Monday, July 26, 2010

Old Habits Die Hard

There is a person that I know. Let's call her "Amelia." She is in her sixties. Today she was talking about her visit to her doctor. She mentioned that a "colored girl" said something to her, and then proceeded to tell us what she had said. No prejudice seemed evident. She used the same phrase again. It bothered me, and I was going to say something, but my mom beat me to it. She said "Amelia, not colored. Black or African American."

I agree with my mom that "colored" is more offensive than "black," because it basically means "non-white." Plus, that's the term generally used before the Civil Rights Movement and whatnot. But isn't "black" still sort of down that path? I don't find "African American" offensive in itself (but it could be, depending on the context).

What do you guys think?

I don't think Amelia meant any harm, but her upbringing shows through. It was just a cultural thing I noticed and found interesting.

On a related note, it shows that not only does culture depend on place, but also on time. (And I know that's obvious from a larger standpoint, but it's only been 50 years. Technology, sure. That changes fast. But attitudes are slower-moving.)

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