/ Abbots and Rudd - labelling ethnicity

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Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019

Genuine question:

Why specifically is the term "coloured" offensive?

What is the correct term of address?

Listening to J Vine today and this cropped up

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2019/mar/07/amber-rudd-refers-to-diane-abbott-as-coloured-during-interview-audio

plyometrics - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Personally, I’ve always taken the word “coloured” to be offensive in that context; due to its historic, pejorative, use.

Confusingly, perhaps, the term “women of colour” is, seemingly, acceptable. 

Post edited at 17:05
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Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

It was a pejorative term used in Southern US states during segregation. 

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Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to plyometrics:

Given that Amber Rudd was attempting to defend Diane Abbots. What was it specifically about the word colour that you found offensive? (Stuart has supplied an answer in his post which makes sense)

I ask as I remember when "Coloured" was suposedly the prefered word, having recently replaced "black" which had previously replaced the "N-word". Is there an under lying reason other than a shift in gramatical usage?

Post edited at 17:11
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Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

Ah now that makes more sense to me.

plyometrics - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Good question. I suppose it was a natural reaction. However, I am more than happy to accept that AR hadn’t intended it to be offensive. 

Post edited at 17:13
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Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

It's OK to call someone who is black, black. 

Martin W on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

You might want to reflect on the offence that might be caused by repeatedly getting wrong the surname of one of the key individuals (a well-known public figure to boot) involved.

nniff - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> It's OK to call someone who is black, black. 

That, I get.  What I don't then understand is how I should refer to someone to is, without getting too bogged down in all this, brown/less black/not  the same colour as me (which varies between bright red and a disconcerting pale blue).  I have a half-Japanese foster son (he's nearly 28 now) and as a family we don't have any sensitivity to this whatsoever (in the offence-taking sense) and rather have fun with the confusion that we can cause in many different directions.  What is even more bizarre is when someone says that they can see the resemblance between him and our other son, also 28, to which they both say "no you xxxxxxx can't" - it's almost as if people are being overtly blind to the differences

Post edited at 17:30
Tom V - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

Not necessarily pejorative, if you take segregation to cover a period including the start of the 20th century, otherwise a civil rights group such as the NAACP wouldn't have chosen it as part of their name, as I have implied elsewhere.

1
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin W:

Is it Rudde?

In answer I frequently get names wrong as they are not corrected by my spell checker.

Post edited at 17:39
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Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to nniff:

Interesting point. In America they use the term Asian to mean of Japanese, Chinese, etc. descent while in the UK the same term refers generally to people from India, Pakistan etc.

summo on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

If Abbott was being defended, she should have been grateful, then off air she could have said I prefer the term xxxxxx when being spoken about. Professional, polite and no political point scoring, that is how you earn respect and credibility. 

Post edited at 17:43
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Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> Not necessarily pejorative, if you take segregation to cover a period including the start of the 20th century, otherwise a civil rights group such as the NAACP wouldn't have chosen it as part of their name, as I have implied elsewhere.

Expressly pejorative. NAACP still use the term within their organisation's name out of tradition. It's not an endorsement for any future use. 

Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> If Abbott was being defended, she should have been grateful, then off air she could have said I prefer the term xxxxxx when being spoken about. Professional, polite and no political point scoring, that is how you earn respect and credibility. 

A professional politician should probably have known not to use the term in the first place. She got called out for it (rightly). 

I do applaud AR for her sentiment though. 

6
pec on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> If Abbott was being defended, she should have been grateful, then off air she could have said I prefer the term xxxxxx when being spoken about. Professional, polite and no political point scoring, that is how you earn respect and credibility. 


Indeed, that was my thought when I heard the story.

I grew up thinking "coloured" was the polite term for the reasons given above by Duncan Bourne. I can't remember when I discovered that wasn't so and I don't recall how long it took me to get into the habit of using "black" instead. I don't think I'd relapse these days but I couldn't totally rule out the possibility of a slip up, if I did I'd be genuinely sorry but rather less so towards anyone howling me down from their politically correct hobby horse.

For Dianne Abbot to do so with her history of offensive comments on the issue of race makes me rather less sympathetic towards her for the abuse she gets even though a lot of it is unjustified.

7
Pan Ron - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> It was a pejorative term used in Southern US states during segregation. 

But an entirely acceptable term in South Africa (meaning of white and black parentage).

3
Tom V - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

Presumably it wasn't pejorative when the organisation was formed, I meant. And as Pec says, it wasn't pejorative in 60's UK when generations of schoolkids were taught by their parents, teachers and the media that it was the polite way to describe a black person

Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> But an entirely acceptable term in South Africa (meaning of white and black parentage).

Are you looking for justification? Because there is an obvious flaw in your statement (claim). Acceptable if you're of mixed parentage, which isn't what is being discussed. We have a term for that too. The 'rules' really aren't difficult. 

2
Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> Presumably it wasn't pejorative when the organisation was formed, I meant.

Fair enough, though I suspect at the time black people actually having the courage to form the organisation, had to be done with baby steps. 

> And as Pec says, it wasn't pejorative in 60's UK when generations of schoolkids were taught by their parents, teachers and the media that it was the polite way to describe a black person

Again I'd make an argument that black people being at a massive disadvantage quite probably didn't feel up to the fight. 

Post edited at 18:44
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nniff - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> Are you looking for justification? Because there is an obvious flaw in your statement (claim). Acceptable if you're of mixed parentage, which isn't what is being discussed. We have a term for that too. The 'rules' really aren't difficult. 

I'm not sure that that is the case -  I, personally, have no idea what the correct way is to describe my foster son without a prior knowledge of his ethic composition which would allow a factually correct description.  Curiously, I am reluctant to post how we (which includes him) describe him because someone might take offence, which is bloody ridiculous.  If you didn't pick up from an earlier post, he is half-Japanese.

PS - our family WhatsApp group is  called 'Famaree wassap' - he set that up.  

Post edited at 18:57
MonkeyPuzzle - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I'm sure part of it is it meaning "non-white", as opposed to specifically "black", which evokes all kinds of stuff. Cue Benjamin Zefaniah in 3.. 2.. 1..

Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

God I realise that I am now one of those "Old People" who uses offensive terminology without even knowing it

krikoman - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> If Abbott was being defended, she should have been grateful, then off air she could have said I prefer the term xxxxxx when being spoken about. Professional, polite and no political point scoring, that is how you earn respect and credibility. 


And how would this have helped in the discussion of the subject, or in educating people who don't know the difference?

5
Y Gribin - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> But an entirely acceptable term in South Africa (meaning of white and black parentage).

It is an acceptable term in South Africa but its definition is more complicated (and more unique to southern Africa) than “of white and black parentage”. 

summo on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> And how would this have helped in the discussion of the subject, or in educating people who don't know the difference?

Are you suggesting the Labour party is currently in the right place to start preaching to others in how you treat and speak to minorities of any type? They called for the closure of the very commission that investigates these things. 

On national womens day, you'd think they could take a united front. I suspect the queue of female tory mps willing to support Abbot just got rapidly much shorter. 

Post edited at 19:58
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Yanis Nayu - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Martin W:

You’d have to be abnormally sensitive to be offended by that. Unless of course you were looking for reasons to be offended. 

4
FactorXXX - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> You’d have to be abnormally sensitive to be offended by that. Unless of course you were looking for reasons to be offended. 

As Ian Jury famously didn't say: Reasons To Be Offended Part 3.

1
Yanis Nayu - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

If the obvious flaw is that we are not in South Africa, neither are we in America but we seem happy to adopt their reasoning for taking offence, even though it’s not part of our history. 

5
Pbob on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I'm in my mid forties and I was taught by my mother that the term 'black' was offensive and should be replaced by the word 'coloured'. She was liberal and I always thought enlightened. It came as a nasty shock to be called offensive for using the wrong term.

Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> If the obvious flaw is that we are not in South Africa,

No. The obvious flaw is we're not talking about mixed race/coloured. 

> neither are we in America but we seem happy to adopt their reasoning for taking offence, even though it’s not part of our history. 

Pretty sure we have enough of our own history. 

Again, it's really simple - black would have been the correct term  

1
Timmd on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> If Abbott was being defended, she should have been grateful, then off air she could have said I prefer the term xxxxxx when being spoken about. Professional, polite and no political point scoring, that is how you earn respect and credibility. 

I'm somewhere in the middle, if the roots of 'coloured' is in American racism, I think she was right to say that it wasn't the right term to use in public, but I also think it was unfair and (possibly) opportunistic of her to talk about it being 'revealing' of Amber Rudd when Amber Rudd was using it while being an ally of Diane Abbot.

She was right to mention it but wrong to (possibly) make political capital out of it basically.

Post edited at 21:06
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Timmd on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to plyometrics:

> Personally, I’ve always taken the word “coloured” to be offensive in that context; due to its historic, pejorative, use.

> Confusingly, perhaps, the term “women of colour” is, seemingly, acceptable. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/black-women-people-of-colour-racism-beyonce-coachella-black-lives-matter-a8316561.html

Except that this black woman doesn't like the term 'people of colour'. Referring to people's ethnicity directly would seem to be the best thing to do, or 'people from ethnic minorities like X person' if one is unsure I guess.

Post edited at 21:06
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MonkeyPuzzle - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Hands up everyone who replied to the effect of "how can anyone be offended by that?" who is also black.

plyometrics - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Timmd:

Well if Beyoncé says so... ;o)

Conversely, Alesha Dixon appears to be happy using it:

https://tv.bt.com/tv/tv-news/alesha-dixon-people-said-mis-teeq-would-not-be-put-on-magazine-covers-11364343666968

I’ve no idea who’s correct...

Post edited at 21:33
Timmd on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to plyometrics:

> Well if Beyoncé says so... ;o)

Her opinion is as valid as any other black woman's I would have thought? ;-) 

> Conversely, Alesha Dixon appears to be happy using it:

> I’ve no idea who’s correct...

So long as one doesn't say 'coloured' I guess, which has definite roots in racism, being comfortable in mentioning people's races would seem to be a plus. 

3
SenzuBean - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> It's OK to call someone who is black, black.

The thing is though, nobody is actually black. And nobody is actually white. We're all just shades of brown.

Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Pbob:

The trouble is these things shift over time. What was OK at one time becomes offensive.

Crippled was a normal term which became offensive, then Handicapped was used which became offensive, then disabled replaced that and i now believe it is differently abled.

1
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

It was interesting how many black people came on the programme to say that they weren't offended, and was matched by those who were.

I think it must be a generational thing

Wanderer100 - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> So long as one doesn't say 'coloured' I guess, which has definite roots in racism, being comfortable in mentioning people's races would seem to be a plus. 

How does that work?

That African person?

That Asian person ?

That Arabian person? 

Race - noun. a group of people of common ancestry, distinguished from others by physical characteristics, such as hair type, colour of eyes and skin, stature, etc. Principal races are Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid.

Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to SenzuBean:

Would "Dark" be preferable? If you were to point out someone in a crowd how would you describe them? People use words as short cuts to description so for instance in Asia I was "The American looking guy" or the "Westerner" or "White tourist type". I don't think there is anything wrong in trying to find out how people want to be described though

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Tom V - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

You can use the word "crips " now.

I think.

Or maybe it's just another example of people "reclaiming" language for use by a select group

2
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> So long as one doesn't say 'coloured' I guess, which has definite roots in racism, being comfortable in mentioning people's races would seem to be a plus. 

I agree with you. But does coloured have definite roots in racism? I ask because it was drummed into me working in the 70's and 80's that coloured was the correct term to use so as not to give offence.

These things change with time depending on the changing context of their use

1
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

Language does get reclaimed. Mostly for uses as you say by select groups.

Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> The trouble is these things shift over time. What was OK at one time becomes offensive.

I'm 50 so grew up in the same time frame as you (I think). Maybe it wasn't OK for some things to be said, it just took time for those doing the calling to realise it, and for those on the receiving end of it, it took time for them to actually say no, it's not OK. 

The easiest way to avoid what some people perceive as a minefield is to avoid it altogether - ask the person their name. 

> Crippled was a normal term which became offensive, then Handicapped was used which became offensive, then disabled replaced that and i now believe it is differently abled.

Some of this might be (and I'm hazarding a guess here) to do with repositioning a name or a title or whatever, to something else because the original intention or meaning gets hijacked. Spastic Society springs to mind. Through no fault of their own, that word has too much baggage. Wish I could have a word with my pre-teen self! 

Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Timmd:

 >Referring to people's ethnicity directly would seem to be the best thing to do, or 'people from ethnic minorities like X person' if one is unsure I guess.

Except I believe that people born and bred in this country and others don't like the term African... as it sets them apart from the country they are from and implies that they do not belong. Conversly the oppisite seems to be the case for British Asian, perhaps because the term British comes first.

I wonder how long it takes before people just become English, Scottish, British or whatever without a qualifier. I mean no body calls themselves Romano-british or Celtic-british anymore (though I know a few who say they are Viking first)

Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to SenzuBean:

> The thing is though, nobody is actually black. And nobody is actually white. We're all just shades of brown.

Please say that to the next black person you meet and report back. 

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Duncan Bourne - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

I agree ask their name. Though how that works if you want to say to someone "That's Tom over there, the tall one, no the other tall one, the one with short hair, yes I know they both have short hair, in the white coat, yes they both have white coats, ok the one who isn't white."

I agree useful terms can get hijacked and cease to be useful

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Stuart (aka brt) - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> I agree ask their name. Though how that works if you want to say to someone "That's Tom over there, the tall one, no the other tall one, the one with short hair, yes I know they both have short hair, in the white coat, yes they both have white coats, ok the one who isn't white."

Yeah, there are those occasions! For me I wouldn't hesitate, since we're talking about black as a descriptor, to say 'Tom, he's the black guy'. No need to fudge it or feel embarrassed. 

> I agree useful terms can get hijacked and cease to be useful

Absolutely. There's enough stuff about diversity for people to know how not to get caught out or cause unintended offence. I just try to keep in mind that a lot of stuff like this doesn't directly effect me, but it definitely affects some people in some really rotten ways. 

1
Wicamoi on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> Again, it's really simple - black would have been the correct term  

I too would have naturally said "black".... but it really isn't that simple, Stuart. If it was, the many well-meaning people on here wouldn't be so confused. Language is complicated and its nuances are now no longer local and immediate but shared, patchily, across space and time. People now communicate with others as freely as if they lived next door, even though they have highly diverse linguistic histories. Add to this that all of us are capable of exploiting the consequent dissonance for our own ends, and you end up with the tragedy of etiquette defeating itself. 

I think it behoves us all try to understand what people intend with their words and not to focus on what we consider to be their poor choices of terminology. 

Timmd on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Wanderer100:

> How does that work?

> That African person?

> That Asian person ?

> That Arabian person? 

> Race - noun. a group of people of common ancestry, distinguished from others by physical characteristics, such as hair type, colour of eyes and skin, stature, etc. Principal races are Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid.

In the context of this thread, something along the lines of 'such as the abuse black women like Diane Abbot can receive' I would have thought?

Post edited at 23:40
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Timmd on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> I agree with you. But does coloured have definite roots in racism? I ask because it was drummed into me working in the 70's and 80's that coloured was the correct term to use so as not to give offence.

