From The Vault

What Went Wrong With… Colour Terminology For Race?

Alternate image with text "Learn The New Colours"

From The Vaults Of

I’m old enough to remember when “white” and “black” were the only two acceptable terms for race. Anything else was racist. If someone was labelled “yellow” for instance, it was derogatory, as too was calling someone “red”. When my parents came to Britain the signs read “Whites Only” and “No Blacks”, and therefore the collective term “black” meant everyone not white. If a restaurant refused entry to someone from Barbados, they weren’t letting someone from Bangladesh or Brunei in either. In a white majority country where racism was rife and overt, all immigrants and first generation folk were in the same boat (excuse the metaphor) and “black” therefore meant everyone else; the minorities, those from the commonwealth whose complexions were dark and who found themselves being judged by the colour of their skin rather than the content of their hearts. It didn’t matter if you were from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, or elsewhere, like a chess board it was more about being on one team or the other, them against us. Indeed, if you saw an association or body with the word “Black” in the title, it was for all people who weren’t “white” (look at the “National Black Police Association” for example).

Of course nobody is literally white-skinned and no one has actual black skin. This is why, since both descriptors are inaccurate and not to be taken literally, they’re acceptable descriptions of the majority and the minority in this country. Oddly, in recent years, I’ve seen lots of people compartmentalising the races. I’ve seen a push for calling those with obvious brown skin (Latinos or South Asians for example) “brown” and only people of African decent being described as “black”, but this to me is a slippery slope. If it’s only people with African heritage that are considered “black” is that not going down the path of racism and even colourism? If “black” is now to be taken literally, then maybe morons will soon be okay with calling Africans “negros” too because that, in an around-about way, also meant “black but definitely not brown”? And hey, if there’s a distinction between “brown” and “black” then what does that make a person from East Asia these days? Yellow again? And what about Native Americans? Red? Way to go backward you pricks.

It’s funny how we live in a world where one drop of “ethnic” blood transforms your offspring into that colour and yet we convince ourselves that racism is somehow being staved off. Barack Obama has a white mother and a black father but he’s seen as black by most people. So explain to me how he’s not white since that “colour” is just as much “in him” as it were? And hey, why not brown because of his complexion and our new penchant for holding a Pantone colour chart against people’s skin? In my opinion, racists elected another white president.

So in this modern world where black no longer encompasses brown, what the fuck does that make Mariah Carey? White because of her mother (and skin tone) or black or brown because of her mixed-race father? What about Aboriginal Australians? Are they still black? They’re not from Africa. What about dark-skinned Asians? Still brown or are some black? Because if a serial killer sliced the skin off a “lower caste” Asian or Sri Lankan and left it at the crime scene, I swear a cop couldn’t visually tell which country the evidence was from. And what about north Africans such as Moroccans, Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Somalis? Are they brown or are they black, because they’re “African” too you know? And hey, I may as well add, if “black” is different to Asian and South American then when someone, say, Pakistani or Puerto Rican is racially profiled by a police officer and god-forbid killed, can they not be encompassed within the “Black Lives Matter” movement? 🤔

Since I’m having a rant, I might as well add that it’s also idiotic when the word “black” is used simultaneously with a term like “Asian”. One is a colour and the other is a continent. I recently saw the term “B.A.M.E.” (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) or “B.M.E.” (Black and Minority Ethnic) which are such daft acronyms. Surely “minority ethnic” encompasses everyone in the United Kingdom who isn’t Caucasian, so why complicate matters when something as simple as “black” already meant “not white”? And shouldn’t B.A.M.E. at least be “A.A.M.E.” (African, Asian, and Minority Ethnic)? Or maybe white, middle-class, fake-liberals with fuck-all else to do should stop coming up with poorly-thought-out descriptions for shit that was working okay until they shoved their slightly-pink-with-hints-of-peach nose in.

So if you’re a person of varying colours going along with this latest push for separating all the races out or grouping certain ones together, don’t think you’re doing anything innovative or progressive. In a couple of decades or more you’ll be complaining about being called “B.A.M.E.” in the same way as being called “coloured” or “half-caste”. If you need to describe something such as an event or story by race because race is a vital part of the narrative (say a case of discrimination such as police brutality) just say “European-American” and “Caribbean-American”, “Latin-American” etc. (or revert to the good old “white” and “black”) because if you go down the other route, you’ll be reading a headline such as “A blue hero lawfully kills black and brown criminals” and you’ll be ignoring the most important part, saying stupid shite like “it’s good that the news separated the minorities so it was easy for me to understand the individual ethnic makeup of those who were murdered”.

So remember you dumb fucks: the only way we’re gonna get anywhere is together.

Checkers Ya Laters.

Color Me Bad.

Racism Is The New Black.

From The Vaults Of

This is an unpublished article from 2020 with all the draft final sentence options.

1 reply »

  1. Spitting facts. Everyone takes care to think about the terminology and not what they’re doing to fuck over groups of people.

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