Underrepresented Minorities

A Shift In The Racial Dialogue The Seattle Times

May is Asian Pacific American History Month, designated by President George H.W. Bush. So perhaps it is a fitting occasion to bring up one of my pet peeves:

We are not a biracial nation.

Yet, until recently, "America: black and white" had been a common title in discussions about race relations. Hispanics and Asians were often subsumed into a broad-stroke category of "minorities" along with blacks.

Hispanics have gained some attention of late, because of shifting demographics, particularly electoral demographics. President George W. Bush won 44 percent of Hispanic voters in the last election, up 9 percent from 2000. Some Republicans hope that increasing support among Hispanic voters will counter the overwhelming lock the Democrats have on black voters (over 90 percent in most elections).

Asians, however, are still invisible at the national level. So it is no big surprise that many Americans seem to be unaware of a subtle language shift in the racial dialogue. The operating catchphrase today is "URM" — "underrepresented minorities."

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