Using more inclusive language at Code.org

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As of September 2020, Code.org is making a number of language changes across our website, blogs, social media, and collateral materials to more accurately reflect the experience of students, particularly students from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups, in computer science.

Going forward, we will no longer use the term “underrepresented minorities” to describe students from non-white and Asian backgrounds, after an internal review found this language was both too vague and offensive to those in the communities we serve.

Instead, we will strive to be specific in discussion of access gaps, disaggregating to include data for: 

  • Black / African American students
  • Hispanic/Latinx students
  • Native American/Alaskan students
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students
  • Students from two or more racial and ethnic groups (where possible, we will identify the percentage of students in this category from two or more racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in CS)

Where it’s not possible to disaggregate, or where we’re highlighting a systemic issue, we’ll reference this collective group as students from marginalized racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in computer science. In doing so, we hope to make more explicit the structural and historical circumstances that have prevented these students from accessing computer science, as recommended by social scientists and diversity and inclusion researchers. The new term may be abbreviated as “URG” in charts and graphics.

We know that words have power, and believe these changes reflect the more complex relationship that some historically marginalized communities have with computing. We also believe it is important to place the experience of these groups in context, and we understand that not every group—or every student—has the same access or opportunity to study this crucial subject. We hope these changes better reflect this history, and help make clear why this work to expand computer science for these students is so important.

-The Code.org team

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