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CJUS 205: Racial and Ethnic Groups
Search Terms


When searching for articles or books in our databases, the best research method is using KEYWORDS.

Conducting research on any ethnic group you must consider the range of labels we use to identify ourselves/them:

  • Chicano or Mexican American can be used but also consider Hispanic or Latino.
  • For other Latino groups use the specific Latino population like Puerto Rican, Cubans, Dominican Republic, etc.
  • Black and African American and remember historically used terms as neccesary.
  • Asian American - Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese,  Vietnamese, etc.
  • Native American - Hopi, Cherokee, Navajo, etc. 
  • Lastly, remember to review the subject identifiers for possible keywords in your book and article searching.

Subject Headings

Effective library database searches use the best keywords and subject headings for the topic at hand. For topics related to race and ethnicity, it may be necessary to think about how a population has been described in the past in order to come up with a complete list of effective search terms.

Here are some examples:

Ethnicity and Race in General
- antiracism
- antisemitism
- ethnic groups
- ethnic relations
- ethnicity
- Islamophobia
- minorities
- people of color
- race
- race discrimination
- racial
- racial profiling in law enforcement
- racism

African Americans
- Afro Americans
- African Diaspora
- Blacks
- Colored people (in works written before the 1980s)
- Negroes (in works written before the 1970s)

Asian Americans
- Chinese Americans (or other specific nationalities)
- Oriental or Orientals

European Americans and whiteness
- Caucasians
- European Americans
- White ethnicity
- Whiteness
- Whites -- Race Identity

Immigrant Populations
- immigrants, immigration
- emigration
- illegal aliens
- undocumented immigrants
- [nationality] and immigration (example: Guatemalans and immigration)

Latino Americans
- Latino/as
- Hispanics
- Hispanic Americans
- Chicano/as
- Mexican Americans (or other specific nationality)

Native Americans
- American Indians
- Indians of North America
- First Nations
- Native Americans
- Cowlitz Indians (or other specific tribes)

Note: You will see some terms in this list that are now considered offensive or outdated. These terms may still be useful when searching for historical perspectives or when browsing by subject, since the Library of Congress Subject Headings are slow to change and do not always reflect current attitudes or usage.

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Joan Hopkins

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