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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

What Does "Colored" Mean? she asked, incorrectly.

I ask this question as a pasty, slightly mottled, beige person.

Trying to read my email, I was confronted with headlines that Bandersnoot Comfyboats was "devastated" for accidentally saying something perceived as "racist," and having no ability whatsoever  to stay on task, (as we reproach six year olds,)  I of course followed the links.

In decrying the lack of opportunity for actors of ethnic and racial minorities, (or of oppressed majorities in some places, I suppose,) what he said was, "I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really difficult in the UK, and I think a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the U.S.] than in the UK, and that's something that needs to change."
IIRC, when the movie film Gandhi came out a hundred years ago I was confused by the historical use of the world "colored" in, IIRC, South Africa.
I was told by someone that the term was used differently in different Anglophone countries, (and colonies,) and that a lot of times it simply meant "not like us," to tell the truth.

Irish and Italian immigrants to the US were "colored" at one time, weren't they?

I would have thought, it was obvious from the context that Bendyduck Slumbersnatch was expressing a position that is the furthest thing from racism. However, since the critic cited in the CNN report is based in London, (don't know here nationality,) and from her photo seems to be of an ethnic or racial minority, or of an oppressed majority in some places, she would be in a better position to know how offensive the word is or isn't.

On the other hand, notice the repeated use of the word "black" which I have certainly heard, um... white people reprimanded for uttering or writing in the US over the past decade or so, and been told IT was "offnsive" since "African-American" took its place as the Said Thing.
But of course, it's the only word that makes any sense to use in this context, since it's clearly not, or not mostly, about Americans.
On the other hand, the expression "African-American," is used, absurdly, when someone is being described of whose nationality we have no way of knowing, and that is just plain silly. I heard someone on the news once, in his PC zeal, (or perhaps in his terror of the PC police,) refer to someone as an "African American Frenchman."

And finally, I admit it is probably laziness on my part, but I have an aversion to extra letters and syllables being required by the suppression of a previously considered polite word or phase in favor of a more cumbersome one. And I don't know Bumbershoot Clamberbutch, but I think it not impossible that he wasn't referring to "black" people only, who are ill-done by the industry, but Pakistanis, and Maoris, and Guatemalans, and Lebanese, and Koreans, and Inuit and... well, you get the picture.

And a colorful one it is.

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