> These things change with time depending on the changing context of their use

Going on this, it would appear that it does have definite racist era - American roots.

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/30999175/warning-why-using-the-term-coloured-is-offensive

''In the UK the term is, at best, seen as old fashioned and "something your gran might say". But it's also regarded as a highly offensive racial slur which recalls a time when casual racism was a part of everyday life. In the US, because of the country's recent era of racial segregation, it is among the most offensive words for describing a black person. "[It] was used to describe anybody who was not white, which may imply that to be white is 'normal' or default," says the charity Show Racism the Red Card. "If we consider it, every human has a skin colour, so technically we are all coloured." ''

''Historically, the word is associated with segregation, especially in the US, where black people where kept separate from white people - on public transport, or at drinking fountains which were described as "coloured-only" for example.''

Post edited at 23:41
Ridge - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> You can use the word "crips " now.

The “bloods” won't like that.

Bobling - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

God it's a minefield.  I was enlightened the other day at a training session to find that the term 'mixed race' is now offensive.  I have since corrected my wife a couple of times when she has used the wrong terminology to describe herself or our children, but we're getting there.

Seriously though is the simple solution just to not describe people by their skin colour? 

baron - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

A friend of mine posted a photo on Facebook of his junior school class.

The photo was taken in 1950 and he wanted to know the names of his classmates as he’d forgotten many of them.

People responded by giving a name and the child’s location e.g. Billy Ramsbotham third from the left on the front row.

 One of the few children that they couldn’t name was the only black child in the class of 30.

They wondered who the kid with glasses was and the kid with big ears and the kid with crooked teeth but not the black kid.

He was never described as the black kid but always  the kid second from the right on the back row.

He stood out a mile because of the colour of his skin yet nobody felt comfortable describing him by this most obvious of characteristics.

That’s a measure of how confused people are about the ‘correct ‘ term to use when describing a’person of colour ‘ and how afraid they are of not using the currently accepted word and being called a racist.

How did we arrive at such a position?

ena sharples - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:So I take it the terms n....r and c..n are definitely out then?

2
SenzuBean - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> Would "Dark" be preferable? If you were to point out someone in a crowd how would you describe them? People use words as short cuts to description so for instance in Asia I was "The American looking guy" or the "Westerner" or "White tourist type". I don't think there is anything wrong in trying to find out how people want to be described though

'Darker', perhaps, or pale.
I think it wouldn't be a problem if 'black and white' wasn't a shorthand for either morality or duality, but it is, and I think this association subconsciously bleeds through for some people and colours (pun not intended) their judgement.

SenzuBean - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> Please say that to the next black person you meet and report back. 

All I'm saying is that if you look in a mirror, we're a pinky-beige colour, and we should start accepting that ;)

Stuart (aka brt) - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to baron:

> A friend of mine posted a photo on Facebook of his junior school class.

> The photo was taken in 1950 and he wanted to know the names of his classmates as he’d forgotten many of them.

> People responded by giving a name and the child’s location e.g. Billy Ramsbotham third from the left on the front row.

>  One of the few children that they couldn’t name was the only black child in the class of 30.

> They wondered who the kid with glasses was and the kid with big ears and the kid with crooked teeth but not the black kid.

> He was never described as the black kid but always  the kid second from the right on the back row.

> He stood out a mile because of the colour of his skin yet nobody felt comfortable describing him by this most obvious of characteristics.

> That’s a measure of how confused people are about the ‘correct ‘ term to use when describing a’person of colour ‘ and how afraid they are of not using the currently accepted word and being called a racist.

> How did we arrive at such a position?

The mass transportation of people from their homes to another country for slavery would be the obvious answer. And that's not intended to have a pop at you baron. 

It's worth being mindful of the why though. Colour was used as a way to denote different from white, and white was the default 'best' colour which meant black or coloured became something lesser. That still resonates today. 

Duncan Bourne - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to SenzuBean:

I know what you are saying but it is hard to escape that when using light or dark words. In fact black is probably the least with "dark" connotations. Think "Dark" Lord, the forces of "Light" and "Dark" are terms very much ingrained in our mythologies

Post edited at 07:21
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> Going on this, it would appear that it does have definite racist era - American roots.

> ''In the UK the term is, at best, seen as old fashioned and "something your gran might say". But it's also regarded as a highly offensive racial slur which recalls a time when casual racism was a part of everyday life.

Very true but now that I am old enough to be someones Grandad I realise that I am capable of making the same mistakes my parents and grandparents did when they used the words "n***r" (my Gran had a dog with that name) and c**n. I even remember pulling my parents up in the 80's for calling someone black saying "You can't say that you have to say coloured, saying that they are black is rude". Now it has all changed, for the better I believe. Black culture is Black culture not coloured culture.

Jon Greengrass on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Persons who are discriminated against on the basis of their appearance.

because prejudice is inherent when we identify an individual or group by their appearance.

RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> Genuine question:

> Why specifically is the term "coloured" offensive?

> What is the correct term of address?

Do we need to address people by their ethnicity at all ? I mean it is useless information but unfortunately the brain never ignores it.

As soon as someone’s ethnicity is mentioned immediately our brain are building a picture of that person based on prejudices we have about that ethnicity. We can’t help it.

Post edited at 08:02
Robert Durran - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Do we need to address people by their ethnicity at all ?

It is not a matter of addressing, but how to refer to it.

Wanderer100 - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Timmd:

You said "being comfortable mentioning people's race would seem to be a plus". I asked how does that work?  Your answer avoids the question. How does mentioning people's race be seen as a plus, in the context of this thread or otherwise. 

BTW being black doesn't define someone's race. 

Duncan Bourne - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Do we need to address people by their ethnicity at all ? I mean it is useless information but unfortunately the brain never ignores it.

I think there are times when you would have to. You couldn't simply say "There are this group of people who suffer greater discrimination than others" without a clarifier. Ethnicity is a useful way of describing someone so Asian would be distinct from African, which would be different from Chinese or Tibetan. It is only a problem if an ethnicity is regarded as a marker for inferiority

Pan Ron - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> Are you looking for justification?

No. Just saying it's not an intrinsically offensive term.  Unless you're looking to be offended.

Tom V - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> "something your gran might say".

It wasn't just my gran or my mum.

It was my teachers, my newsreaders, my documentary makers and my dictionary. 

Sometimes when you learn something in good faith it's difficult to unlearn.

Post edited at 09:21
Jamie Wakeham - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Language changes over time.  What is offensive changes over time.  I think that it's up to a given group to decide how they want to be referred to, and that too can change over time.  Look at how the LGBT+ community has reclaimed the word queer and invested a certain pride (no pun intended) in it.  It's not like these shifts happen overnight - they take years and years.

Having said that, I not at all surprised that there are plenty of people who, when asked to describe a black person, might still say 'coloured'.  If they then clapped their hands over their mouth and said "ohmygod I meant 'black'" then, in the grand scheme of things, no harm done.  OTOH if they know full well that this term is no longer regarded as acceptable, but refuse to change their language, then I would have a problem.

BUT - we're not talking about a random person on the street here.  We're talking about Amber Rudd - a professional politician - someone whose job, in part, is talking about difficult subjects to an audience.  She was on the radio specifically to talk about the abuse of women in politics and chose, herself, to bring up Diane Abbott.  The topic wasn't sprung on her.  She will have practised these answers, with a team of professional advisers.  It seems almost inconceivable to me that she could make such a slip. 

It does matter what words politicians choose.  An awful lot of people take their lead from them.  There are now people criticising Abbott for her criticism of Rudd.  The Alf Garnetts of the country now feel just a little more empowered to call the next black person they interact with 'coloured'.

