I was talking with a large group of people on an internet forum and I mentioned I had just watched a spectacular performance "by a colored man". I went on and on about how this man's performance plastered a smile on my face and genuinely made me happy. The reason I felt like he needed a physical description was because the program I watched also had other acts of all races ( black, white,Asian, Hispanic, and others ), and I was thinking if someone else had watched the same program, they would know who I was talking about ( I was afraid to say black ). I had nothing but admiration for that man's talent, and to complete the whole package, the man looked like a giant cuddly teddybear. He was likeable the moment he stepped on the stage.
But the second I said "colored man" in my comment, you would think I put on a white hood and started burning crosses and saying the N word! I was pounced on hard and made to feel like an ignorant insensitive racist who needed to have my **** kicked by all of society! I mean they laid into me bad! ( They are white, by the way. )
I was so embarrassed by my choice of words and apparent ignorance about how derogatory it is,and apologized, but they were having none of it. I still needed a verbal smackdown and it kept coming.
Up until that point in my life, I had honestly never heard that the term "colored people" is so offensive. I mean, doesn't the NAACP stand for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? I hear black women at work refer to themselves as colored women all the time and they don't like being called black. And Lord knows I hear black people refer to white people as "that white girl over there", or even derogatory terms like "cracker or honky"...so I'm not buying that white people are the only race that points out skin color. It's a fact that people with eyesight notice skin color. It may not matter what your skin color is, but you are lying if you say you don't see skin color. I couldn't care less what color someone's skin is, but I do occasionally refer to a skin color when trying to describe someone's appearance,
I have many very good friends who are black ( but just don't call them black unless I want a dirty look ). I have vacationed with black co-workers. I have attended black funerals and weddings. I've purchased birthday, graduation and baby shower gifts for my black friends just like I would any friend. I am currently on a campaign commitee for one of my black friends who is running for city council. For crying out loud, I almost cried when Viola Davis lost to Meryl Streep for best Actress. I am NOT racist. Yet, when I said "colored" people to this particular group of white women, I was flat out called a racist and told I needed to be ***** slapped hard. I figured I would've gotten slammed for saying "black", so I said colored. I happen to think it's beautiful and would never be offended if I were black and someone called me colored. But I said, "colored man", and you would think I was a member of the KKK by the way I was treated. I actually cried myself to sleep that night, it was so hurtful.
If it's so offensive, why am I just hearing about it now? Why do some black people refer to themselves as colored if it's so derogatory? I can see if I said, "that colored man was awful." But I was paying the man a compliment! That one word...colored...was all that was heard and my compliment flew out the window.
I guess I am just asking for other opinions as to why "colored" is considered so derogatory and offensive, and what are we supposed to say when referring to their skin color? And why on earth did white people get so upset, when my black friends don't even blink an eye about it? I would give the shirt off my back and last dime to anybody, black, white, whatever, if they truly needed it...but I will never pretend I don't notice what color skin you were blessed with. Me noticing and saying someone is colored in no way makes me racist and I was furious and hurt when called that. One woman even went so far as to say, "Every racist thinks they aren't racist." meaning I was obviously lying.
You can bet I will never say it again. But wow, was it shocking to be hearing for the first time that it is so offensive and instead of being kindly educated, I was raked over the coals bad and called stupid, ignorant, racist, and all kinds of offensive names ( for saying something offensive ). Oh the irony.
I'd like other opinions, especially from people of color. I don't care much anymore about offending white people if I say it, but I certainly don't want to offend the black race and would like to hear their take on the whole thing...and what they prefer their skin tone to be referred to as.