It’s a subtlety in language that has the power to evoke varying degrees of respect. The indefinite article (a or an) should of course be used freely when referring to objects - like a candy bar, a book, or an orangutan. But it shouldn’t be used in front of an ethnicity, because it creates a demeaning connotation.
I wouldn’t say, “This is my friend Daniella and she’s a Jew.” Instead I would say, “This is my friend Daniella, and she is Jewish.”
A tasteful writer wouldn’t say, “I spoke to a Mexican about the event,” they would say, “I spoke to a Mexican man about the event.”
And finally, I would say, “This is my friend Melanie, and she is White,” or “She’s a White person” but never “she’s a White.” (Notice how I did it up there in paragraph one and it sounded disrespectful? Go back and look and tell me you don’t disagree!)
I am Indian vs. I am an Indian (Language has power)
Native American Expressions (within the NA community)
History of Western Abnaki Language by By Jesse Bowman Bruchac (National Geographic)
The word "Pagan" is a problem when applied to Native Americans
Saying "I Love You"in Multiple Native Languages
The Word ‘Squaw’: Offensive or Not?
Though several journalists since have supported Harjo, the jury is still out when it comes to the meaning of the word squaw. Most historians and linguists appear to be more supportive of a non-derogatory meaning, use of the word is still looked at as offensive to many others. In the years since Harjo’s appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, efforts to rename geographical sites swung into full-force. In the first four months of 2008, the U.S. Board on Geographic names renamed 16 valleys creeks and other sites omitting the name squaw.
What's the Most Popular Native American Language in Your State?
Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/17/whats-most-popular-native-language-your-state-154903
Top 10 Things to Say When You Meet a White Person http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/07/25/top-10-things-say-when-you-meet-white-person-156053
10. How much white are you?
9. I'm part white myself, you know.
8. I learned all your people's ways in the Boy Scouts.
7. My great-great-grandmother was a full-blooded white American Princess.
6. Funny, you don't look white.
5. I'm not racist, my best friend is white!
4. Do you live in a covered wagon?
3. What's the meaning behind the square dance?
2. Can I touch your facial hair?
1. Hey, can I take your picture?