Academia (as an area of human activity) clearly faces issues with minorities. This is the US term to denote population groups that comprise less than a half of the population. These could be racial minorities, such as African Americans; gender minorities, such as females in academia; religious minorities, such as Muslims in the US; sexual miniorities, such as gay and lesbian. Consequently, questions on how to handle minority issues appear on Academia.SE from time to time. These questions are highly sensitive, and always generate long debates in comments and double digit counts of answers. Even experienced teachers and administrators may get into a lot of trouble for mishandling these issues.
- Religious minority question: an instructor who is concerned about Muslim students; I made a comment, somewhere between 20 and 30 down, about a clash between a religious and a sexual minority issues that led to student suing the university (uh-oh)
- Gender minority question: general nature. Note a deeply negative score of the last answer on the list.
gendertag on this question leads to another five or so questions tagged that way. The answer that I gave talks about Harvard University President Larry Summers who had to step down because of his poorly understood remarks about women in academia (uh-oh)
I would like to propose to create the tag
minority, but I am not sure how common this term is in other parts of the world, and as to whether it would convey the right meaning. (As I said, this is a highly sensitive issue!) Some people would be offended to be called minorities, as they don't consider themsevels to be in any way "minor" to other, more commonly seen, people.