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So, um, what do I call him?

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posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 05:00 PM
I must preface this by saying that I don’t mean to cause any trouble by starting this thread. This is not an attempt to offend anyone. I simply want to know, and I can’t think of a better place to ask.

The term “African-American” is politically in-correct. Not every dark-skinned person is from Africa, nor is automatically an American. So while it might be socially ‘less offensive’, it is simply incorrect and presumptuous.

But I refuse to call my neighbor (for example) ‘black’. When his skin tone is compared to the color wheel, he is, at best, a shade of brown. Likewise, I am not white, but rather various shades of peach. (Brown and peach aren’t so far apart on the wheel, whereas black and white are complete opposites. Yet another way that language is used to divide the people among themselves...)

And obviously the ‘n-word’ is right out... *especially* because I’m ‘peach’.
(On a slight tangent, I do not understand the double-standards with this particular word. I know its origins, and I understand the idea of the victimized culture kidnapping a word so that the term becomes less painful, or over time is given a different cultural definition. I get that. But it seems to me that if a word is universally considered ‘bad’ or ‘unacceptable’, then why are we still using it, and, consequentially, allowing it to remain in existance to cause further pain and suffering?)

So... what do I call him?

Obviously, by his name. (Yes yes, ha ha.)

But what if I’m trying to describe him to someone -- I give a list of physical characteristics: height, size, et cetera. Would it be more correct to refer to him as ‘dark-skinned’?

Part of me is in complete disbelief that I’m even bothering to ask. My inner-teenager is yelling, “Quit with the color crap already! There’s only one race: human.” And I agree.

Yet, at the same time, my brain longs to have a more correct label, since all previous labels are, decidedly, incorrect.

Anyone have any ideas? (Has the issue been decided and I just didn’t get the memo?)

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 06:07 PM
I didn't get the memo either.
And I think it's a very reasonable thing to wonder about.

Since the "Black man is Crazy" thread, I've given quite a bit of thought to this. And I've decided to give up describing people by their skin color, unless it's a very accurate description. Me? I'm tan. And the fellow you describe? I may call him "dark tan" or "brown". I posted a color chart here.

But the color of a person's skin is irrelevant to who he is, so unless I'm making a police report and would describe the color of someone's eyes and hair or that their skin was very pale, I don't see any reason to bring it up at all.

How about chocolate? Mmmm...
I think there are lots of words we could use and I think it's up to the person doing the describing.

[edit on 26-7-2007 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 06:19 PM
Here's a suggestion how about when describing our race we all refer to ourselves as Human. And you could just call him friend or neighbor and not worry about skin tone. I've never understood how any body could consider themselves superior based on skin tone or in my case lack there of. Just my suggestion and I'm not trying to be a smart aleck or anything I just think that's the best description

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 06:21 PM
Scientist and archaeologists use the term Negroid, I believe. As far as I know, that doesn't strike the bone or anything, and best of all it is technical and scientific. It is kinda like Caucasian for peach people.

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 06:34 PM
You see,this is the conundrum the political correctness of the 1990s created for us. Lovely isn't it?

Anyway, I don't really know what to tell ya... Perhaps you should just refer to em as "that person," someone would find that "offensive" as well.
This world is a mess. :shk:

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 09:22 PM
How about we call them what they want to be called?

Obviously, well for me anyway, the "N" word won't do. I find it offensive, regardless of whether or not anyone else does or not. Mine is the only opinion that matters, OK?

Any description can be used to play into stereotype, no matter how seemingly benign. I would honestly say, it depends upon the circumstances and what you are comfortable with. Not much of an answer for you, I know, but it is the best I can do.

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 09:25 PM
Although I am white, I like the saying "black is beautiful". Calling someone black is not necessarily pejorative, many people are proud of their blackness. So, it might be appropriate to call him black!

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 10:57 PM
As a person-without-color, I find that using the term person-of-color to be convenient among the nomenclature-sensitive.

[edit on 2007/7/26 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Jul, 27 2007 @ 01:51 AM
I thought about this awhile back, and I decided to use the term AfroAmerican,
since Afro would refer to the general amalgam of colors in Africa, it can be used in the
same way that you can say AngloAmerican.

Honestly though, I never actually use the term much, since I never really end up talking
about an individuals race.

