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UN criticized for survey asking staff if they identify as ‘yellow’

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons by Sanjit Bakshi

The United Nations faced backlash for a survey asking its employees if they identified themselves as “yellow,” reports Insider.

The survey was sent to staff as part of a “campaign to eradicate racism and promote dignity.”

The first question on the survey asked staff how they identified themselves, listing “yellow” as an option. Other options included Black, Brown, White, and mixed/multiracial.

“The first question is insane, deeply offensive and hard to fathom how in an organization as diverse as the United Nations this question was approved for release in a system-wide survey,” stated an anonymous UN staffer.

Erica Foldy, an associate professor at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, said the use of the term is offensive and unacceptable, according to Newsweek.

“The term ‘yellow’ to refer to people of Asian descent is a slur. It should not be used, period,” she said.

The UN has since stated that the survey has been removed and will be revised.

“We acknowledge the need to formulate these categories with greater sensitivity and will take immediate steps to rectify this,” said Stephane Dujarric, the UN’s spokesperson.

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  1. Well, black people are all shades including brown. It isn’t literal at this point. White peoples are actually pinkish, unless you’re Italian or French and they’re more olive. So yellow we are not. But, it is part of an old system including black, brown, red, yellow, white, and actually one system included blue.


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