what is a colored person?

I would like to hear from members who consider themselves to belong to the negroid race on this. What is the proper name to address you by? You are not black (I am not white.actually I am cream), you are not colored, you are not American of African descent(I work with one who is not negroid race). My kids asked me this years ago and I told them to call you “black” cause thats what seemed to be preferred. But now I think it has changed.

I thought Lenny Bruce taught us long ago that names are not that important. He called everyone nigger (white and black) to show it was silly to put so much meaning into a name.

In Africa, what are white people called?

Why you have to be called anything is a different subject.

What is the “negroid race”?

John, Bill, Sarah, Nelson, Toni …

I once heard a comedian do a routine on this that was pretty good. (Basically it was: “‘White’ people turn red with embarassment, blue with cold, brown in the sun, and you call us ‘colored’.”)

Why would you say that someone is “not American of African descent”? True, not all Africans have dark brown skin or what you might term “negroid” characteristics, but many do. If someone wants to be considered African-American or Jamaican-American, or Italian-American, or German-American, or just plain American, that’s up to them. In one sense, you could consider all of us as being of African descent.

This is still a big question with some people preferring “black” and some preferring “African-American”. (There are other terms that people prefer, but these are the two most popular.) I remember reading about a survey where older people tended to prefer “black” and younger people “African-American”. There is no simple answer to this question.

Lenny is both right and wrong. He’s right in the sense that ideally, names are not important. Call me anything you want – it doesn’t change who I am. On the other hand, names can be harmful, particularly to a child who is trying to develop a sense of self. Names can also be used to exclude people.

John, Bill, Sarah, Nelson, Toni …

I’m sure that every language and culture has different terms, both insulting and not, for people. Africa is not a homogeneous group of people.

A different subject but very much related.

This came up because I use the term black and white to describe people. and my kids (who are half-italian and darker than I am) asked what they were. I got into the whole discussion of race. It takes a lot of predujice to understand the concept. A child can’t, they see a person that is nice,mean,loud,soft,darker skin,squinty eyes… the race is just a description. why cant we all be like that? but just like they have to learn the race thing, then dont black,yellow,pink have to learn that their race is a major characteristic of their person?

I am struck with the fact that if my parents would have lived in a particular part of town that was in conflict with Italians then I would have learned that they were different… and I probably would not have married an italian.

It seems that we(as a society) are trying our best to proprogate this race thing way past its natural life. Why cant we let it die?

My question about what they call white people in Africa was really “what does a black society call a white person in polite company?”

“African American” is not the same as a black person. that was my point about that question.

I agree completely, and I don’t know the answer to that question. Also, good point about how we teach children not to like certain types of people.

For the most part, I think the term in the U.S. would be “white” unless the person was referring to a specific heritage (e.g. Italian-American).

Technically, these terms are not the same. However, in the U.S., if you hear someone referred to as “African-American”, it’s unlikely not to refer to someone who is “black”. I doubt any Americans of Egyptian heritage would refer to themselves as “African-American”. Alternatively, there are some people who would be labeled “black” (e.g. Australian aborigines) who are clearly not “African-American”.

Then I wonder where does the “african american” become the accepted term? I think its because everyone is afraid to ask or question.

I am always amazed that the nazis were able to push for racial purity when both Hitler and Himler were anything but blonde and blue eyes.

I had a white girlfriend from South Africa (or friend-girl, whatever). She was more African-American than all the black friends I grew up with so I think “African-American” is an incorrect term and I wont use it. And, like JeffB said, if you want to get technical about it we’re all from Africa anyway. As far as calling black people ‘black’, well, its just a way to describe someone you’re talking about, I dont see how anyone could take any offense to it (BTW the only time i’ve ever had offense taken when using the term ‘black’ is on the internet and i assume it’s usually from white hecklers or rich kids that grew up in a gated community and only saw black people on The Fresh Prince). There’s alot more that i want to say on this subject but it always comes out wrong and makes me look like an ass so I’ll stop now.

What gets me is that it’s not PC to say “colored people”, but it is to say “people of color”. WTF?

“African American” I believe originated with a move to emphasize heritage over skin tone, and the original was, AFAICT, “Afro-American”. That had too many allusions to a big, poofy hairstyle, so it was altered slightly for aesthetic reasons.

I would think that a black person who is not of African heritage would most prefer, if they must be identified, by their own heritage. Aborigines, for example, would prefer that term. Someone from Africa would probably prefer their country of origin (Nigerian, Ethiopian, etc), or perhaps their tribal identification. Like you’re going to know that. Dark skinned folk from India would be Indians.

I go by white or caucasian because those are the traditional terms, even though my skin isn’t quite white (though in places it’s pretty close ;)) and I’ve never been near the Caucasus mountains.

JeffB, I think he was asking for the proper label, not the Proper Name. :wink:

I like to be called Biggirl. When someone is describing me, black will do nicely. Cafe au latte, carmel, brown sugar and trigena (I don’t know how to make a tilde) are more creative ways to describe the color of my skin. I don’t mind being referred to as a person of color or a colored person. But really, I prefer being called by name.

Black American and Puerto Rican describe the cultures from which I come. I will not take offense if someone calls me an African American, although I don’t feel any closer to Africa than my European or South American friends.