2
birdie num num - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

PC was much easier to navigate in the old nigger/honky days

5
summo on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

The problem is if what is acceptable changes with time, where do you go to see what is currently approved? 

What a young hip person now thinks they have reclaimed, a 50 or 60 year old might still feel is derogatory?

Rudd spoke with good intentions, on Abbots behalf and got fried. She was defending or supporting Abbot, so clearly whatever word she decided to use would never have been meant in a derogatory manner. 

Despite two female pms, UK politics and certainly the Labour party are men's worlds. On international women's day Abbot should have been strong enough to rise above it, building bridges and gaining allies in Westminster is arguably more important than 48hrs of point scoring. 

Dr.S at work - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

In terms of knowing what is currently ok to say - is their a list? Who regulates it? Can I get regular WhatsApp updates?

2
RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It is not a matter of addressing, but how to refer to it.

We probably refer to it more often than needed even though it pretty much doesn’t matter in most areas of life. 

As soon as you start referring to people or group of people by their race or ethnicity, even when it’s well intentioned, it just leads people to see false patterns, and to make bad comparisons.

Even though information about someone or a group ethnicity is completely sterile and useless 99% of the time, our brains seem to be incapable of ignoring it.

This is valid both for the identitarians and diversitymongers, they create fake categories that put people into boxes and ultimately leads to stereotyping and prejudice.

There is a very simple solution to the “how do I refer to someone”.  Simply use their names and ignore completely their ethnicity. It’s no more relevant than the size of their feet or nose.

It’s a circular thing, the more we discuss endlessly these irrelevant characteristics or how to refer to them, the more they become wrongly important, and the more we see false patterns, and the more they lead to errors.

Post edited at 11:18
Jamie Wakeham - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Dr.S at work:

Where's the official list held? I dunno. But then, I seem to have managed to keep abreast of it, and I'm not a career politician with a dedicated team of advisers. 

1
RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Dr.S at work:

> In terms of knowing what is currently ok to say - is their a list? Who regulates it? Can I get regular WhatsApp updates?

Just don’t bother mentioning people’s race. This way you eliminate the problem. It’s completely useless information anyway.

If I need to address or refer to someone I don’t usually need to refer to their shoe size (unless maybe I’m buying shoes for them !), the same should go for race or ethnicity.

Duncan Bourne - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> There is a very simple solution to the “how do I refer to someone”.  Simply use their names and ignore completely their ethnicity. It’s no more relevant than the size of their feet or nose.

If you don't know their name or do but are describing them to someone who doesn't know them or wish to make a general comment about prejudice. How do you go about it? There are times when you will need to generalise or describe someone in a succinct manner.

So for instance you could say "Diane Abbott and other women who look like her", but that actually sounds worse whereas "black women" or "Women of colour" makes the meaning clear

Post edited at 11:37
RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> If you don't know their name or do but are describing them to someone who doesn't know them or wish to make a general comment about prejudice. How do you go about it? There are times when you will need to generalise or describe someone in a succinct manner.

How often do you need to make a general comment about people who have a show size 10 ? Do you need a special word for it ? Do you need to obsess about it ?

No.

Well race is no more relevant than shoe size. If you tell me someone is black I have no more useful information than if I knew they were shoe size 10. Possibly less.

> So for instance you could say "Diane Abbott and other women who look like her", but that actually sounds worse whereas "black women" or "Women of colour" makes the meaning clear

Why would you need to refer to “women of colour” in the vast majority of situations ? I don’t need a special word or need to pay special attention to how I call people with shoe size 10. The same should go for race because it’s pretty much as irrelevant (if not more !), but clearly we have a problem with that.

In very very rare situations I might need to describe a person’s skin colour, maybe if I need to buy make up for them, i don’t know, in which case I’ll just use the words we have for colours ! Simples.

Post edited at 11:54
6
FactorXXX - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> In very very rare situations I might need to describe a person’s skin colour, maybe if I need to buy make up for them, i don’t know, in which case I’ll just use the words we have for colours ! Simples.

The reason why Rudd needed to use skin colour as an identifier was because skin colour was one of the characteristics that was used to abuse Abbott on social media.
Therefore, it would have been very difficult for Rudd to approach the subject without mentioning skin colour.
Quite simple really... 

Dave Garnett - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Why would you need to refer to “women of colour” in the vast majority of situations ? I don’t need a special word or need to pay special attention to how I call people with shoe size 10. The same should go for race because it’s pretty much as irrelevant (if not more !), but clearly we have a problem with that.

Except that in this case the point Amber Rudd was making was about intersectionality, so Diane Abbott's ethnicity was directly relevant.

I take your general point that it's usually not very important, but I am reminded of how our  black South African friends would laugh at our politically correct white liberal awkwardness and how we would do almost anything to avoid mentioning that someone was black.  As one of them put it 'It's OK, I've already noticed I'm a darkie!"  It's all a question of context and relationships.

Post edited at 12:11
Timmd on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Wanderer100:

> You said "being comfortable mentioning people's race would seem to be a plus". I asked how does that work?  Your answer avoids the question. How does mentioning people's race be seen as a plus, in the context of this thread or otherwise. 

> BTW being black doesn't define someone's race. 

I was posting with this example in mind, where the white people in the office avoided saying 'the black woman'. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/black-women-people-of-colour-racism-beyonce-coachella-black-lives-matter-a8316561.html

I didn't intend to avoid the question...

Post edited at 12:22
Timmd on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> > "something your gran might say".

> It wasn't just my gran or my mum.

> It was my teachers, my newsreaders, my documentary makers and my dictionary. 

> Sometimes when you learn something in good faith it's difficult to unlearn.

Yes indeed, I agree. I remember my late Mum saying 'coloured chaps' during the 90's, and it wouldn't have revealed anything about her other than being out of step with the times (in being white and having close friends of other races). 

Post edited at 12:53
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> How often do you need to make a general comment about people who have a show size 10 ? Do you need a special word for it ? Do you need to obsess about it ?

 How often do you describe someone as having size 10 shoes? How more likely are you to describe someone as having blonde hair, or being tall or having white skin?

> Well race is no more relevant than shoe size. If you tell me someone is black I have no more useful information than if I knew they were shoe size 10. Possibly less.

If race were irrelevant then we wouldn't be having this conversation. If I tell you someone is black you immediately know how others might react to them. For some people race is very relevant to their strength and identity.

> Why would you need to refer to “women of colour” in the vast majority of situations ? I don’t need a special word or need to pay special attention to how I call people with shoe size 10. The same should go for race because it’s pretty much as irrelevant (if not more !), but clearly we have a problem with that.

Evidently people do, Evidently Amber Rudd did and used the wrong term. You may as well say that gender is irrelevant.

> In very very rare situations I might need to describe a person’s skin colour, maybe if I need to buy make up for them, i don’t know, in which case I’ll just use the words we have for colours ! Simples.

I appreciate that you may never have to describe someone thus. But you might think on that by denying people a group identity that they may wish for you are also denying that they have any problems in society

Post edited at 12:36
RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Except that in this case the point Amber Rudd was making was about intersectionality, so Diane Abbott's ethnicity was directly relevant.

Well no it’s not, I don’t see what her race has to do with any of this. And further, the whole concept of intersectionnality is peddled by charlatans and bulkshit vendors who like to categorise people in meaningless groups in order to do rubbish social “science” to preserve their jobs.

> I take your general point that it's usually not very important, but I am reminded of how our  black South African friends would laugh at our politically correct white liberal awkwardness and how we would do almost anything to avoid mentioning that someone was black.  As one of them put it 'It's OK, I've already noticed I'm a darkie!"  It's all a question of context and relationships.

