I thought I’d help some of my dear virtual friends out. See, not everyone has encounters with black people believe it or not. There have been times where I’ve found myself as the first black person someone has talked to. And many times where I’ve found out I was “the black friend”… Oy.
Now we all should know ignorance isn’t bliss, not when it comes to this, and there have been times I’ve been called things that make me think Oh no s/he didn’t. Bless their heart.
So if you’ve never met a black person before, or just never known what to call one (you’d be surprised how many times I get asked this question) here’s a little education for you. Personally, I don’t like to be called any of these things by anyone, regardless of race (yes, even if you too are black.) These are things I (or my daughter) have been called that we shouldn’t have.
1. Nig**: Whether this has an “a” on the end or not, it’s not ok to call a black person this. Consider yourself warned.
2. Negro: Once again, something that doesn’t sit well with me. Don’t use this term to identify a black person. This aint the 1950s.
3. Colored: Read above.
4. Uncle Tom: *Deep breath* Just because someone doesn’t fall into a stereotypical roles media and others portray of blacks, doesn’t mean they are a “sell out.”
5. Mutt: A person of mixed race shouldn’t be compared to a mix-breed dog.
6. “My Black Friend”: You don’t know how many times I’ve heard something to the effect of “well I’m not a racist, I have a black friend…” Maybe you’re not a racist, but I wouldn’t admit you only have one black friend. No one really wants to be your token.
The happier news: If my race should be identified I prefer to be called “black.” It’s ok to call me black. I actually tend to prefer it over “African American” because if a white person from South Africa moved to the US, they wouldn’t be called African American. And if you met a Canadian black man, you shouldn’t call him African American because he isn’t African nor American.
Note: These opinions vary from black person to black person, but generally, most people don’t like being called what’s on the above list.