Race and ethnicity

When there is a need to refer to a person’s race or ethnicity, refer to specific ethnic groups separately.

Pakistani and Chinese

Note the use of initial capitals for ethnic group names and remember that White British is itself an ethnic group.

If it is not possible to use separate groups then broad ethnic group categories may be used, but do not use slashes (/) as this can imply that the terms are the same.

Asian and Asian British

Ethnic minorities

Use “Ethnic minorities” to refer to all ethnic groups except the White British group. Ethnic minorities can include White minorities, such as Irish Travellers, so make it clear which groups your data include.

Ethnic minorities (including White minorities)
Ethnic minorities (excluding White minorities)
White (including White minorities)
White (excluding White minorities)

Do not use “non-White” or “non-Black”. Defining groups in relation to the White majority was not well received in user testing and to define a group by what they are not, rather than what they are, can be confusing.

BAME and BME

Do not use the terms or acronyms Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) or Black and minority ethnic (BME) because:

  • these highlight some groups and not others, for example, Black and Asian people are specifically included but not people of a Mixed ethnicity
  • inconsistencies in their use mean it is unclear whether or not these terms include White minority groups
  • in user research, the acronyms BAME and BME were not well understood by our users 

Phrasing

Do not use the phrase “people of colour” as this does not include White minorities and it removes the separate identities of the groups that it covers.

Similarly, do not use the phrase “mixed race people”, use “people with a Mixed ethnicity” or “people from the Mixed ethnic group” instead.

Capitalisation

Capitalise all ethnic groups. This includes White British, which is itself an ethnic group.

Asian, Black, Mixed, White, Gypsy, Irish Traveller, Other

We capitalise groups because:

  • they are technical categories used for data collection
  • this maintains a consistent approach for all groups
  • it makes our content easier to read if we need to distinguish between “the Other ethnic group” and “other ethnic groups”

Ethnicities and nationalities 

Remember that ethnic groups can also be nationalities.

Bangladeshi, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani

Avoid users mistaking ethnicities for nationalities by explaining that in this instance we are talking about the ethnic group.

people from the Indian ethnic group