Well the reason they laughed at you is because we are making a big deal if something that’s completely irrelevant. And the awkward white liberal are as much guilty as the identitarians with this. They are both focusing on the wrong thing.

Duncan Bourne - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Well no it’s not, I don’t see what her race has to do with any of this. And further, the whole concept of intersectionnality is peddled by charlatans and bulkshit vendors who like to categorise people in meaningless groups in order to do rubbish social “science” to preserve their jobs.

I actually can not believe that you wrote this.

I agree that in terms of humanity as a whole we are all the same, no more than a set of black or ginger cats and i would also agree that race shouldn't matter. However in terms of society how a person is percieved is of great importance. My friend Karl refers to himself as British Afro-Caribean my friend Yaz calls herself black or Asian. It is evidently important to them as a symbol of their identity.

Post edited at 12:48
Timmd on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> But an entirely acceptable term in South Africa (meaning of white and black parentage).

Asian people as well I thought (in South African apartheid times)...?

Tom V - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

If your cat goes missing it might be useful to mention its colour in any communication seeking its whereabouts.

And imagine as a witness trying to help police track down a suspected criminal. Wilfully avoiding mention of the person's race or skin colour wouldn't be very helpful. Probably a lot more use than shoe size.

Post edited at 13:25
Timmd on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Well no it’s not, I don’t see what her race has to do with any of this. And further, the whole concept of intersectionnality is peddled by charlatans and bulkshit vendors who like to categorise people in meaningless groups in order to do rubbish social “science” to preserve their jobs.

Her race (Diane Abbot's) is relevant because of her receiving racist abuse online, which is what Amber Rudd was talking about, you doofus.   

Post edited at 13:31
RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> I actually can not believe that you wrote this.

> I agree that in terms of humanity as a whole we are all the same, no more than a set of black or ginger cats and i would also agree that race shouldn't matter. However in terms of society how a person is percieved is of great importance. My friend Karl refers to himself as British Afro-Caribean my friend Yaz calls herself black or Asian. It is evidently important to them as a symbol of their identity.

Indeed but that’s my point, we have some kind of psychological problem, as soon as you start paying attention to someone’s ethnicity all sorts of stupid prejudices and stereotypes kick in. 

For example I wasn’t born in the UK but lived in the UK most of my life, I have a British passport, but yet, every time I meet someone new who detects a hint of a foreign accent in my speech they immediately assume I am a tourist, that I am not British, and they immediately start treating me with condescension and judge me based on whatever preconception they have on foreigners. And when they realise I am British and culturally identify as such, they get really confused.

They basically get it completely wrong. It makes me laugh, really, but it’s a good example of why you are better of ignoring completely useless information such as ethnicity or race. It’s sterile information that will lead to errors.

RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> Her race (Diane Abbot's) is relevant because of her receiving racist abuse online, which is what Amber Rudd was talking about, you doofus.   

The problem is not her skin colour, though, It doesn’t matter whether she is black or white or blue, surely the issue is that she received racial abuse.

FactorXXX - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> The problem is not her skin colour, though, It doesn’t matter whether she is black or white or blue, surely the issue is that she received racial abuse.

She receives racial abuse because of her skin colour!

RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> If your cat goes missing it might be useful to mention its colour in any communication seeking its whereabouts.

> And imagine as a witness trying to help police track down a suspected criminal. Wilfully avoiding mention of the person's race or skin colour wouldn't be very helpful. Probably a lot more use than shoe size.

No but ok, nobody is saying that you should never mention someone’s skin colour, simply saying that in most of day to day life this is a completely useless information. We attach too much importance to it, and wrongly apply - consciously or not - stereotypes which end up being wrong.

Tom V - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

I think referring to Rudd's slip of the tongue as "abuse" is unhelpful and likely to have an inflammatory effect if it becomes a widespread accusation.

RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> She receives racial abuse because of her skin colour!

Which highlights the problem, her skin colour is completely irrelevant as to what kind of person she is, and yet those abusing her think she deserves abuse because of it. It’s just stupid.

Post edited at 17:19
FactorXXX - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Which highlights the problem, her skin colour is completely irrelevant as to what kind of person she is, and yet those abusing her think she deserves abuse because of it. It’s just stupid.

Of course it's stupid.
I know that, you know that and most intelligent people know that.
However, there are people who use her skin colour as a means to abuse her and that is what Rudd was addressing.
You can't just say it's stupid and effectively ignore it in some sort of dismissive RomTheBear deceleration. 

RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> I think referring to Rudd's slip of the tongue as "abuse" is unhelpful and likely to have an inflammatory effect if it becomes a widespread accusation.

It’s not abuse, nor a slip of the tongue, it’s just stupid. She said abuse is worse if you are a woman, and worse of you are a “coloured” woman.

What has that to do with anything ? Surely racial abuse is bad regardless of the gender or skin colour of whom it is directed to.

Post edited at 17:34
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

I think it depends on the context. I certainly agree that you shouldn't focus on a persons ethnicity where it is unimportant.

However I would argue that it is far from useless information when talking about the prejudice that some groups suffer or even in describing people.

Again it is context dependant. If someone wanted to meet my friend and I wasn't there I would say that he was Black British Jamaican and an indication of age as that would give them a clear idea of who to look for. If I said he had medium brown skin, short grey hair, broad features etc. that would be good for a novel but not very clear for spotting someone in a crowd.... However.

That is only useful information where he would be a minority. If I was in Jamaica then decribing him as Jamaican would be pointless, but I might well be described as white British and that would be useful.

Of course mistakes will always be made and there are exceptions to the rule. How would you describe someone as Polish looking in the UK for instance and Jamaica is also home to white people who's families have lived there for generations. Inwhich case you would need a qualifier.

I think that certain ethinicities describe a particualr look - Asian, African, Chinese/Japanese, American, Native American, Australian Aboriginal and it can be hard to replace that without getting bogged down in words.

There is also the danger of ignoring someones ethnicity and rendering them invisible

Duncan Bourne - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

Totally agree with you here

Stuart (aka brt) - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> No. Just saying it's not an intrinsically offensive term.  Unless you're looking to be offended.

If quite a lot of the people who you are calling a particular name, are telling you that it has connotations that mean it could be offensive and you still use, it you're just being obtuse at best and wilful at worst.

No one looks to be offended, especially black people who still, statistically, face real obstruction and prejudice. 

1
Tom V - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (akabrt)     

> No one looks to be offended,

Can't agree with that, sorry.

Stuart (aka brt) - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> In reply to Stuart (akabrt)     

> Can't agree with that, sorry.

That's OK. It seems to be the green light for some people to say certain distasteful things of which I'm sure they'll carry on doing. 

RomTheBear on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> I think it depends on the context. I certainly agree that you shouldn't focus on a persons ethnicity where it is unimportant.

> However I would argue that it is far from useless information when talking about the prejudice that some groups suffer or even in describing people.

> Again it is context dependant. If someone wanted to meet my friend and I wasn't there I would say that he was Black British Jamaican and an indication of age as that would give them a clear idea of who to look for. If I said he had medium brown skin, short grey hair, broad features etc. that would be good for a novel but not very clear for spotting someone in a crowd.... However.

> That is only useful information where he would be a minority. If I was in Jamaica then decribing him as Jamaican would be pointless, but I might well be described as white British and that would be useful.

Of course it might makes sense to describe ethnicity or race if you are going to describe the physical appearance of someone.

But such odd trivialities are really not the point I am making all.

The point is that it is sterile information that does more harm than good in most cases. For example when we do blind testing on CVs with fake names on recruiters. They systematically reject more CVs with foreign names.

I bet most of the recruiters don’t have racist views, it’s simply that our brains do not know how to filter useless information. . 

3
FactorXXX - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> That's OK. It seems to be the green light for some people to say certain distasteful things of which I'm sure they'll carry on doing. 

