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Race and Ethnicity

“model minority” myth

The “model minority” myth refers to members of an underrepresented group who are seen as more successful than other underrepresented groups in the United States. (Historically in the United States, this myth has been associated with Asian Americans.) The term ignores variance among populations within that larger group and downplays the role systemic factors such as racism play in socioeconomic status. If mentioning in coverage, giving some explanation of this myth and the ways it can serve to excuse or elide the role systemic racism plays in disparities among and within racial groups provides essential context to audiences.


The term “post-racial” describes a society in which racial prejudice has ended and its related social implications are no longer a factor. Including a definition and interrogating the concept, for instance mentioning the continued disparities and structural inequities between white Americans and those of other racial groups, provides essential context.

“reverse racism”

Reverse racism is a myth used to deny that certain people in the United States are privileged based on their race or ethnicity. It negates the material social, economic, and other benefits of white supremacy in the United States and can be used as a way to deflect or refute accusations of racism. If using this term, providing some explanation and examples of how it has been employed politically and historically adds essential context for audiences.

Last updated 01/27/23

Race and ethnicity are critical aspects of people’s and communities’ identities. They have often been viewed as interchangeable but are two distinct identifiers. This section of the Language, Please style guidance aims to help journalists accurately cover the nuances in stories surrounding race and ethnicity, recognize the systemic and interconnected ways that race and ethnicity shape experiences, and write stories with care and concern for the individuals involved.

This resource was informed by questions and discussions from our own newsrooms. It is a living document that will update and expand over time. It is not meant to be comprehensive or the definitive arbiter of language “rules” but instead aims to give context and inform thoughtful decision-making. Have a suggestion for an update, change, or addition? Please get in touch.

How to use: Browse the whole section or search for the term you need guidance on; click into any term for in-depth context, additional resources, and related terms. 

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