Sunday, 4 December 2011

A Short Race-related List Of Terminology

We generally have an idea of the common words we use for the discussions around race and identity, but should you want to look up a word, a short list of the common terminology is reproduced here from and


                a person from Africa, especially a black person.
                a person of black African descent.
                relating to Africa or people of African descent.
from Latin Africanus, from Africa (terra) '(land) of the Afri', an ancient people of North Africa

African people refers to natives, inhabitants, or citizen of Africa and to people of African descent

combining form
African; African and ...:
noun (plural Afros)
a hairstyle consisting of a mass of very tight curls that stick out all round the head, like the natural hair of some black people.

Afro, sometimes shortened to 'fro and also known as a "natural", is a hairstyle worn naturally by people with lengthy kinky hair texture or specifically styled in such a fashion by individuals with naturally curly or straight hair.

2 (also Black) belonging to or denoting any human group having dark-coloured skin, especially of African or Australian Aboriginal ancestry:
black adolescents of Jamaican descent

The term "black" is often used in the West to denote the ethnicity of people whose actual skin color ranges from light to darker shades of brown such as sepia.

(the Caribbean)
the region consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (including the West Indies), and the surrounding coasts.

The region takes its name from that of the Carib, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of European contact.

noun (plural ethnicities)
[mass noun]
the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition: the interrelationship between gender, ethnicity, and class

An ethnic group (or ethnicity) is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture (often including a shared religion) and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy.

                each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics: people of all races, colours, and creeds

[mass noun] the fact or condition of belonging to a racial division or group; the qualities or characteristics associated with this.
In recent years, the associations of race with the ideologies and theories that grew out of the work of 19th -century anthropologists and physiologists has led to the use of the word race itself becoming problematic. Although still used in general contexts, it is now often replaced by other words which are less emotionally charged, such as people(s) or community.

Race is classification of humans into large and distinct populations or groups by factors such as heritable phenotypic characteristics or geographic ancestry, but also often influenced by and correlated with traits such as appearance, culture, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.

West Indian
a native or inhabitant of any of the islands of the West Indies.
a person of West Indian descent.
Using West Indian  to refer to people of this ancestry living in Britain may cause offence. Possible alternatives are Black and Afro-Caribbean (

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. These islands, called the West Indies, generally form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea.[4] These islands are called the West Indies because when Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492 he believed that he had reached to the west of the Indian sub-continent.

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