Do you think Abbott was actually offended by Rudd's Coloured comment?
Or, do you think Abbott was *offended* for no other reason than political capital?

Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Do you think Abbott was actually offended by Rudd's Coloured comment?

> Or, do you think Abbott was *offended* for no other reason than political capital?

The answer could be both. Politicians trying to make political capital is part of their job description and we could spend all day going tit for tat with examples I'm sure. 

If you're happy for a senior government minister to use language that is casually racist whether meant or not, then great.

For what it's worth I don't think AR is a rabid racist. But that can't and shouldn't exclude DA from being offended. Not sure if you follow her on Twitter. Even for an MP she gets an inordinate amount of abuse, a lot of it personal. 

Post edited at 08:01
1
MG - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> If you're happy for a senior government minister to use language that is casually racist whether meant or not, then great.

No, but she didn't do that.  She used an somewhat outdated term while actively defending DA against prejudice.  It's clear she had no intent to be racist and there is not evidence she is. Arguing "coloured people" is deeply offensive while the practically identical "people of colour" is just fine is nuts and arbitrary.  It's intent and context that matter.  Was Martin Luther King an offensive racist for talking about negroes?

Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to MG:

> No, but she didn't do that.  She used an somewhat outdated term

So in actual fact she did. 

> while actively defending DA against prejudice.  It's clear she had no intent to be racist and there is not evidence she is.

Not disagreeing. Should she have known better (or her team)? 

> Arguing "coloured people" is deeply offensive while the practically identical "people of colour" is just fine is nuts and arbitrary.  It's intent and context that matter. 

Again, agree. But knowing that a given term is perhaps toxic, should be on a senior politicians radar. 

> Was Martin Luther King an offensive racist for talking about negroes?

A disturbingly stupid thing to say considering you talked about context earlier. 

3
MG - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> So in actual fact she did. 

You seem to be saying outdated=racist.  Weird.

> Again, agree. But knowing that a given term is perhaps toxic, should be on a senior politicians radar.

Possibly, but making and issue out of it is unreasonable. 

> A disturbingly stupid thing to say considering you talked about context earlier. 

How so?  I assume we agree it would be bizarre to claim MLK was a racist, or should't have used that language.

Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to MG:

> You seem to be saying outdated=racist.  Weird.

If you read what I wrote earlier you'd see that isn't what I'm saying. AR, I don't think, was being racist. Still a stupid use of the word for a senior politician to use though. 

> Possibly, but making and issue out of it is unreasonable. 

It's what politicians do. 

> How so?  I assume we agree it would be bizarre to claim MLK was a racist, or should't have used that language.

Bizarre? Yes. Use of that word? It's a word US citizens at the time would have known or used. Context and reason for the use is key.

Why do I think your question was disturbing? Because it's a logic that many racists use to justify their own choice of language. 

1
Wanderer100 - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

I think there's a lot of over egging the pudding going on. Some people seem to embrace the opportunity to be offended.

Duncan Bourne - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

I do take your point.

I think the problem is not that our brains don't know how to filter useless information but rather that they ascribe value judgements to small samples of information. So if we take names, as an example, our brains take shortcuts on what we hear. The names Tom, Shirley, Mohammed, O'Connor, Mugabi, Adolf, Jesus all conjure up different images in our brains depending on our cultural background and how familiar they are to us. It isn't that the information is sterile but that it is incomplete. So I might infer correctly 90% of the time that someone called Shirley was female or that someone called Mohammed was of Islamic heritage. I might also incorrectly ascribe value judgements on someone called Adolf or Jesus based on historical association.

Our brains take shortcuts to information and fill in the blanks where it is missing. How we fill in the blanks depends on background. If your wife ran off with someone called Brian then you might be subconciously adverse the the name Brian, even though your concious mind would know it was silly.

Of course there is a perfectly reasonable evolutionary reason for this. The tiger in the grass hypothesis. If you hear a strange noise in the long grass it might be a deer or a tiger, but only one will get you killed so the brain takes a shortcut to tiger. Meaning n the long run that we are apt to treat the unfamiliar with suspicion on balance.

When it comes to social situations we take clues from what is around us and fill in the blanks with what we've previously filled our minds with.

Duncan Bourne - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Wanderer100:

I have listened to this on the radio a few times and people are very poor at expressing what it is that they are offended about. I am now much more aware based on what people have said on this thread but on the radio people just say "it is offensive" with no qualifier.

It shuts down debate rather than opening it up

Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Wanderer100:

> I think there's a lot of over egging the pudding going on. Some people seem to embrace the opportunity to be offended.

That doesn't take away from the fact some people are into deliberately offending, or that some people might actually be offended. 

Post edited at 10:23
1
Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> It shuts down debate rather than opening it up

Apart from on here it seems  

Post edited at 10:26
1
Yanis Nayu - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

In my opinon offence is something that generates a visceral emotional reaction.  It’s not something whereby somebody goes through a mental checklist to see if any words used are on that list, then if they are become “outraged” and “call out” the person saying them if they, irrespective of intent or context.  This is independent of any actual hurt caused. It comes across to me as a form of bullying.

The list changes and nobody sends a memo round with an updated list. 

It’s a strange way to conduct public discourse. 

One day you’ll say the wrong thing. I wonder how you’ll feel about being publicaly eviscerated (metaphorically speaking) when you do?

nufkin - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

>  Apart from on here it seems

UKC is the last bastion of reason and open-mindedness

Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> In my opinon offence is something that generates a visceral emotional reaction.  It’s not something whereby somebody goes through a mental checklist to see if any words used are on that list, then if they are become “outraged” and “call out” the person saying them if they, irrespective of intent or context.  This is independent of any actual hurt caused. It comes across to me as a form of bullying.

Or maybe DA, as a black woman of however many years old and has had to put up with, and still does to this day, racism on a casual or overt way, is a bit fed up with it. 

> The list changes and nobody sends a memo round with an updated list. 

Nice trivialisation. It's the sort of thing racist people say to excuse their 'misspeak'. 

> It’s a strange way to conduct public discourse. 

It's strange that a senior politician can use a word that probably shouldn't be. Funny old world indeed. 

> One day you’ll say the wrong thing. I wonder how you’ll feel about being publicaly eviscerated (metaphorically speaking) when you do?

I'd possibly conduct myself in much the same way AR has done. And though I'm no fan of her politic persuasion, I think she's conducted herself well in the aftermath. (I also applaud her stance in defending DA in the first place. It is a shame that message has been lost). 

5
Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to nufkin:

> UKC is the last bastion of reason and open-mindedness

I don't know whether to laugh or cry  

1
Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
Dave Garnett - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Which highlights the problem, her skin colour is completely irrelevant as to what kind of person she is, and yet those abusing her think she deserves abuse because of it. It’s just stupid.

Yes, I think that was kind of the point Amber Rudd was making!

Tom V - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

 It is a shame that message has been lost. 

I agree totally. But I think you realise yourself that it's been lost because her "misspeak" is deemed by some to be more important and relevant to her political role than the message she was trying to get across.

Yanis Nayu - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> Or maybe DA, as a black woman of however many years old and has had to put up with, and still does to this day, racism on a casual or overt way, is a bit fed up with it. 

You might well be right. It’s funny though that she chooses to criticise someone attempting to make this point and focusing on a single word. As far as I’ve seen there’s been nothing nuanced in her response acknowledging that AR was trying to support her.

> Nice trivialisation. It's the sort of thing racist people say to excuse their 'misspeak'. 

I’ll ignore your implication that I’m a racist and refer you to the point many people have made above about not knowing what’s right and wrong and how it changes. It’s also clear that black people are not of a mind about what terms should be used.

