The other day I joked on Twitter about the irony that the phrase “colored people” was not allowed but “people of color” was okay. In fact, I think both terms are offensive, but some people took it the wrong way. Such is Twitter.
An African American replied with a good explanation. There were two reasons: “colored people” was associated with the slavery of the past, but the reason that interested me more concerned grammatical construction. “Colored people” defines the person by their color and people are more than their skin color. I like that. It’s the same reason we should not refer to “gay people” or “homosexuals” but use the terminology “people who experience same sex attraction.” A person should not be defined only by their sexual proclivity, their skin color or their religion.
The question of racism is at the forefront of most of our lives this summer with the Black Lives Matter protests, and where I live in South Carolina the race issue is ever with us. South Carolina has the highest population of African Americans per capita of any state. Charleston was one of the major ports for importing slaves from Africa, and segregation and the KKK are a blight on our state history.