Doris Wilkinson


A systematic socio-linguistic and historical analysis of the minority label reveals its multiple irregularities and imperfections. These encompass a misleading array of vastly dissimilar nationality or group designations and the erroneous comparison of behaviors and life styles with racial status. As it is currently applied in U.S. political culture and in a variety of disciplines including sociology and social work, the concept has virtually no substantive meaning nor reality-linked usefulness. A thorough appraisal of the consequences of the perpetual reliance on the notion demonstrates that it eradicates ethnic cultural diversity and ignores historical antecedents and the "lived" experiences of oppressed racial populations.

In fact, the politically framed designation has no psychological nor social significance for targeted racial/ethnic groups. Rather, it comprises "politically correct" language and functions solely for those who seek to equate behavior and conditions with race or ethnic status. Yet, objective examinations clearly show that the word is lacking in definitive dimensions and fails to reference any of the standard rules for logical concept formation and category construction. A thorough knowledge of social science methodology and U.S. history provides insights into the theoretical and research limitations of the minority tool. Thus, in clinical and social science vocabularies, there is an urgent need to disconnect behavior from race for the two are not equal on any criteria. It is simply axiomatic that behavioral frames of reference are completely distinct from race paradigms. The chronic insistence on placing racial groups under the minority label constitutes an unusual preoccupation with purposefully defining "the other" without their consent.

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