31
   

Is 'colored people' offensive?

 
 
SMickey
 
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 07:43 pm
The 38-year-old Sherlock star used the racial term during a debate on the lack of diversity on British screens on the talk show Tavis Smiley.

He came under fire after the show, and I got curious what exactly he mentioned. It was 'colored people'.

( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2927166/I-m-idiot-m-devastated-caused-offense-British-actor-Benedict-Cumberbatch-issues-apology-calling-black-people-colored-television.html )

I've got a couple of questions.

1. What should he have said instead of 'colored people'?
Non-white people?

2. That term obviously seems to indicate African-Americans.
Does the word 'colored people' also include 'Asians, Latinos or some other races?'

3. Does the term 'African-Americans' only refer to 'black people in the US?' Can those black people in U.K. also are called 'African-Americans'?
I'd like to know if 'African-Americans' only indicate those black people in the U.S. or that includes those in other countries as well.

I'd appreciate your comment.
Thanks.

p.s.) I have no intention whatever to use any racial term, but if I did while writing, please let me know.

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Type: Question • Score: 31 • Views: 8,864 • Replies: 172

 
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 07:48 pm
The term is considered offensive in the United States. I can't speak for other nations.
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 07:59 pm
@SMickey,
Statements about race are a minefield. But you do sometimes have to mention them. I've seen the term people of color (and the singular form, person of color) used. Can't say whether it's considered offensive.

Using the -American ending for people outside of the Americas is inaccurate. It's possible (although I'm not 100% certain) that the term person of African descent could work.

I doubt that colored is intended to reference anyone of Asian or Latino descent, at least not in the United States.
0 Replies
 
layman
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:03 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
The term is considered offensive in the United States. I can't speak for other nations.


Considered "offensive" by who, though? Apparently not by those who use the acronym NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).

There is a difference between offense being "taken" and offense being "given." To me, it now seems that what is often called "offensive" is merely a matter of offense being taken, rather than given.

Something consoling, I guess, about being "victim."

“Preaching is heady wine. It is intoxicating to tell someone just where they get off.” (somebody said that, but I forget who it was).
chai2
 
  4  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:20 pm
@layman,
The NAACP was founded in 1909, when the term colored was the nicest term available for someone of African descent.


From Quora....

It is well noted that Blacks are no longer referred to as "colored people," however, when the NAACP was founded in 1909, that was one of the few dignified titles that Blacks had. Over the last 20 years, there has been much chatter, both inside and outside of the organization calling for a name change to a more chronologically relevant title. The leadership of the organization desires to keep the name to honor the original founders and to maintain a lasting reminder of the conditions that necessitated its founding.

http://www.quora.com/Why-does-the-NAACP-still-use-Colored-People-in-the-organizations-name-Like-Negro-that-term-appears-to-be-outdated-Some-even-find-it-offensive
layman
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:27 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
The NAACP was founded in 1909, when the term colored was the nicest term available for someone of African descent


Sure, Chai. But why should it change?

For what it's worth, not that long ago, it was considered to be an extreme insult to call a "colored person" (which was deemed to be quite acceptable) a "black person" Now, somehow, the reverse seems to be the case.

So people who had been told for years that one respectful way to refer to "Negroes" (now also an "offensive" term, if you listen to some--despite the fact that Dr. M. L. King used it almost exclusively) are now suddenly "racist" if they use it.

What's up with that?

korkamann
 
  3  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:27 pm
@layman,
Quote:

Considered "offensive" by who, though? Apparently not by those who use the acronym NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).


The "NAACP" was founded in 1909 at a time when African-Americans were called Negros. There have been changes in how American blacks refer to themselves since that time. For a while, they preferred to be called "black." That, too, underwent a change and today they are hyphenated as African-Americans. Setanta is correct. The noun "colored" is considered offensive to use when referring to American black people.

The NAACP will remain the "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as its traditional name continue to represent the struggle of this minority.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:28 pm
@layman,
layman wrote:

Quote:

There is a difference between offense being "taken" and offense being "given." To me, it now seems that what is often called "offensive" is merely a matter of offense being taken, rather than given.

Something consoling, I guess, about being "victim."



My ethnicity is from a country which for a long time in the U.S. it seemed totally appropriate for people to make fun of and tell jokes about. I'm sure in certain areas of the country people are still doing it.

I hated that as a child, and even more when I grew up. I've had no problem in telling someone that I am offended by their humor in that area. That doesn't make me a victim. It makes me a person that stands up for myself and my dignity.

I would be a victim if I kept silent and just felt sad/angry about it.

0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:31 pm
@layman,
layman wrote:

Quote:
The NAACP was founded in 1909, when the term colored was the nicest term available for someone of African descent


Sure, Chai. But why should it change?

For what's worth, not that long ago, it was considered to be an extreme insult to call a "colored person" (which was deemed to be quite acceptable) a "black person" Now, somehow, the reverse seems to be the case.

So people who had been told for years that one respectful way to refer to "Negroes" (now also an "offensive" term, if you listen to some--despite the fact that Dr. M. L. King used it almost exclusively) are now suddenly "racist" if they use it.


What's up with that.




