The University of Texas at Dallas is committed to a culture of diversity and equality. Communications should avoid the use of stereotypes and reflect an attitude of awareness, respect and inclusion for all members of the population.


Do not make general references that assume competencies or exclusions related to age.

  • Wrong: All the young students enjoyed the course.

It is acceptable to note specific age statistics.

  • Right: In fall 2002, the UT Dallas student population ranged in age from 16 to 83.

Ethnic and Racial Terms

The following terms are used informally in text and are NOT used as formal categories for the purposes of reports or applications:

  • African American/Afro-American/black: Used interchangeably to connote Americans of African descent. The terms black and white are used as both nouns and adjectives in informal writing to refer to persons of Afro-American and European American ancestry. Since the terms black and white are not proper nouns, they are not capitalized.
  • Asians/Asian American: Use the term Asian when referring to anyone from Asia. The term Asian American refers to Americans of Asian decent.
  • Hispanic/Hispanic American/Latino: Hispanic is the preferred term for those whose ethnic origin is in a Spanish-speaking country. Hispanic American refers to American descendents whose ethnic origin is in a Spanish-speaking country. Latino is an acceptable term for Hispanics who prefer that term. In comparison, the term Anglo is often used to distinguish between Americans of European descent and Latinos.
  • Native American: Refers to those of American Indian descent.
  • European American: Refers to Americans of European descent.

Ethnic and Racial Categories

As outlined by the Coordinating Board, racial and ethnic categories are used to describe the groups to which individuals belong or identify with. The categories are used on reports, application forms or other official documentation and, in those instances, no person should be counted in more than one race/ethnic category. The categories presented do not denote scientific definitions of anthropological origins, but represent definitions used by the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies to categorize U.S. citizens and resident aliens. Reporting of race/ethnicity data is mandatory for all institutions receiving federal financial assistance. The categories include:

  • White, non-Hispanic: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East (except those of Hispanic origin).
  • Black, non-Hispanic: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (except those of Hispanic origin).
  • Hispanic: A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central, or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or Pacific Islands. This includes people from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, American Samoa, India, and Vietnam.
  • American Indian or Alaskan Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
  • Nonresident alien: A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who is in this country on a visa or temporary basis and does not have the right to remain indefinitely.


If possible, it is best to construct sentences to avoid terms that are gender-specific.


When writing for an international audience, be sensitive to words, symbols or photographs that have negative references in other cultures. For example, although pictures of students in bathing suits and shorts may be acceptable to Americans, they would be considered licentious in some other cultures.

Sexual Orientation

The term homosexual is best avoided, with gay and lesbian preferred instead. Partner is the preferred term to express the relationship between individuals in a committed gay or lesbian relationship.