A continuation of my series of how I use common terms:
Ethnic: the adjectival form of ethnicity. This is not a bad thing, but can become somewhat confusing when you realise ethnicity has a nebulous definition: Ethnic is also often used as a noun (i.e. she is an ethnic), which I feel is exceptionally bad grammar. I’ve also often seen it used as a synonym for non-‘white’. This is wrong, since everyone comes from a culture/ nation/ society.
This means every single person on Earth has an ethnicity, therefore every single person on Earth is an ‘ethnic’. So…
(as well as the entire human race)
Ethnic minority: a nebulous term in my opinion, and only makes sense within specified locations. For example, as a guy of Afro-Caribbean background I’m in a minority (numerically speaking) in England, but in Jamaica I would be in the ethnic majority. However, if I go to Nigeria I’d be an even smaller minority than in England. Another example – as a ‘Latina’ woman J Lo would be the majority in south America (her parents are Puerto Rican), but in India she’d be the ethnic minority. Probably the only one!
I notice that many use it as a synonym for non-‘whites’ in general. That’s where it totally flops, since ‘whites’ (especially Europeans) are the global ‘ethnic’ minority. They’re merely more numerous in some parts of the world than in others, as are everyone else.
People of colour: another really nebulous term I don’t use, as the colour is not specified (but assumed to be everything other than ‘white’). Acronym is POC. I treat it the same way as ethnic, so pictures aren’t necessary.
Minority ethnic: don’t ever use this term around me. I HATE it with a passion. For a start, it makes the mistake of using ethnic as a noun. Secondly, putting the word minority first defines people as minorities first. As if it’s the foremost thing that should be known about them. As if they’re a minority before ethnicity is taken into account.