The word minority is offensive and degrading particularly when referring to current employees and prospective new hires regardless of race. Our favorites include, hiring minority,
”we ask our minority employees for references”, minority professionals to name a few. No so long ago, minority was HR code for African Americans or Latinos. It was understood by company recruiters when asked to seek out job seekers the instructions really meant find a black person. Now, those instructions are more inclusive and are understood to mean people of color and women! Nevertheless, it is bothersome to most people of color to be relegated to a status of “minority”.
As America’s ethnic and racial make-up changes, so, too, does the nation’s language and the consensus over acceptable word usage. Really – does your HR department actually view job seekers exist as either white or minority? I don’t think so. And if not, isn’t it time to retire that insulting word and use more specific designations instead. Now that demographics are shifting in the United States, it’s not as accurate as it once was to say “minority”.
Someone should educate President elect Donald J. Trump on his constant use of the word “inner city” and how he uses the term to describe where all African Americans live. That’s the problem with using one word or phrase to describe an entire group of people — it never fully captures the nuances of that group. Inevitably, some people are going to feel slighted or mischaracterized. I dislike being referred to as a “minority” by HR personnel and I wish there was a better term to use. I don’t one at the moment. My purpose for this article is to put out to HR recruiters they should be more mindful and discerning with regard to describing diversity recruitment as minority hiring.