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Author Topic: Paganism and Magic  (Read 16647 times)
Juniper
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« Reply #45: June 13, 2008, 03:42:06 pm »

Don't worry about it; I could tell by the context what you meant.  I just didn't want you to use that terminology somewhere else and be surprised because someone was offended.  It was definitely out of fashion in the U.S. before the late '90s; I wonder if this is a difference of British and American English?  Perhaps some of UK members could comment on this?

I was born in '89, and was always taught never to say 'coloured'. That may have just been my family, though, but it's not a word that I have heard get a lot of usage (apart from my grandad, but he's in his 70s and that's just a generation thing). I was always brought up to say black and white. Obviously 'African-American' isn't used in the UK! Lol.
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Waldfrau
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« Reply #46: June 13, 2008, 03:51:38 pm »

Don't worry about it; I could tell by the context what you meant.  I just didn't want you to use that terminology somewhere else and be surprised because someone was offended.  It was definitely out of fashion in the U.S. before the late '90s; I wonder if this is a difference of British and American English?  Perhaps some of UK members could comment on this?

Sperran
I've just turned a few dictionaries around (I don't own that many, dictionaries are expensieve), there are several explanations:

Maybe my school used old books or books that haven't been carefully revised. Maybe I just remember wrong because we haven't discussed it very thoroughly and the word for 'coloured' in German ('farbig') is still used for people of African heritage, while the word for 'negro' (in German 'Neger') is considered a slur. The one I looked up in when you mentioned the problem first was a German-BE one, but not a big one with long explanations, so maybe they simply didn't bother to write 'derog.' in brackets. (Now I will get something better once I earn some money.) I have an old DCE from 1987 however, that does list 'coloured' with 'derog.' in brackets.

Do you know why it is considered insulting? Since the same word is still used in German I'd like to know.
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Juniper
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« Reply #47: June 13, 2008, 04:03:12 pm »

Do you know why it is considered insulting? Since the same word is still used in German I'd like to know.

Well I can only speak from one person's perspective, but a friend of mine in college said to me that he thought it was insulting because we are all 'coloured' as it were- he was black, I was white. They're both colours (a scientist may disagree with me there, but I'm not talking from a scientific perspective lol). If a white person isn't coloured, then what are they? He said he could only come up with one answer: normal. You were therefore either normal, or coloured, and that wasn't fair. That's why he personally prefered to use black and white.

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Ice and rock; each sentiment within border,
And heart's frosty discipline
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« Reply #48: June 13, 2008, 04:04:58 pm »

I was always brought up to say black and white. Obviously 'African-American' isn't used in the UK! Lol.
Neither here. We also say 'Schwarze' (= 'blacks') along with 'Farbige' (='coloured people'), I just thought it was interchangeable in AE. Maybe it's also a matter of how 'hot' a topic is in a country. In Germany are not as many people of African heritage as in the US, so the topic doesn't get discussed that often, and so maybe we are a bit blind-eyed here. I know it's a shame.
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« Reply #49: June 13, 2008, 04:06:33 pm »

Do you know why it is considered insulting? Since the same word is still used in German I'd like to know.

I think part of what you're running into, too, is there is an American tendency to be really sensitive to racial issues considering our past history with slavery. I've seen this come up here on TC before.
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Waldfrau
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« Reply #50: June 13, 2008, 04:08:32 pm »

Well I can only speak from one person's perspective, but a friend of mine in college said to me that he thought it was insulting because we are all 'coloured' as it were- he was black, I was white. They're both colours (a scientist may disagree with me there, but I'm not talking from a scientific perspective lol). If a white person isn't coloured, then what are they? He said he could only come up with one answer: normal. You were therefore either normal, or coloured, and that wasn't fair. That's why he personally prefered to use black and white.
Oh, thanks. I think that's a good reason. Greet him from me if you like.
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Juniper
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« Reply #51: June 13, 2008, 04:19:49 pm »

Oh, thanks. I think that's a good reason. Greet him from me if you like.

I thought it was a pretty good reason, too. We are all different colours- actually, I'm kind of pinkish at the moment from being in the sun too long   Cheesy

Unfortunately I've not spoken to him in a while, as he moved away to University and then I came over to the US.
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And heart's frosty discipline
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« Reply #52: June 13, 2008, 04:23:28 pm »

I think part of what you're running into, too, is there is an American tendency to be really sensitive to racial issues considering our past history with slavery. I've seen this come up here on TC before.
So I'm not the first ignorant European crashing into this?