> It's strange that a senior politician can use a word that probably shouldn't be. Funny old world indeed. 

> I'd possibly conduct myself in much the same way AR has done. And though I'm no fan of her politic persuasion, I think she's conducted herself well in the aftermath. (I also applaud her stance in defending DA in the first place. It is a shame that message has been lost). 

Now I don’t now whether to laugh or cry. Firstly, AR is still getting a load of shit for it. Secondly, that’s the whole point I’m trying to make. 

I’ve always been quite supportive of DA, but her making me feel like I should defend AR is unforgivable...

Duncan Bourne - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

brilliant

Jim Fraser - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> I agree totally. But I think you realise yourself that it's been lost because her "misspeak" is deemed by some to be more important and relevant to her political role than the message she was trying to get across.

We are deprived of a functioning parliamentary opposition by trolls who turn support for the Palestinian cause into a fire-storm about anti-semitism.

Now, there may be an attempt to paralyse an already barely-functioning government by turning the slightest linguistic twist into a racism scandal.

If, even in our dreadfully dysfunctional constitutional settlement, we want properly functioning government, we need to stop falling for this stuff. 

2
RomTheBear on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Yes, I think that was kind of the point Amber Rudd was making!

Unfortunately in doing so she makes exactly the same mistake as the racists she condemn

8
RomTheBear on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> I do take your point.

> I think the problem is not that our brains don't know how to filter useless information but rather that they ascribe value judgements 

> Our brains take shortcuts 

> When it comes to social situations we take clues from what is around us and fill in the blanks with what we've previously filled our minds with.

Indeed, that’s a form of confirmation bias. One way to combat that is by ignoring what is irrelevant as much as possible If you are going to review a pile of CVs, for example, get someone to remove names and gender, and DOB.

Post edited at 16:19
Duncan Bourne - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

I agree. Confirmation bias can be a subtle thing that we are not always aware of

Yanis Nayu - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

Absolute rubbish. You can’t equate someone using an out of favour word in a generallly supportive speech with the intentional and uncontroversially racist abuse that DA often suffers.  

Timmd on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Unfortunately in doing so she makes exactly the same mistake as the racists she condemn

How does she?

Diane Abbot only mentions her race because racists already do. 

I can remember somebody on Question Time speaking up, along the lines that if black people didn't draw attention to their race it wouldn't be (so much of) an issue,  and he had a couple of black audience members point out that the racists already were/are, meaning they need to draw attention to what is happening - that it isn't them making race an issue in the first place. 

Post edited at 18:17
Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> I’ll ignore your implication that I’m a racist and refer you to the point many people have made above about not knowing what’s right and wrong and how it changes. It’s also clear that black people are not of a mind about what terms should be used.

Apologies if you think I was calling you racist. I wasn't. The point is lazily claiming not to know what the current pc term is, is exactly the sort of cover story racists use. To paraphrase Will Self - not all those using the term are racists, but all racists would use that term. And it doesn't matter whether all black people are of one mind. It's not difficult to know what is and isn't OK to say because (mythbuster alert) there is no secret list that gets covertly changed on a daily basis to catch people out. 

> Now I don’t now whether to laugh or cry. Firstly, AR is still getting a load of shit for it. Secondly, that’s the whole point I’m trying to make. 

> I’ve always been quite supportive of DA, but her making me feel like I should defend AR is unforgivable...

I don't disagree with you per se. 

Post edited at 18:18
1
Tom V - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

. It's not difficult to know what is and isn't OK to say 

I don't agree with you there and I'm not just talking about race.

Stuart (aka brt) - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> . It's not difficult to know what is and isn't OK to say 

> I don't agree with you there and I'm not just talking about race.

I usually follow the rule of not saying anything that makes me sound like a hateful dick. Works really well.

Seems to me that a lot of the people claiming to have to walk on linguistic eggshells, are as bad as the snowflakes they so derude. Getting offended about not knowing how not to offend people! Brilliant.

3
Tom V - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

Never used the term snowflake in my life and never taken offence at people who know more about correct teminology than me.

But the opening words of this thread show that there genuinely is a problem with people being unsure about what is/isn't appropriate language use and implying that this is typical racist talk isn't helpful at all.

RomTheBear on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> Absolute rubbish. You can’t equate someone using an out of favour word in a generallly supportive speech with the intentional and uncontroversially racist abuse that DA often suffers.  

Maybe I wasn’t clear, what I am saying is that by defining Diane’s victimhood in terms of her race and gender, Rudd makes a similar mistake as the racist do, she links her race and gender to how Diane should be perceived.

It is well intentioned but nevertheless is perpetuates this mistake that people do, they look at someone’s race and use this as if it was relevant information.

The racist will say, because she is black she deserves abuse, the prejudicedtarian will say, because she is black she deserves extra empathy.

I still prefer those who say the latter because at least they are well intentioned and do less immediate damage, however they are both wrong to treat someone differently because of their race.

What’s bad is that Dianne Abbot received racial abuse, but her gender and skin colour has nothing to do with the way we should assess the severity of the abuse she received.

Post edited at 19:17
1
Ridge - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Maybe I wasn’t clear, what I am saying is that by defining Diane’s victimhood in terms of her race and gender, Rudd makes a similar mistake as the racist do, she links her race and gender to how Diane should be perceived.

Thanks for the clarification...

birdie num num - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

Maybe I wasn’t clear....etc.

That's a very good technical explanation of the thought process that perhaps we should all adopt in the minefield of adjectival political correctness and it would be great if folk could just remember it, particularly on the spur of the moment. 

There is an easier way; and that would be to simply drop the adjective completely. A woman is simply woman, not a black white or coloured woman. However....

For Diane, a gaffe such as this from a tory minister is, I think, too good an opportunity to pass up, particularly if it can be inflated into racism. It's unhelpful playground politics, and just perpetuates division. I wonder had Jeremy had made the same remark, if it might have been quite so robustly challenged.

A storm in a teacup. But folk like storms in teacups, so they're always going to happen.

FactorXXX - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

> For Diane, a gaffe such as this from a tory minister is, I think, too good an opportunity to pass up, particularly if it can be inflated into racism. It's unhelpful playground politics, and just perpetuates division.

"Diane Abbott just loves playing 'divide & rule' We should not play her game."

1
Dave Garnett - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> What’s bad is that Dianne Abbot received racial abuse, but her gender and skin colour has nothing to do with the way we should assess the severity of the abuse she received.

So you don't accept the principle of any racially aggravated  crimes? 

fred99 - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to :

> There is an easier way; and that would be to simply drop the adjective completely. A woman is simply woman, not a black white or coloured woman. However....

Okay, will someone tell me how to describe something;

Imagine that you are asked where Jane Smith is by someone. Jane Smith is 50 yards away, talking to Jane Jones. The pair of them are moving around so you cannot say "the one on the right etc.", both are wearing a white polo shirt and navy blue trousers, with black shoes (they're officiating at an athletics meeting), both have dark hair, and they are the same height. You know both of them personally so to send this person to the wrong woman could be regarded as a social gaffe. In fact the only significant difference is their skin colour.

How on earth, in todays social climate, do you describe the one that this person needs to go and speak to ?

1
RomTheBear on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> So you don't accept the principle of any racially aggravated  crimes? 

I do, however I do not accept that racially aggravated crime are applicable to only a few “races”. They are bad regardless of the skin colour of the one on the receiving end. 

They should be assessed in light of the facts and the harm done to the victim, not in light of he/his skin colour.

1
Dave Garnett - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> I do, however I do not accept that racially aggravated crime are applicable to only a few “races”. They are bad regardless of the skin colour of the one on the receiving end. 

> They should be assessed in light of the facts and the harm done to the victim, not in light of he/his skin colour.

