Within the Sailersphere, there is common use of the term “NAM” for “non-Asian minorities”. It was created by an American to discuss American issues, but I people in other countries could tell similar stories. Unfortunately, that term wouldn’t be appropriate. I was thinking about this reflecting on Tino’s discussion of Sweden, where many of the immigrants may be technically “west asian”, but applies even moreso in the U.K where “Asian” means “South Asian” (including both Pakistanis/Bangladeshis and the relatively assimilated Indians and but not the smaller east asian population). We certainly can’t talk in terms of immigrants since often an underclass may have the most claim to being indigenous, and as Amy Chua could tell you the common minority vs majority positions are often switched in less developed countries. “Less developed” is a fine euphemism, and certainly preferable to the often false “developing countries” name. I want hear a euphemism bland enough that people of very different perspectives can use the same term. It is apparently fine to notice differences in educational attainment, as long as the cause of those differences remains vague (in this day and age it is also common to believe that everyone would agree with you if only they were more educated). “Less educated” is one possibility, but given the prevalence of self-education (or non-officially recognized education) it would err too often for people like Earl Muntz or students of low-standards degree mills, and make it difficult to compare students with same years of schooling (one of the most common topics for the term to be applied). Shifting from years of education to level of literacy could work, one problem is that people tend to conceive of literacy as something you have or (in a very small minority of adults) don’t. But I suppose many of those people wouldn’t be using a term like “less literate population” anyway.
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