I've just read a book about 'The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World' by an American author (David Brion Davis). I noticed that he used the word 'blacks', but didn't know that 'coloured' was out of date. He didn't explain the terms because he couldn't know that I would read his book and just miss it that way. Maybe I was too busy trying to sort out the events of 3 centuries and more that I just didn't thought enough about the terms. It's really an awsome book though, whish I could get the knowledge by intravenous infusion instead of two weeks of reading and still missing some stuff. *sigh*
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« Reply #53: June 13, 2008, 04:37:31 pm »

So I'm not the first ignorant European crashing into this?

Nope. Not at all. It happens maybe once a year or so. Sometimes it gets ugly because the poor person doesn't pick up quickly that there's an almost knee jerk reaction that many Americans have to the racial stuff. It also sometimes shows up when someone from outside the US comes in and starts talking about racial purity...then you get the slavery and Nazi reactions.
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« Reply #54: June 13, 2008, 04:40:59 pm »

In 1992 it probably was the correct term to use, but no so much nowadays.

Not really. Well, maybe depending on where you lived at the time. But even in my uber-racist hometown, that term fell out of favor in the 60s.
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« Reply #55: June 13, 2008, 04:55:35 pm »

Not really. Well, maybe depending on where you lived at the time. But even in my uber-racist hometown, that term fell out of favor in the 60s.

I think it was in the '60's that Blacks made it clear what they preferred to be called.  Of course, my father still uses nigger, and spic, and wop......... Shocked
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« Reply #56: June 13, 2008, 05:27:40 pm »

Neither here. We also say 'Schwarze' (= 'blacks') along with 'Farbige' (='coloured people'), I just thought it was interchangeable in AE. Maybe it's also a matter of how 'hot' a topic is in a country. In Germany are not as many people of African heritage as in the US, so the topic doesn't get discussed that often, and so maybe we are a bit blind-eyed here. I know it's a shame.

Speaking from another European background - it passes under the radar here a lot of the time. I really didn't have the impression that racism towards blacks (there are different issues with arabic and Turkish populations) was that much of an issue here... Until I got a boyfriend who was half Surinamese (some of you might remember him from my "Bloodpoisoning is sexy" signature Wink ). Most of us white people here live in nearly exclusively white populations, so you won't run into things. My boyfriend, however, can tell several stories of times when he nearly got beat up over his skin color, and has very specific preferences on what he wants to be referred to, based on things I didn't really think happened here because I never saw any of it.

And then, of course, it gets complicated by the fact that those preferences differ by the country, so you can't just translate the terms that are okay in your country and assume they're okay in another country. My boyfriend is really sensitive about the term "zwart", which literally translates into black, since it is *the* number one name people would call after him in the schoolyard and in the streets to taunt him.

--Chabas
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RandallS
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« Reply #57: June 13, 2008, 05:32:10 pm »

So I'm not the first ignorant European crashing into this?

Not by a long shot. Even Americans can have trouble keeping up as the preferred usage has changed several times in just my lifetime.
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Juniper
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« Reply #58: June 13, 2008, 08:03:25 pm »

And then, of course, it gets complicated by the fact that those preferences differ by the country, so you can't just translate the terms that are okay in your country and assume they're okay in another country. My boyfriend is really sensitive about the term "zwart", which literally translates into black, since it is *the* number one name people would call after him in the schoolyard and in the streets to taunt him.

I think that is such a valid point. I've not only found that it can differ from country to country, but that it can sometimes differ from region to region in the same country.
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'How she longed for winter then!-
Scrupulously austere in its order
Of white and black
Ice and rock; each sentiment within border,
And heart's frosty discipline
Exact as a snowflake'
~Sylvia Plath
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« Reply #59: June 13, 2008, 08:34:14 pm »

Do you know why it is considered insulting? Since the same word is still used in German I'd like to know.

It isn't simple.  I think that Juniper and Lyric both touched on possible reasons.  I would also throw in the possibility that words that were formerly acceptable were rejected in favor of the unifying term "Black" when "Black Pride" and "Black Power" become culturally and politically relevant.  African-American came into vogue for much the same reason that Juniper mentions that the term "colored" was rejected.  Lots of "Black" people in the U.S. aren't really black...but rather mocha, dark tan, burnt sienna, etc.  However, at least at present, using the term "Black" is typically considered acceptable in most circles.

Sperran
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