Be careful with racial, ethnic labels

Monday, August 2, 2004
Be careful with racial, ethnic labels
Special to the Register

“I’m an Eskimo,” a middle-age woman told me on a recent visit to the Alaskan Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. “You may refer to me as Eskimo.”

“If you call me an Eskimo,” a young woman said minutes later, “I will answer because that’s how you know me, but I am not Eskimo. I am Yup’ik.”

In Alaska, tourists eagerly seek out art and culture that is referred to as “Native,” but in Minnesota the Indian Affairs Council recently passed a resolution that “officially requests Minnesota news media and agencies of government to refer to members of federally recognized tribes as American Indians or Indians” rather than as Native Americans.

So are you Eskimo or Yup’ik, Native American or Indian, white or Caucasian, black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Mexican American or Chicano?

Notice that the author doesn’t consider mixed race issues at all.

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