Ah, so all crime is racially aggravated?

Luke90 on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to fred99:

It's not really such an awful situation as you've presented it to be. Firstly, it's a pretty contrived scenario and the situation where two women are just as identical as you've described but don't happen to be from different races seems equally likely (if not more so). That means you've got the same range of options as you would have in that scenario, if you're feeling awkward about it. You could just point them to the two women and let them sort it out when they get there.

Secondly, it seems very unlikely to me that anyone would object to you stating that she's "the black lady over there", given that it's entirely relevant. As long as you can manage to avoid using antiquated language like "negro" or "coloured", you should be absolutely fine. Yes, language and culture will change over time and the appropriate terminology might be different in a decade or two but any changes will happen gradually, the caricature of an ever-changing list that you have to be bang up to date with on a daily basis is ridiculous. As someone who's presumably not a politician or public figure, you're under much less scrutiny in the first place.

At the end of the day, if you or I feel some slight awkwardness or discomfort in these occasional situations where referring to somebody's race is actually useful and relevant, that's hardly the end of the world and far preferable to the situation a few decades ago. In the long run, if we manage to keep progressing as a species, it would be nice to imagine a world where race becomes such a non-issue that the awkwardness also evaporates but we're not there yet. As a white man, I think I'm extraordinarily lucky that the worst effect racism will ever have on me is that if I'm careless with my language I might offend someone.

1
RomTheBear on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Ah, so all crime is racially aggravated?

FFS, are you pretending to not understand on purpose?

No, obviously not all crimes are racially aggravated, what I am saying is simply they should not be assessed in terms of the race of the victim, for example a white victim of racial abuse should be treated the same as a black victim of racial abuse, given similar circumstances.

3
Dave Garnett - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> for example a white victim of racial abuse should be treated the same as a black victim of racial abuse, given similar circumstances.

So a black person assaulting a white person would be treated more harshly than an white assailant would be?  

fred99 - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Luke90:

> Secondly, it seems very unlikely to me that anyone would object to you stating that she's "the black lady over there", given that it's entirely relevant. As long as you can manage to avoid using antiquated language like "negro" or "coloured", you should be absolutely fine.

But the thing is that extremely few people actually are "black", (and except for albinos nobody is truly white). Most "non-white" people are some shade in between. Now for my background, "black" is the old term, and "coloured" is the later (pc) version. It now seems that I must use the term "black", which was the racist term in my youth, instead of "coloured" which is the term I was brought up with as polite. And as for referring to anyone of Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi lineage as "black" - that's bound to cause offence.

2
Dave Garnett - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> FFS, are you pretending to not understand on purpose?

Sorry Rom, I'm teasing, but you're in danger of showing that you are happy to argue that black is white!

I don't disagree with your good intentions for a colour-blind world but until that happy day it's pretty difficult to counter sexism and racism without being able to refer to the sex and ethnicity of a victim of both.  And if we can't even acknowledge the someone is a victim of a particular act of prejudice without you worrying about the concept of victimhood, then we shan't get far.

I was quite proud of even knowing what intersectionality was, so I'm wounded by your being so dismissive of it!  Nothing like inventing a new term for the blindingly obvious but to be fair to Amber Rudd, she didn't use it. 

1
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to fred99:

In this case I would avoid offence by sending them to the one with the biggest tits. 

MonkeyPuzzle - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to fred99:

> But the thing is that extremely few people actually are "black", (and except for albinos nobody is truly white). Most "non-white" people are some shade in between.

I'm not "white", I'm kind of pinky with freckles. I don't think it's a problem.

Luke90 on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to fred99:

> But the thing is that extremely few people actually are "black", (and except for albinos nobody is truly white). Most "non-white" people are some shade in between.

Lots of language doesn't make perfect sense if you take it entirely literally.

> It now seems that I must use the term "black", which was the racist term in my youth, instead of "coloured" which is the term I was brought up with as polite.

I did acknowledge in my reply to you that language and culture change over time. I'm not sure why people seem to find this gradual shift more problematic when it comes to language about race than anything else. I'm sure the acceptable language to use towards or in reference to women must have changed in your lifetime as well and perhaps the acceptability of homophobic slurs.

1
Yanis Nayu - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Maybe I wasn’t clear, what I am saying is that by defining Diane’s victimhood in terms of her race and gender, Rudd makes a similar mistake as the racist do, she links her race and gender to how Diane should be perceived.

It would be hard to discuss women in politics on or because of IWD without getting in to gender, and harder still to mention the additional hurdles faced by women who are black without getting into race...

> It is well intentioned but nevertheless is perpetuates this mistake that people do, they look at someone’s race and use this as if it was relevant information.

It’s relevant if you’re addressing them receiving racial abuse.

> The racist will say, because she is black she deserves abuse, the prejudicedtarian will say, because she is black she deserves extra empathy.

> I still prefer those who say the latter because at least they are well intentioned and do less immediate damage, however they are both wrong to treat someone differently because of their race.

In general I agree, but not when that’s the topic of the conversation!

> What’s bad is that Dianne Abbot received racial abuse, but her gender and skin colour has nothing to do with the way we should assess the severity of the abuse she received.

My head hurts now...

Tom V - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Luke90:

One reason language change can be problematic is that there is no consensus as to whether certain words are acceptable. Take "queer", for instance. 

Luke90 on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> One reason language change can be problematic is that there is no consensus as to whether certain words are acceptable. Take "queer", for instance.

It's a reclaimed insult though, isn't it. I don't think that's indicative of a lack of consensus. It can be used in a non-insulting way, which is accepted, but some people still use it as an insult, which is not.

The same is true of "gay" really but I think it got reclaimed longer ago so people have had longer to get used to it.

1
RomTheBear on 11 Mar 2019

> I don't disagree with your good intentions for a colour-blind world but until that happy day it's pretty difficult to counter sexism and racism without being able to refer to the sex and ethnicity of a victim of both. 

Nobody says you can’t. However the sex or ethnicity of the victims are not the problem, the problem is the abuse.

> And if we can't even acknowledge the someone is a victim of a particular act of prejudice without you worrying about the concept of victimhood, then we shan't get far.

Of course we can acknowledge Diane Abbot was the victim of racial abuse, but by saying we should empathise with her just because she is Black is not doing anybody any service.

> I was quite proud of even knowing what intersectionality was, so I'm wounded by your being so dismissive of it!  Nothing like inventing a new term for the blindingly obvious but to be fair to Amber Rudd, she didn't use it. 

Because the concept of intersectionnality is peddled by charlatans who get paid to publish papers that nobody can reproduce. (To be fair this is a problem with the whole field of psychology)

Post edited at 20:14
1
Timmd on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Nobody says you can’t. However the sex or ethnicity of the victims are not the problem, the problem is the abuse.

I'm guessing that you acknowledge that abuse often only happens because of the sex or race etc of individuals?

1
Timmd on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Of course we can acknowledge Diane Abbot was the victim of racial abuse, but by saying we should empathise with her just because she is Black is not doing anybody any service.

If by empathise, you mean 'seek to put oneself in another person's shoes', which is what the nub of empathy is generally understood to be, I think that it's essential that we do seek to put ourselves in the shoes of others when it's about receiving abuse (in terms of how and why it happens) towards a better understanding of how life is for them, because it can (hopefully) broaden one's perspective on being human. 

Post edited at 20:45
1
krikoman - on 15 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> Are you suggesting the Labour party is currently in the right place to start preaching to others in how you treat and speak to minorities of any type?

It's not about the Labour party, or any party for that matter. My suggestion was if people keep their gob shut, how are we to know what's being said isn't right or upsetting people.

I noticed you weren't calling for Sacks to keep quite.


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