Arizona Congressman calls Black Americans "colored people" on House floor (video)


Not saying it will sway the hegemony one bit, but I am interested in hearing what solutions that people who complain about the status quo will come up with…


Used as an adjective “colored” implies a change from the default state, as in something that was originally white but had color added. This fit into certain white Protestant notions about how dark skin was a mark put by God upon the descendants of Cain. This was one of the many ways racists rationalized chattel slavery.

“People of Color” carries no such implication, since it suggests a state of origin rather than a change.

But really the only part that matters is what dark-skinned people themselves want to be called. “Colored people” hasn’t been the preferred term for generations and anyone who hasn’t been in a coma for the last half century should know that.


Same, here.
And I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to admit I also (cis het white woman here, raised in a very white state) find it confusing sometimes. I’ve made more faux pas than I could describe in a whole thread about such.
But, I will say, I’ve made none of those faux pas as a congressperson. And whenever I made them, I owned up and tried to learn.


I’m a Woman of Color (yep, I said it) and I will respectfully call individuals whatever they wish to be called.

That said, I am not foolish enough to believe that mere personal preferences alone will sway the masses into being more respectful or humane…


It’s really not.

In all my life I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single person accidentally use the phrase “American United States” instead of “United States of America.”


Dean Winchester Reaction GIF

(Not meaning to diminish the convo, but you did make me laugh)


No ‘diminishment’ taken here; if we don’t laugh, we will surely cry.


You are too kind, m’lady.
And, to be clear for other readers, when I said above I wasn’t embarrassed to admit my faux pas, I didn’t mean I wasn’t embarrassed in the moment. I was. Sometimes quite horrifyingly so.
We all make mistakes. It’s our reactions to those mistakes that differentiate us.


Yeah, once they give you the hyphen (African-American, Cuban-American, etc) you’re fucked. No German-Americans, no Swedish-Americans. Go figure. loki23


Yeah, this Representative was born in 1980 so it certainly wouldn’t have been the preferred term at any point during his lifetime.

Way back in 1988 there was a Bloom County strip about how the term was painfully out-of-date, at best.


Meme Reaction GIF by Robert E Blackmon


I’d never thought of it this way. It’s an interesting point.

My understanding was that POC was preferred because that term puts the PEOPLE part first. Because the people the most important part to remember


That is also true but not the whole story. For example, saying “Black people” isn’t generally considered offensive the same way “colored people” is, even among people whose preference is “People of Color.”


That too, depends.

Some of us actively don’t want to called Black, while still others don’t want to be called ‘African American.’

Dealing with everyone’s agency respectfully can be hard, but it’s not the impossible feat self serving bigots make it out to be.


In all my life I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single person accidentally use the phrase “American United States” instead of “United States of America.”

Well, no, because one isn’t a phrase that’s used. Both “colored people” and “people of color” are phrases that are used.

No, because not all minorities are dark skinned. And “blank of X” vs “X’d blank” are denotatively the same. “of X” is a way to adjectivize X. The connotation is different because “colored people” has historically been used by white racists.

To varying degrees of specificity: “minority”, “American”, or “[ethnicity]-American”. I realize that some people don’t know their ethnicity to any more specificity than African.

I’m not sure anyone will be happy. Some Native Americans prefer “Native American”, while some Indians prefer “American Indian”. And then you have First Nations, but that doesn’t apply to Inuit, and they will apparently get offended by being called “First Nations”. I find “Colored People” and “People of Color” to be connotatively similar, even if other people don’t.

“Colored People” isn’t a term that has been in common use for generations, certainly not in the lifetime of this congressman. Anyone who pretends otherwise is not arguing in good faith.

I bet that despite everything you’ve written you still understand on an intuitive level why “whitened people” would have a different connotation than the more passive “white people.”


Guy wants “best of the best” in the military, so let’s give him “best of the best”: since the rich are so obviously better than the rest of us, clearly the best way to the best military is to draft the kids of anyone making more than $400k per year (say).


Wow, that’s a rather bleak projection of your own misanthropy, IMO; no one group is a monolith, and there are no absolutes, so that’s quite the defeatist position to take up.

That’s your choice to think so, obviously; especially if you have decided to make that perception into a ‘granite state.’

I concur with Brainspore; “colored people” edged out of general use by most Americans after the 60’s and the apex of the Civil Rights movement.


So, to be clear, as a non-white (assumedly) American minority, your preferred term of address is “minority?”

Just making sure I understand. It’s not a term I would’ve thought of using.


I did say I was non-white. And I prefer American. I did use “minority” twice in what you quoted. But I prefer to say I’m a member of a racial minority over saying a term that smacks of the racist term “colored people”. On further research, it’s not just smacks of:

Free persons of color have never been recognized here as citizens; they are not entitled to bear arms, vote for members of the legislature, or to hold any civil office.

For those that don’t feel like clicking the link, that’s the first sentence from a Georgia Supreme Court opinion from 1848. “Person of Color” is just as racistly born a phrase as “colored person”.

Do I know a better term to use? Not one that I’m sure I could convince other people to use. But I don’t need to have a better term to be able to say that the one we use isn’t right.

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