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Colored, Negro or Afro-American?

Could any of the 4 black people that read my blog kindly answer the question above?

I’m joking.  I think my demographic is mostly white females, at least the readers who comment are. It just ends up that way.

But really, I would care to know what the answer is. My guess is that the answer you are going to say is- neither.

The answer is ‘black’ right?

For several reasons-

It is 2012 not 1962

We are not characters in the movie The Help

I don’t live in the rural South.

And if I did- revert to reason 1 and that- it’s 2012.

There’s someone I know that continues to use those above terms.

I’m confused every time she does because I’m not sure if it’s offensive to use those terms or not. For the simple fact that, the stories she is telling me, don’t make one iota of difference what race these people are. But I never know what to say when she says them. She’s describing a woman on one of those Dr. shows.  She described this guest as the “Afro-American woman”. I kept wondering why she says ‘Afro’ American and not African-American. Is she talking about their hair? I realize this is an actual term. But again, is it still used today?

Not all black people are from Africa. Not all black people are black. They are shades of brown. Just ask a 3 year old. They’ll tell you.

Also, she will talk about the care nurse that stops by to take care of her elderly neighbor. “She’s a very nice Negro woman that comes 3 to 4 times a week.”

So if anyone has some kind feedback, I’m not looking to stir the pot, it’s an innocent question this white girl has. See? White girl. Not Anglo-Deutsch-American.

Tyler Perry if you’re reading- maybe you can weigh in.

This was only out in 2010, maybe it confuses white people. Tyler Perry- see what you've done?

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Comments

  1. My father does the same thing. When he comments about something he never mentions a person’s race unless they aren’t white. I correct him a lot and he reacts like I just did a shot of heroin in front of him, or checked email on my phone. It’s a generational thing. Old people don’t change until they die.

  2. Christopher says:

    So, my son’s rugby coach is white. Why am I bringing this up on this post? He was born and raised in South America. As far as we know, he’s now a naturalized American citizen. So, is he an African-American?

  3. Christopher says:

    oh CRAP!!

    South African!! No wonder my mother doesn’t understand!

  4. My sister and I (one of us is “white” and one of us is “black”) use the terms, “white” and “black.” However, we have offended our own friends at times by using these terms (said one friend of ours “I’m not black, I’m brown,” to which the white one of us sisters said “well I’m not white, I’m ivory.” That went over great.) We used to get upset because the black one of us always preferred vanilla ice cream, and the white one of us always preferred chocolate ice cream. The white one was jealous when the black one pronounced that she was really “chocolate chip” because the palms of her hands were white. We didn’t know there was a difference growing up. We thought if we wore each others’ clothes, then no one could tell us apart. So what I’m trying to say is — there’s no answer. The terms keep changing, but what stays the same is the same damn prejudices on all sides. Can’t we just all go back to our early childhood when we didn’t think skin color made a friggin difference? Of course the answser is no. I walk my girls through Target now and I ask them which of the ladies in the makeup pictures they like. When they tell me which ones they like, I ask them why. They always point out eye shadow, or curly or straight hair, or lipstick. They never point out the color of skin. I pray my girls stay colorblind as long as possible. The more people want to assign labels, the more we are separated. I personally am currently fond of the term “colored.” It seems more appropriate. More inclusive of the incredible diversity and melting pot that is America. I’d like to think we’re all a little colored. But that was a term used negatively in our country’s past, so I probably just pissed someone off . . . whatever.

    • When you put it that way regarding the use of the word ‘colored’, it makes sense. Sadly, it’s not the case here. It’s the old-fashioned way of thinking.
      True- these days we have to teach racism to our kids to help them understand the civil rights movement. My kids are always so amazed that Martin Luther King had to do what he did at that time and all the segregation.

  5. F, this is a very interesting question you pose…and the answers/comments are also. continue…

  6. I have black friends. We have never had this conversation before, but in other ones, I have heard them refer to themselves as “black”. I think “african-american” could be more formal of the two terms. Definitely not negro.

  7. Here’s my experience with friends, people I’ve lived with, and been around: The three terms in the title are out-dated in normal conversation. They may be used in some organizational titles, such as the NAACP, but they are not conversational terms anymore. Black and African-American are cool, with African-American typically a more formal term.