Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Coloured", the other c-word

A Conservative MP has got himself into trouble for using the word "coloured" to refer to people who aren't white. The BBC Magazine covers it here and it's got some interesting background on the word too. We've covered it here on this blog before so just do a quick search using the word in the search bar at the top.

So, what's wrong with it? Here are two points of view from the site:

The term was common parlance in the 1960s, but its origins are the problem, says Mr Agbetu. It comes from the ideology of racism, that white people are white, and everyone else is somehow other coloured. It fails to recognise that everyone has an ethnicity and is an inadequate "one-size-fits all" description.
When I was growing up in the 70s, "coloured" was considered by my white, middle-class demographic as the polite word for dark-skinned persons. To call someone "black", which is preferred by many people now, was extremely rude. In adulthood I see that we had this backwards, but it was well-intentioned. I sympathise a little with Mr Jenkin, as this minefield is being constantly re-laid. For Labour to take such gleeful advantage is shabby. But he does need to keep up. I understand why "coloured" is seen as offensive now and certainly wouldn't use it myself.
Useful for:
ENA1 - Language & Representation

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