Is it alright to refer to someone as being black?

Lady - posted on 04/08/2010 ( 54 moms have responded )

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Someones colour has never been an issue with me, I don't care if they are white, black, red, yellow, pink or brown, it makes no difference as far as I'm concerned we're all just people with the same feeling and emotions and sensitivities. So the last thing I would ever want to do is offend anyone by calling them by something they found offensive.

My husband sometimes goes on a football (soccer) forum where this topic has come up because one of the player of the team he follows is dating a girl of African origin. The posts were all very positive - saying she was a very stuning girl - but someone called her coloured and was told this was unacceptable. Others said black was unacceptable too and now I feel totally confused - I know I'm white and I don't have a problem with that although I don't particularly like getting called a Jock or Scotch because I come from Scotland - what is offensive and what is PC these days?

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Amanda - posted on 04/08/2010

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A friend of mine get angry if someone refers to her as African. She says, "I have never been to Africa, I don't have any relative who has ever been there. I am not African. I am from Barbados."

Honestly, I do my best not to make refernce to colour at all. If I needed to point someone out, I would prefer to say, "the lady with the braids in the pink shirt" or whatever. Use something other than their skin colour to refer to them as. Only because with my friend that I mentioned, I was the one who called her African Canadian, and she did take offence to it.

My Auntie however, is black, and she has no problem with the term black what so ever. When we were little, she used to tell my sisters and I that we were made of white milk and she was made of chocolate milk. :) I feel so blessed to have her in my family, because from such a young age, I didn't really notice colour. I hope that my kids will be the same way, but I am nervous about that, because we live in a predominantly white town.

Amanda - posted on 04/08/2010

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I think it's okay to say black.. it's a generalization, I've never heard someone take offense or use it offensively. Just like all "white people" are white, even though they're usually scottish, irish, english, polish, hungarian, just plain mutts, etc. whatever the case may be. It's not always easy to tell whether a person is jamaican, african, indian, etc... I think people try to make an issue of everything too much sometimes... I think I would laugh if someone called me white and expected it to piss me off or hurt my feelings somehow lol...

As for my son, we're military, so we're always gonna be in multi-cultural surroundings lol so he's already used to pretty much every color under the sun and he's only 3.

LaCi - posted on 04/08/2010

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I am not a PC person. I've also never heard of a black person being offended over "black." I'm also annoyed by "african american" because I don't think its any more correct to just assume this person recognizes roots in africa. I mean, scientifically speaking its believed we ALL came from africa at one time or another. What if this persons roots are in australia? It just doesn't make sense to me. I also think its ridiculous to dwell on racial terminology. Who cares? If we all didn't care maybe there wouldn't be a problem. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me what I was, and I'm always wondering why does it freakin matter? *sigh* so much to say but I gotta make dinner ;)

Amy - posted on 04/08/2010

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I think it depends on the person you're talking to, if you know them, and how it's said. My mexican friends call themselves brown all the time, but if someone else said it, they may take offense. I think it's hard on a computer because people can't understand your tone. I had a guy come up to me and go WHOA, you're really white. I was like...um. yeah..I didn't know what to say. I responded the best i could: "I can't tan, it burns and then I peel. So this is me." My daughter saw a black person [I think it's okay to say that. my friend told me colored is general and could be applied to any skin tone/race] and she said "wow, her skin is really pretty". I sighed relief that she said that instead of "is that a black person?"

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