Because the world moves on gunslinger.

What is considered appropriate today as opposed to 200 years from now will be quite different.

We adapt and evolve.
layman
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:36 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
What is considered appropriate today as opposed to 200 years from now will be quite different.

We adapt and evolve.


Who is "adapting" and "evolving?" It is those who insist that Mark Twain was a "racist" for using the term "nigger" in the novel Huck Finn, and who therefore insist that the book be banned from all schools?

Are THEY the enlightened ones who have progressed through evolution?
korkamann
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:37 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
Because the world moves on.....

What is considered appropriate today as opposed to 200 years from now will be quite different.

We adapt and evolve.


Beautifully stated.
0 Replies
 
layman
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:51 pm
@chai2,


Chai, one of the respondents at your site says this:

Quote:
The terms "Colored" and "Negro" are not considered to be offensive or pejorative in and of themselves in African American circles. Old fashioned, maybe, dated maybe, but not generally considered to be offensive or a racial slur.


You can argue that she is somehow "wrong," but that would just beg (one of) the question(s) I'm asking. If that's what SHE believes, then why should she be called a "racist?"

Why should one person's (say it's you) subjective sense of what is "proper" be unilaterally imposed on another with a different sense of "propriety." What makes YOUR view the only right one?
chai2
 
  4  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:52 pm
@layman,
layman wrote:



Who is "adapting" and "evolving?"


Apparantly not you.

Especially if you have to even ask a question such as that.

It's your personal business what you choose to call people. However, you can't be surprised when they look you in the eye and tell you what you called them offends them.

If your definition of a victim is someone who is not afraid to make their needs known, then you may just be upset because they aren't letting you get away with it.

I prefer to call someone what they tell me they would like to be called, and if that changes, so do I.

Either you're just being pedantic and picking at nits, or you don't understand the importance of making the other person feeling comfortable.

If 5 different people wanted me me call them 5 different things, I'd do my best to do so, and everyone, including me, would benefit.

Today, 2015 in the U.S. the term colored is old fashioned and offensive.

If styles of dress, preferred modes of life styles, leisure and work can change, then why not what people would like to be called?

chai2
 
  2  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:57 pm
@layman,
layman wrote:



You can argue that she is somehow "wrong," but that would just beg (one of) the question(s) I'm asking. If that's what SHE believes, then why should she be called a "racist?"

Why should one person's (say it's you) subjective sense of what is "proper" be unilaterally imposed on another with a different sense of "propriety." What makes YOUR view the only right one?


I'm not arguing anything.

My point of view isn't important. It's the point of view of the person who is being addressed, and what they want.

If someone said they didn't like strawberry shortcake, I wouldn't offer them them any. If they wanted pudding instead, it would be just as easy to give them that and make them happy.

It's no more difficult to call someone one thing or another verbally, so if they prefer one thing over another, I say give it to them.

layman
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 08:59 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
Apparantly not you.


Another "pronouncement," eh, Chai?

I notice that you didn't in any way address the question I asked, when you purported to "respond" to it. The question was:

Quote:
Who is "adapting" and "evolving?" It is those who insist that Mark Twain was a "racist" for using the term "nigger" in the novel Huck Finn, and who therefore insist that the book be banned from all schools?
0 Replies
 
layman
 
  0  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 09:08 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
My point of view isn't important. It's the point of view of the person who is being addressed, and what they want


So you don't claim to speak for "everyone?" But, then, why do you do it? The story reported in the OP was certainly NOT about one single person making a request of one other person.
chai2
 
  3  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 09:18 pm
ohhhhhhh

I get it now.

You just want to argue.

I say something, you call it a pronouncement. I say what I do, you call it a claim.

Sorry, I don't have enough time left in my life to bother with this.
layman
 
  -4  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 09:25 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
You just want to argue.


I'm sorry if I didn't see your "answer" to be a 100% satisfactory one regarding the question I was asking.

If asking questions of you is deemed "offensive" by you, I apologize. I honestly didn't intend any offense.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2015 01:39 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
layman wrote:
Who is "adapting" and "evolving?"


Apparantly not you.


Hear hear
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2015 03:00 am
@SMickey,
SMickey wrote:
2. That term obviously seems to indicate African-Americans.
Does the word 'colored people' also include 'Asians, Latinos or some other races?'


In one episode of Six Feet Under, (Season 4, episode 6) the deperately liberal angry teen character Claire Fisher describes two other characters, Keith, a black man and Rico, a Latino, as "people of color". The choice of words is was not remarked upon by the other characters. She is clearly being shown as slightly ridiculous.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aNRBkJsYGY

Quote:
3. Does the term 'African-Americans' only refer to 'black people in the US?' Can those black people in U.K. also are called 'African-Americans'?


Only in the US! How could it be otherwise? (But what about tourists from e.g. Jamaica or South Africa?) It often amuses British black people when US visitors call them "African Americans".

Incidentally when my British brother-in-law was over from the States with his American wife (a very annoying person), when they arrived at our house, she said she was worried if the rental car would be safe parked outside our house in Bristol. After some prodding she said it was because she had seen a black guy in a nearby street.
 

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