Appropriate terminology

An assembly of education experts examining methods intended to combat racial discrimination convened by UNESCO in 1968, revealed that certain words could provoke an adverse reaction towards any target group. The following terms (on the left) were identified as contributing to a negative association or a deficit view.

Inappropriate 

Appropriate 

tribe, tribal  group, clan, language group, family group 
primitive, uncivilised, savage, pagan  civilised, society 
underdeveloped, backward  no substitution 
vernacular  language 
race  group, people 
native, bushmen  Aboriginal people, Torres Strait Islanders 
nomadic had purposeful movement patterns 

The use of inappropriate terms in the text can act as a warning to you that the attitudes being expressed are likely to be problematic, or that your students may take a negative meaning from the material, regardless of what the author and you intended.

While it is recognised that documents of a historical nature should not be altered, an examination of terminology and content is necessary, to ensure that racist, ethnocentric and stereotypical views are not reinforced or perpetuated.  Students should be encouraged to critically analyse inappropriate terminology.