Always respect an individual's preferences regarding descriptions of gender, race, ethnic heritage, mobility and other such categories. Only use such descriptions when pertinent. For questions not addressed in this section, the Diversity Style Guide is a good resource.

Refer to subjects using the gendered pronouns (he, she, ze, etc.) of their preference. To eliminate confusion, avoid using they as the first-person singular pronoun unless requested by the subject.

The proper names of nationalities and peoples should be capitalized.

Example: Cherokee, Chinese, Jewish, Swede.

When referring to an American of a given heritage, use a hyphen.

Example: Indian-American, Albanian-American.

Other guidance is as follows:


African-American, black Use only when pertinent and follow the preference of the person or work being described. Use African-American for U.S. citizens if the preference is not known.

Examples: African-American studies, black heroes


Asian, Asian-American Use more specific terms, such as Chinese-American or Thai, when possible. Descriptors such as American of Vietnamese descent are also acceptable. Follow the subject's preference.


disabled, handicapped In general, do not describe a person as disabled unless it is clearly pertinent to the story. Avoid handicapped altogether.


Hispanic, Latino and Latina Hispanic describes a person from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture. Latino and Latina refer to a person from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture, or from Latin America. Latino or Latina is often the preferred term. Use more specific terms when possible, such as Cuban or Puerto Rican. Follow the subject's preference.


LGBTQ Acceptable abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Bucknell's office is the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Queer Resources.


Minority, minorities Not a synonym for a person of color. Refers to a group or groups differing especially in race, religion or ethnicity from the majority of a population. Do not use to refer to individuals. Women do not constitute a minority, although they may be linked with minorities in various civil-rights contexts. Person or people of color is often a better alternative.

Example: Bucknell has signed on to a national initiative to improve the representation of women and minorities pursuing STEM degrees.


Native American, American Indian Both are acceptable. Follow the subject's preference. Use more specific terms, such as Navajo, when possible.


person of color

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