I got called out for using the adjective “Black”, on the basis that I should have used the more respectful “African-American”. My transgression was the topic of dinner table conversation for a few minutes. The setting was a big official event centered partly on discussion of ethnicity and racism, and the issue wasn’t my bringing up race, not at all – it was the choice of term. I’m not African-American or Black myself, I’m an outsider to that demographic group.
I understand my use of “Black” was offensive at that time to the person who addressed me about it, but I didn’t know or anticipate that it would be, and looking around online hasn’t cleared it up for me. I’ve avoided the term “Black” since then, but I wish I knew more about whether I should and why. So, generally, is “Black” considered an offensive term? And is “African-American” safe?