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In the USA, the 1977 and 1997 Race and Ethnic Standards for Administrative Reporting deemed the term “non-white” unacceptable for use in the presentation of federal government data.1 Yet, in the UK, the term continues to enjoy widespread saliency in the reports of government and its agencies (such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS)), and in scholarly writing (over 170 instances in the BMJ during the years 1994–2007). While it provides a convenient shorthand for describing those in ethnic groups who are not categorised as “white”, the changing ethnic diversity …
Competing interests: None.