race and ethnicity

As a laboratory that strives for diversity of perspectives and inclusivity, our word choices, style, and tone must be carefully considered, particularly when it comes to topics related to race and ethnicity.

Capitalize Black when referring to African Americans or, more broadly, in any racial, ethnic, or cultural sense; do not capitalize white. Do not use the terms “Black(s)” or “white(s)” as singular or stand-alone nouns referring to a person or people. In the plural form, “Black people,” “white people,” “Black scientists,” and “white scientists” are preferable when clearly relevant.

NREL's Black Employee Resource Group focuses on developing and supporting a vibrant community for NREL staff that identify as Black or of African descent.

Capitalize “Indigenous” in reference to original inhabitants of a place, aligning with long-standing capitalization of other racial and ethnic identifiers such as Latino, Asian American, and Native American. (Note that no hyphen is used in dual heritage terms such as “Asian American” and “Mexican American.”) Capitalize “Elder” when referring to a Tribal or religious leader, but lowercase it when used to identify someone by age or when used generally.

The research team visited Indigenous communities throughout the Midwest to gather insights from local Elders.

The terms “Tribal” and “Tribe” should be capitalized, even when they are not part of an entity’s official name. Capitalize the word “nation” when part of a formal name.

the Kenaitze Indian Tribe
a citizen of the Navajo Nation
NREL researchers invited input from many Tribal councils.

In Alaska, the Indigenous groups are collectively known as Alaska Natives. Both “American Indians” and “Native Americans” are acceptable terms when referring to two or more people of different Tribal affiliations. “First Nation” is the preferred term for native Tribes in Canada. “Indian” is used to describe the peoples and cultures of the South Asian nation of India and should not be used as shorthand for American Indians, unless that is how a particular group prefers to be referenced.

NREL staff worked with Alaska Natives and First Nation Tribes to design specialized heating equipment.

For additional details, refer to the AP Stylebook's race-related coverage.