Races and language . Described some character as black is racist in english?


#1

Im starting describing a posible love interest in a fantasy setting with victorian age elements. He is black, in my universe colours are no important, but i dont know what other word use. Afro-american impossible there is no africa or america at all in this universe. And coloured is way more racist at least in my opinion. So i could use black or not? i could use dark but dark elves are grey lol. Or just dont use a black person? but he is a great character and i want show in my universe its not racial problems! Im confused.


#2

I don’t think the terms ‘Black’ or ‘Coloured’ are racist terms. Since you’re clearly not using them in a derogatory context, I’d say you’re worrying unduly.


#3

I’m British. Black is the term that I’d use, or I’d just make reference to skin colour, although not multiple times and then never mentioning it for the other characters. I’d also mention the skin-colour of the other characters.

I wouldn’t use coloured.

You could also change the name of your dark elves, to something else.


#4

Well water elves are pale blue and pale smerald, Dwarves are a grey brown like a dirty old rock . Wood elves are slightly golden and there are people purple in some zones of the planet, so i want say a cool character is black with orange hair and cat eyes due his mother was a syan a cat race in the rain forest and his father is a human general in the highlanders. I just find ridiculous couldn’t say a guy is black when im describing tons of people colors. But ok i try not use it more one of two times i dont try insulting people at all.


#5

Dark skinned, ‘bronzed’ or sun-kissed (skin)?
Ebony might work too.

Though it’s worth adding that as long as it’s not a constant/obviously degrading use - I’m also sure black will be just fine.


#6

This thread somehow makes me think of http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/08/16/the-freedom-of-the-press-george-orwell/

I say don’t worry about using black or coloured, writing or depicting something (such as racism) doesn’t necessary mean that the writer is encouraging it.

Since you said that in your universe colours are not important and you are already describing other races like water elves as blue or other colours, coloured would not be appropriate. Just use black, describe them just as you would describe any other races with other colours.


#7

@Ksu great article Orwell is one of my favourite writers. I would use black and other synonyms.
I was asking because english has fame to be very nick picky with words and i don’t want offend gratuitously to people.


#8

Not if you’re using it just to describe the people, it is not racist at all.


#9

Hey @MaraJade I’m English and I’m going to nit-pick the fact you said we are nit-picky about words not all of us are. We just take our language seriously :-p

joking aside its not the word “black” that is racist more so the context it is used.

for example…

Don was the only Black kid in my class, yet he was smarter than most of my other friends.

isn’t racist imo whereas this is (apologies in advance)…

Don was the smartest Black kid I knew yet he was not as smart as my dumbest White friend.


#10

yeah I’m Mexican american on my mom’s side and black on my dad’s side leading me to have a dark skin pigmentation I mess around with my friends and them with me I’ve been called black loads of times I don’t find it offensive because this generation has evolved (mostly) from judging people for their skin color, sexuality, and race it’s about personality


#11

Well our Highlander redhair black guy half cat is officialy setting with the name Keith.

Also i got a water elf a purple blonde girl and a golden wood elf mage like first posibles romantic interests.


#12

It’s my medical opinion that the term ‘black’ is not offensive


#13

No the term black is not offensive as long as its not used in a derogatory way. I am Africa american, a lot of people refer to themselves as black over the longer African-American word when asked about ones race. Don’t use coloured.


#14

It’s funny to use “coloured” to describe a black person. I remember reading this somewhere:
“On the door of a bar in a town, there was a sign on the door saying ‘No coloured people allowed’. A black man asked to get in, at which a white man said “Can’t you read the sign?!” The black man responded,
“When I’m born, I’m black,
When I’m growing up, I’m black,
When I’m hot, I’m black,
When I’m cold, I’m black,
When I’m sick, I’m black,
When I’m dead, I’m black.
But you,
When you’re born, you’re pink.
When you’re growing up, you’re white.
When you’re hot, you’re red.
When you’re cold, you’re blue.
When you’re sick, you’re green.
When you’re dead, you’re purple.
And you have the nerve to call US coloured?””

Sorry if it sounds racist, I just remember reading it somewhere and decided to use it to dispute the “coloured” verb. I would also use “black” if I were writing about a black person. They are human but there is a slight difference in appearance. Exploit it once (As done in ZE to describe Dave) but don’t restate it a million times.


#15

@Aquos_boost Funny song… I would more focus in why some people is purple or how you could learn to change gender . Transform hair in horns etc.


#16

@Nocturnal_Stillness

The first sentence sounds much more racist than the second one to be honest.


#17

No the first isn’t racist and the second is very racist.


#18

You can describe the skin color as being coffee colored, As most writers usually hint skin color using everyday objects and such.
Ex: Her skin was the color of caramel
His skin was that of sand on the beach.


#19

@Markel1970A Can you please check the date on the previous post before replying. This discussion is several years old and was already answered.

We have What about PoC? for a general discussion on the topic.


#20