people of that ethnic origin living in the United States. On second reference, useAsian Pacific American, Asian American, or Pacific American, as appropriate. Do not use Oriental when referring to people. The word Asian alone usually refers to international students.
On first reference. For subsequent references, Latino may be used as the collective noun or adjective form. Regional designations and nationalities, such as Latin American, Peruvian, Bolivian, Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, andColombian, are used when they are more accurate and specific than a general designation would be. Spanish is the correct adjective to describe people from Spain—avoid Spaniard.
American Indian/Alaskan Native
On first reference (all words capped) to refer to individuals or groups of individuals who are members or descendants of members of American Indian tribes or Alaskan Native villages. This is appropriate when the name of the specific tribe or Alaskan Native village of the individual is not known to the writer or when the group consists of members of multiple tribes and/or Alaskan Native villages. On subsequent reference, shortened versions may be used: American Indian or Alaskan Native, as appropriate. If the individual and/or group has a preference for one of the shortened terms, use it. When the meaning is clearly established, the term Native may be used to refer to Indians.
Whenever possible, the name of a specific tribe or Alaskan Native village of the individual or group should be used. The name of the tribe or village, the manner of combining names of tribes or villages, and the spelling of names vary among tribes and villages. The usage and spelling approved by the tribe or village government should be used. Spellings are published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian (Todd Publications), and in various tribal publications.
The term Indian always is capped. When the term tribe, nation, orvillage is a part of the name, it also should be capped. The term Indian Country is used by tribes and the U.S. government to refer to tribal lands within tribal jurisdiction.Indian Nations is a general term used widely by both the tribes and the U.S. government.
Indians should not be referred to in the past tense unless appropriate for the meaning of the sentence. Indians should not be uniformly referred to asdescendants of American Indians, which implies that all of the real American Indians are dead. Referring to Indian heritage is generally inappropriate as a means of identifying a person as an Indian.
Note the spellings.