Teach your children all humans like to be dealt with on an individual basis. Teach them not to be insulting. People sometimes take offense where none was intended and there is not much that can be done about that. You can not help other people’s touchiness.

Disclaimer*[sub]This poster is not black.[/sub]

But I’ll throw in my .02 anyway. I live in a largely “black” neighborhood in Denver. I’ve discussed this very thing with two of my black neighbors, both who say they are perfectly comfortable with the term “black.” If someone stated they preferred “African~American” I would refer to them as such, (even though I think all the hyphenated American designations are silly.) Kids around here use racial terms as a descriptor…That white lady, that Mexican kid, the black guy with the van, etc.

Besides which, a large number of the black people in this neighborhood are Ethiopian/Eritrean. One of my favourite restaurants in the world (shameless plug~ :)) is the Red Sea on Colfax at Jersey. I go there often, and have noticed the Ethiopian/Eritrean blacks go to great pains to point out they are not “American blacks.”


I never hear it as a description of a people in everyday conversation. Its always on the news. Either a crime report or a report on the effect of an activity on a group people. “african americans tend to vote…”, “its more likely to … african americans”. If I was reporting an incident to my friends I would say black. but if the TV camera showed up I would probably say “african american”. or I would say black and they would overdub.

Its like the people are trying to get past this but the news,politicians keep feeding it to us. How many years have we seen/heard about the POOR black youths? You would think that only black youths are poor. Why can’t the focus be on poor youths?

An aside: what percent of people on welfare are black? does anyone have a site?

Did you ever notice that some (older,usually white) people still drop their voice a few decibals when they say “black”.

As in “You know Jack, he’s that [sub]black [/sub] man that lives by my cousin.”

My reply is “you don’t need to whisper, he probably knows he is [sub]black[/sub] by now.”

FYI, in many countries in Africa the term ‘coloured’ is quite common and as far as I could tell, acceptable. However it is used as a descriptor not for blacks but for Indians and other people of Asian descent.

This thread is going to be moved to GD or IMHO really soon.

So in the spirit of those other forums, there is something I must respond to in justinh’s last post. It absolutely irritates the shit out of me when everything from scholastic scores, crime stats, welfare stats & so on are broken down by race in the popular press. While this may information may have practical applications for school boards & certain branches of local government, this is just worthless information for the general public, and open to SO much misinterpretation.

Health information I can understand - if a certain ethnic group is really more prone to a certain disease, then that could be useful info for individuals.

In Francophone West Africa the term “Toubab” is often used for people of perceived Xtian European origin. (I once had a pack of children trailing after me calling me Toubab). Midly impolite but…

I’ve had a pack of children trailing me and calling me “Azungu” in Malawi. It is also mildly impolite and generally means white (or rich) person.

I think you’re correct that “Afro-American” was the original term. I’m not sure when the switch to “African-American” took place. You are also correct on the desire to emphasize the heritage, similar to many ethnic groups who identify themselves as Italian-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Mexican-Americans, etc. The problem, or course, was that the vast majority of black Americans had no idea of their country of origin, so African-American became the term. It is also a way to attempt to emphasize a common bond regardless of the country of origin.

Just trying to do my part in keeping this light-hearted.

Biggirl, I like the way you think.

William Raspberry had an interested column in the Washington Post this past week called The Incredible Shrinking Black Agenda that talked about how “black” issues are now more about poverty than race.

The term African-American was a deliberate attempt to be more like white ethnic groups. At a conference of (some) black leaders around Labor Day, several years ago, Jesse Jackson held a press conference after the meeting and announced that the term that “they” preferred was African-American.

The source (and the problem) with this is that Rev. Jackson and his cohorts were all men who lived in the major cities of the rust belt. It is quite easy to find large numbers of people in Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and a few other cities who band together in mutual aid (or drinking) associations called German-American, Irish-American, Polish-American, Slovenian-American, Italian-American, etc. The attempt by Jackson and company was to find a word that indicated their similarity to other ethnic groups in their experience.

Unfortunately, those groups and that language is not prevalent across the entire country. There are far fewer of those groups in Denver, Seattle, or L.A. and there are almost no similarly organized or named groups in the South.

Even in the rust-belt states, you can find areas away from the large cities where ethnic identity is minimal, at best.

Jackson’s prestige among the news media is such that they adopted that terminology and it has since moved into the government, as well (see the current Census Bureau publications).

However, while there was a brief surge of acceptance for the term within the black community just after the announcement, it has never really caught on. The last Gallup or Harris poll I saw showed “black” the preferred term among people whose forefathers were imported as slaves by something better than 60%, with African-American in the high 30% range and Afro-American, Negro, colored, and People of Color filling in the lower percentages.

My skin is not white. It’s kinda pink flesh brown tan mix.

Black people are not black. They are variations of brown usually.

Labels only seek to seperate people.

The scene: outside of a gas station that has just been robbed by handy. An officer interviews the clerk.

Officer: What did the suspect look like sir?

Clerk: Well, he was kind of a human-looking, human type being, much like you and myself.

Officer: Was he black or white?

Clerk: Well, see, he was kind of a pink flesh brown tan mix…
You see where I’m going with this? People need to be seperated to a certain extent.

my original question has been answered by TOMNDEV. I do enjoy the dialog and input with my african american threaders (doesnt sound right) my black threaders.

what about the site for welfare numbers by race? any ideas?