If we had a 'color blind society' we would'nt even have to think about it, since the only
time it would be talked about is in science and such, and the correct scientific
terminology would be used.

posted on Jul, 27 2007 @ 07:23 AM
Why do we feel obligated to inform whomever that the person we are describing is a man/woman of color? If we were describing a white man/woman, would we start with their height, weight, age, or skin color? None of the above? If we were describing a man/woman of color, what would we begin with?

Why is that?

I know when I begin to describe a person of color in this fashion, I tend to begin with their skin color. Afterwards, I'm left thinking, "Why the hell did I feel obligated to say that the person was not white?" I know, 100%, I've never described someone as white. But I have, more often than not, described someone as black.

I find that wrong.

posted on Jul, 27 2007 @ 08:01 AM
Good thread. As usual, I have my politically incorrect views. I want to go on record as saying that I absolutely do not want to offend anyone, but I do need to answer the question with my honest opinion.
I will not use the term African American. A co-worker of mine is from south Africa. He grew up there, as did his family. They moved to America years ago. He is so white that Albinos laugh at him. He is a legal American citizen. He is from Africa. He is a true African American.

I will use the term "black" for arguments sake in my post. The moniker blacks ask to be called changes fairly frequently. During my lifetime I've seen several.
1) Blacks
2) Negroes
3) Coloreds
4) African Americans

By the way I am a caucasian - AMERICAN. My ancestors are all from Italy.
We all know there is a horrendous history associated with blacks and slavery in the US. It happened, it can't be changed. There is a sensitivity, and rightfully so.
That being said, if I describe a man as a black man - how am I offending him? I do not use the word N--ger to describe a black man. I want to be clear and honest here. Yes, I have used the word N--ger. HOWEVER not to label the black community. To label AN INDIVIDUAL. The word N--ger describes a lowlife a-hole who has no responsibilities. For instance a person (Black or white or whatever) who will go to a playground and go on a shooting spree.....etc...........
Martin Luther King - that man was no N--ger. He was a freakin' hero. He changed everything, and did it with class. He preached peaceful means to his goals. He absolutely has my respect. The man who murdered him (and his name does not deserve to be written in my post) is a N--ger. George Washington Carver, Malcolm X, and so many other black people are people to be respected.
OK back to topic. I use the word black to describe a black man. If there were a bunch of people in a room and someone asked me who so-and-so is, I would say the black guy. Just like I would say the guy with the big nose, or the redhead, or the tall guy.
In my opinion, the word black is a fair descriptor. If I offended anyone, I apologize in advance.

posted on Jul, 27 2007 @ 08:45 AM

Originally posted by chissler
I know when I begin to describe a person of color in this fashion, I tend to begin with their skin color.

This is exactly my problem with this. If I were talking about a (white) friend to another (white) friend, their skin color would never enter into it.

"He's a white fellow, like you and me."
How stupid is that?

The problem with calling someone black (IMO) is that it sets a stereotype. It's not an insult or anything, it's just that I think no matter how badly we wish to refrain from using stereotypes, when I say someone is black, the listener is going to form opinions based on skin color that he wouldn't form otherwise. I just think getting rid of distinguishing people by their skin color is one more step away from the divisiveness and separateness that exists between people today.

To me, blurting out the skin color of a person when it isn't relevant... like, "there's this black guy at work..." is akin to saying, "There's this blond-haired, blue-eyed, Republican 37-year-old, short, thin, glasses-wearing, kind of pretty woman at work..."

Unless it's relevant (and I can think of very few circumstances where it would be) why even state it?

Originally posted by seagull
How about we call them what they want to be called?

1. How am I supposed to know that? Ask them, "I see you're black. What would you like to be called"?
Will all people of this race want to be called the same thing? Clearly not. See "The Black Man is Crazy" thread.

2. I have an acquaintance who has a very normal American name. They decided that they want to be called "RuselBusisiwe"... I'm sorry?

I don't ask anyone else what they want to be called because of their skin color. In fact, no one else makes an issue of it.

posted on Jul, 29 2007 @ 11:47 AM
I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'm no sociologist, but I'm sure any majority labels a minority in some way when referring to them. It doesn't necessarily have any sort of meaning other than to set the context, stories are dull without detail. I would bet that many blacks refer to whites and other tones as such, but not use black when referring to other blacks. Or imagine someone in Japan describing an encounter they had with a white guy, why wouldn't they mention that?

I dunno. I'm sort of typing this as I think of it, I try not to put too much thought into it as I don't really see it as a pressing issue. Just call people what ever you are most comfortable with, and if it turns out they don't like it, call them something else.

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