Here are nine words commonly used to describe race. Which of these words do you think are normally considered ok to use and which do you think are best avoided?

  1. Coloured
  2. Ethnic
  3. Black
  4. Half-caste
  5. White
  6. Asian
  7. Mixed-race
  8. Negro
  9. Non-white


Scroll down to reveal the answers.


Quiz Answers: how diversity-aware is your language?

When we re-examine our choice of words we can see how some words can cause offense.


The following words are generally considered ok to use:








  • Black
  • White
  • Asian
  • Mixed-race


These words are best avoided:



  • Coloured – historically used to imply unequal status
  • Ethnic – everyone has an ‘ethnic origin’ of some kind and it is wrong to imply that only some people are ‘ethnic’
  • Half-caste
  • Negro – this word has historically racist overtones and should never be used
  • Non-white – this implies that a person is classified only by their exclusion from the ‘white’ group



Challenge discrimination in any form; don’t ignore it

Encourage questions and answer them directly

Ask if you’re not sure what term to use: black, white or mixed-race? Asian or Chinese? Ask parents which words they want you to use.


Diversity Awareness LogoFor more information on teaching diversity awareness to childminded children and for a Diversity Awareness Pack filled with practical activities you can do to promote difficult diversity topics in your setting visit