“Colored”, Acceptable or Not

Recently a coworker was telling me another one of his fishing stories. He is an older white male, mid 50’s, and a very nice, respectful person who loves to fish. Has always been respectful to everyone at the job and enjoys sharing his fishing stories with myself and anyone else willing to listen. During his most recent story, he was telling me about how he and his buddies were catching perch from Lake Erie while out on a boat. He went on to say how they were searching for a good spot to fish and came upon a group of guys who said the fish were biting there. He said,” We came across these guys, you know these coloreds, in a boat having a good ol’ time.” I am a young black male, late 30’s, and from history as I know it the word ‘colored’ is not acceptable in the black community. I really didn’t know how to respond, but knowing the person who said it I didn’t take offense because I felt he meant no harm. I laughed about it with other coworkers later and never mentioned it again.

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4 Responses to “Colored”, Acceptable or Not

  1. courtneyjdanko says:

    ” Colored” isn’t a term I hear at all anymore. But I think most terms we use to describe “colored” people can all be seen as offensive. We use the term ‘black’ more than any other one. Although I am white, I could even see the term ‘black’ as being offensive. Most of the time the people who we are calling black, aren’t even black in color. Just as I am referred to as white, but my skin color isn’t quite white. Actually in the summer I am very far from having white skin. What is the appropriate word you refer to yourself as? Any that you don’t find offensive?

  2. I feel you on your response, when a person tells me a story and they might say this black guy, the only thing I wonder is, what you don’t know his name. I will appreciate if I was not referred to as the black girl that works here.

  3. strength3751 says:

    I think that the word “black” is more offensive than “colored”. Not sure why people take offense to the word “colored”; actually never knew they did until I started to take this class. Now I wonder who I may have upset in the past totally unaware of what I may have referred to them as.

  4. ec1975 says:

    It’s not the actual sound of the word, or the nature of either that makes one more offensive than the other, it’s the time the word was used. During the times of slavery, and when racism was at its peak, after the abolishment of slavery, the word ‘colored’ was used more commonly than the word ‘black’. At that time ‘black’ was more of a formal way of referring to negroes than ‘colored’. Don’t get me wrong, neither was meant as a compliment but ‘colored’ was more offensive and insulting at that time which makes it more uncomfortable for a ‘black’ person to hear. Now-a-days ‘black’ is so widely used that it is common to see it as a choice for race when filling out different types of applications.

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