But the one big ethnic terminology ambiguity is "Indian," which refers both to the nation and people of India, and to the Pre-Columbian inhabitants of America, not including Eskimoes. Context will get you past most "Georgia" problems, but not so with "Indian." As in the illustration, a popular way to disambiguate is to say either "feather Indian" or "dot Indian," which is cute and will serve for colloquial usage, but it's a tad undignified. I advocate using the anthropological term "Amerindian" for the first, and "Hindostani," a direct borrowing from Hindi/Urdu, for the second. And, of course, you can always say "American Indian" and "Asian Indian," which have the slight disadvantage of not being single words, but maybe that's just me. There's an additional problem that this doesn't solve, and that's the fact that there's an ethnic/racial/linguistic relationship among the nations of India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan (and maybe even Burma, I'm not sure), so I'm inclined to want a term that covers all of them, too. I encounter people all the time, and I'm sure they're one of those, but I can't tell which at all, so I think of them as "subcontinent" people. Sometimes I hear "South Asian," which sort of works, I guess.
Well, Bad Eagle holds out for keeping and using the term "American Indian," and makes a good case for it. He advocates calling the other group "Hindus," which of course introduces another ambiguity. He's right that "Hindu" used to mean the people of that area which now includes all the countries mentioned above, but now it means adherents to a particular religion. So I'll compromise with him, and go with "American Indian" and "Hindostani." Anybody got any better ideas or suggestions? Do comment if you do. Bad Eagle says:
Coulter Says “Hindu,” not Indian
by David Yeagley · February 26, 2013
We’re grateful for small miracles.
Ann Coulter‘s latest article, “HISPANICKED GOP ELITE: THEY’LL RESPECT US IN THE MORNING,” contains a truly classic opening line: “Don’t anyone tell Marco Rubio, John McCain or Jeff Flake that nearly 80 percent of Hindus voted for Obama, or who knows what they’ll come up with.”
The article is about panic Hispanics are causing the retarded Republican establishment, but, the use of the word “Hindu” rather than “Indian” is, in our opinion at BadEagle.com, one of the most important social victories for the American Indian in the last decade. Not that we consider ourselves in any way a factor of influence in Ms. Coulter’s choice of words, but, we nevertheless rejoice in the obvious triumph of courtesy rendered our fine red race by none other than the Great White Woman (who, of course, is a Cherokee Princess, or some such prestigious personage of essential ethnicity).
BadEagle.com has long fought for the historical name “American Indian” as the only legally valid nomenclature in English designating the indigenous people of America. I have published several articles validating this fact. I personally guard the very word “Indian.” Why? Let me remind the world presently, again: It is the American Indian who is named in the Declaration of Independence; it is the American Indian who is named in the Constitution of the United States. There is no other “Indian,” anywhere, that is entitled to that magnificent distinction.
(He's inspiring, isn't he? Read the rest of his essay HERE.)