To refer to a black man as a black man

(575 Posts)
ShakeRattleNRoll Thu 03-Oct-13 23:55:19

The other day i was talking about this black man who lives down the road to a neighbour and she said it was politically incorrect of me to say 'you know that black man who lives there' after I had said it.I thought well i never.What's wrong with calling him a black man when he is a black man? How should have I described him? TYIA

Person of colour is correct at the moment

GangstersLoveToDance Thu 03-Oct-13 23:57:13

Person of colour? Seriously?

Opalite Thu 03-Oct-13 23:57:56

I am pretty much certain that black is correct, other terms such as 'coloured' can be offensive and considered a bit silly/ignorant by some

AmberLeaf Thu 03-Oct-13 23:58:11

person of colour? at the moment? says who?

OP, you could have said the man that lives down the road? what were you saying about him anyway, whatever you were talking about surely would have been enough to mention? was his colour relevant to the conversation?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 03-Oct-13 23:59:43

YABU if there was no need to say he was Black. Nothing to do with 'person of colour' which I think is American anyway.

It's nothing to do with phrases being trendy or not, just whether you needed to refer to him as black.

GangstersLoveToDance Fri 04-Oct-13 00:00:43

I'm assuming that being black would have been his most different/distinguishing feature?

The op would hardly have used 'the black man...' as a description if there were multiple black men around.

thebody Fri 04-Oct-13 00:00:51

person of colour. okayyyy

ShakeRattleNRoll Fri 04-Oct-13 00:02:04

well as he has been the only black man to live in that street for twenty years i thought it was a good way of describing when i was talking about him in passing.I thought what a load of old cobblers my neighbour said 'i would not say that WHITE BLOKE' confused.I think I might ask him and see what he prefers

DaleyBump Fri 04-Oct-13 00:02:29

"Person of colour" is actually really un-pc because technically we're all colours. Black is the correct term.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 04-Oct-13 00:02:51

the guy who lives at number 22, the one who is a fireman, the one who drives a porche

i am sure there was some other way to let her know who you were talking about

ShakeRattleNRoll Fri 04-Oct-13 00:03:07

I had given the black man a present and I wanted to tell my neighbour about it

5Foot5 Fri 04-Oct-13 00:03:16

Person of colour is correct at the moment

Is it? I haven't heard anyone say that. I just wondered whether it was at all relevant to talk about "that black man". If he wasn't black (or of colour or whatever) how would you have described him? That man at number 6. X's Dad. The man with the Volvo.

Maybe your friend thinks it is politically incorrect that the first thing you think of to identify him is the colour of his skin.

If you were trying to distinguish him from others and using his colour was the only thing you could mention, I see no issue. In that context it's the same as "you know that blond girl"

My best friend is black with mixed race children and she has never objected to people calling her black.

Her child however got called a "nasty mixed breed cunt"....

Now THAT is racist shock

GangstersLoveToDance Fri 04-Oct-13 00:04:08

Why on earth would you hunt around for another description if 'black' is easier? It's not a dirty word hmm

5Foot5 Fri 04-Oct-13 00:04:12

Pretty much X-post with FreudianSlipper!

skyeskyeskye Fri 04-Oct-13 00:04:52

I would say black as a descriptive word in the way that you might say tall, blonde, large, ginger, or whatever term best described the person. Some people will always find offence no matter what you say.

BiBiBroccoli Fri 04-Oct-13 00:06:02

ooh no, not person of colour! Hideous expression IMO.

Fine to describe someone as a black man, no different to referring to any other physical attributes. It actually drives me slightly mad when people will describe everything but a skin colour 'ooh, you know Sandra, she wears that blue coat, and has short hair, used to drive an Audi, has purple curtains, likes scarves' etc etc etc, anything to avoid saying that Sandra is black/white/asian whatever.

RoadToTuapeka Fri 04-Oct-13 00:06:18

When I was working in a London local authority (only left in Jan this year) there was an officially set up BME group (black and ethnic minority) group, and in our reports eg to full Council etc, we had to include a section on impacts on BME groups. Hence I would use the term black person as a non-offensive descriptive term if necessary but only if it was an essential descriptive term (ie couldn't use another signifier such that tall man in the blue shirt); after all I don't say oh look at that white lady's lovely dress etc.

ShakeRattleNRoll Fri 04-Oct-13 00:07:09

well i couldn't guess what he was wearing because I hadn't seen him and i didn't know the number to the house and i don't think he's a fireman but he's most probably hung like one judging by his size.I could have mentioned his transport .I wasn't being racist thats for sure because i'm not a racist.The proof was in the pudding after I gave him a present.

MardyBra Fri 04-Oct-13 00:07:26

It's tricky isn't it. You could have spent ages skirting around the issue, saying things like " the bloke with the brown scarf" or "the man who puts his wheely bin out really early" but those wouldn't give much of a clue.

I think the issue is whether it is a distinguishing feature. So you'd say the black man, the woman with red hair, the older man with the dog, etc if you were trying to distinguish from others living in the street.

If you were just telling an anecdote and happened to mention someone's race, then it is not acceptable. So, in the example, "I was on the bus, and a black man got on and started to... (whatever)", then it's not right to mention the person's race unless it was specifically relevant.

MardyBra Fri 04-Oct-13 00:08:02

x posted with loads of people

RoadToTuapeka Fri 04-Oct-13 00:08:41

Oops should be minority ethnic groups not ethnic minority.

I personally believe if my group of friends were out and about (and my friend is the only black one)...we're all women of a similar age, shape etc....

I think she'd be more pissed at someone trying really hard NOT to say black.

We had some Jehovah's Witness people come round the other day and previously my friend had answered the door...trying to listen to them say every other describing word for the person who answered and avoiding black was actually hilarious. "Your friend answered last time....female...pretty....tall...athletic..." you could see them squirming...we just said "what the black one??"

AmberLeaf Fri 04-Oct-13 00:08:51

I had given the black man a present and I wanted to tell my neighbour about it

Is that all he is? the black man?

If you had given him a present then surely you know enough about him to describe him without having to mention his colour.

my neighbour said 'i would not say that WHITE BLOKE

She's right, you wouldn't would you?

Why ask him? it isn't really about whether or not he prefers being called black, it is the fact that his colour is the only thing you chose to describe him.

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