The AP on AAPI

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, here are some AP style guidelines for covering these diverse communities:

  • AAPI 
    • Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The acronym is widely used by people within these communities but is not as well known outside of them. Spell out the full term; use AAPI only in direct quotations and explain the term.
  • Asian American 
    • No hyphen (a change in 2019 for this and other dual heritage terms). Acceptable for an American of Asian descent. 
    • When possible, refer to a person’s country of origin or follow the person’s preference. For example: Filipino American or Indian American. Do not describe Pacific Islanders as Asian Americans, Asians or of Asian descent. Avoid using Asian as shorthand for Asian American when possible.
  • Pacific Islander 
    • Used to describe the Indigenous people of the Pacific Islands, including but not limited to Hawaii, Guam and Samoa. Should be used for people who are ethnically Pacific Islander, not for those who happen to live in Pacific Islands. 
    • Be specific about which communities you are referring to whenever possible. Do not use Asian Pacific Islander unless referring to Pacific Islanders of Asian descent. Do not describe Pacific Islanders as Asian Americans, Asians or of Asian descent.
  • Stop AAPI Hate 
    • A movement that was launched in March 2020 in response to a rise in anti-Asian bias and racism stemming from the coronavirus pandemic that originated in China. The Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University created a reporting center under the name Stop AAPI Hate to track and respond to cases of hate, violence, harassment and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Some prefer to use the hashtag #StopAsianHate.
  • Anti-Asian sentiment 
    • Avoid this euphemism, which conveys little meaning. Alternatives may include anti-Asian bias, anti-Asian harassment, anti-Asian comments, anti-Asian racism or anti-Asian violence, depending on the situation. Be specific and give details about what happened or what someone says happened.