Americans are becoming more nervous when they have to speak up about race

Americans in the U.S. are changing the terms they’re using to describe their racial group.

A new report from the Center for American Progress finds that many people feel pressure to be critical of groups that people identify with but are sometimes hesitant to use. According to the report, Americans feel pressure to show solidarity with minorities — but often pick and choose the moments to be vocal about their feelings.

Like the people who feel pressure to constantly use “Hispanic,” “Latino” or “African American,” people who report feeling pressure to self-identify by race are likely to be members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Asian Americans or Native Americans.

A release on the report writes:

Many people feel more comfortable with other racial groups than they do with their own. People commonly feel pressure to express political support for their race and members of their racial group, but are also hesitant to cross over the line and raise criticism against other races. This is largely because of the high anxiety of stereotyping others. In fact, members of the Congressional Black Caucus felt significantly more anxious discussing race in their own speech and writing than any other group. Not only does this attitude contribute to stereotyping, but it can also lead to stereotype and anxiety-related harms, such as false accusations of racism and low self-esteem. It is crucial for all people to speak up when they feel uncomfortable about an intersectional issue they are passionate about, such as race, gender, sexuality, or criminal justice reform.

The report looks at three ways that pressure to self-identify can affect people — stereotyping of non-white groups, creating consensus or minimizing diversity and, in extreme cases, witnessing and promoting racial and racial justice among people who are excluded from having a voice.

Here’s a look at how reporting on race can come back to hurt a person:

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