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Old 27.01.2015, 20:35
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Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

Here is one of many links I could have posted http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/30994775

First of all, yes it was derpy and and apology was the right thing to do.

But I couldn't help wondering if he was actually trying to keep up with what seems to be preferred terminology in the US and made a mess of it.

I've always known that only embarassing old people would use "coloured", it used to be the preferred term a long time ago but it has been deemed inappropriate/offensive at least since I was born in the 80s. So, I remember being shocked the first time I heard an American TV presenter say "of color" as I thought it was basically the same thing. I assumed the presenter was ignorant and wondered why none of the audience seemed to look offended, but I heard it again and again after that, only on American TV though. Never heard it in England. I deduced that in the US it's not appropriate any more to use "black".

Given the context of what he was talking about I'm inclined to think he meant to say "of color".

American EF-ers, is it offensive/inappropriate in the US to say "black"?

Also what is the the preferred term used here??
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Old 27.01.2015, 20:57
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

I don't really see what the fuss is about.


Benedict Cumberbatch clearly had no intention of offending anyone.


I work for a large corporate that currently has a project called "white". A few months ago in a town hall sized meeting it gets to question time and this guy puts his hand up and says "Why the f### is it project white? I am deeply offended and the next project better be called black". There was laughter. And at Christmas I was talking to another guy who had just spent some time in London. He said that people would spend ages trying to describe him and his view was "just call me the coloured guy".
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Old 27.01.2015, 21:13
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

There are many British actors of Indian descent working in the US too, so maybe he was not just thinking of black/afro-Carribbean actors, but all non-whites (and I should probably apologise for saying Indian descent, black, afro-carribean and non-white).
Or we could concentrate on the actual point he was making, that there is not much support for anyone other than white actors in the UK and that that needs to be addressed.
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Old 27.01.2015, 21:14
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

My grandma is brown, but refers to herself as coloured. I best have a word with her in case she offends some well educated white people.
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Old 27.01.2015, 21:17
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

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My grandma is brown, but refers to herself as coloured. I best have a word with her in case she offends some well educated white people.
And I have two South-African friends that refer to themselves as coloured as distinct from black...... Why should every nationality have to hold themselves the the US standard of the minute (and lets face it, it's always changing).
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Old 27.01.2015, 21:22
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

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And I have two South-African friends that refer to themselves as coloured as distinct from black...... Why should every nationality have to hold themselves the the US standard of the minute (and lets face it, it's always changing).
I don't think it's in the US alone. The UK is just as bad, a few years ago a football pundit got into a lot of bother for using the word "coloured". Anyhow, this reminded me of one of my favourite clips from The Office, which shows how absurd the outrage is.


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Old 27.01.2015, 21:25
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

Plus, if the NAACP doesn't find it offensive, why should anyone else?

On to the real issue, why do so many British actors (of whatever hue) go to the US.
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Old 27.01.2015, 21:37
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

Is that really a BBC article? It reads more like a Daily Mail nonsense piece to me. Could have an impact on his Oscar chances...could impact his career. The poor man has apologized so profusely you'd think he murdered someone.

Hmm, now how to explain without offending someone...I have non-white friends with dark-colored skin. The ones that fit Cumberbatch's description would probably ask you to cut the bull and just call them black or African American. But how does someone who doesn't have that convenient "something - American" tag identify? Are they African-French, African-British? Cumberbatch was bound to say something wrong no matter what word he chose.

Yes, in South Africa colored/coloured is a mixed-race population and the word is not generally considered offensive there.
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Old 27.01.2015, 21:43
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

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On to the real issue, why do so many British actors (of whatever hue) go to the US.
More to the point why are they going over there to act with cringeworthy American accents (Hugh Laurie, Damian Lewis, Alan Cumming etc..)?
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Old 27.01.2015, 21:45
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

The South-African situation is different, due to the Apartheid régime. At that time, South Africans generally were split into 3 main groups, Blacks (africans), Coloured (of Malay/Indonesian descent, ex slaves) and Whites.
Coloured is not an insult NOW- but from that background are still called Cape Malays, rather than 'coloured'. Those who were somewhere 'in between' due to mixture of any of the above- like many in our family, due to a mixture of all 3 of the above- were even more despised! Not happy times.

Whoopie Goldberg makes not bones about hating the term 'African American'- she wrote (from the top of my head, not quoting verbatim)- call me a arshole, but don't call me African American- until you call the other guys Scottish American, German American, Italian American, etc!
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Old 27.01.2015, 21:52
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

I think Bernadette Cummerbund has probably learnt a valuable lesson from this incident: simply avoid the subject completely from now on.

It's the safest way, really.
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Old 27.01.2015, 21:58
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

Whoopi Goldberg: "Don't call me an African American!" (longish)
i mentioned this on one of the 'Prince is racist threads', thought this (largish) excerpt might be of interest:

"Call me an asshole, call me a blowhard, but don't call me an African American.Please. It divides us as a nation and as a people, and it kinda pisses me off. It diminishes everything I've accomplished and everything every other black person has accomplished on American soil. It means i'm not entitled to everything plain old regular Americans are entitled to.
Everytime you put something in front of the word 'American', it strips it of it's meaning.The Bill of Rights is my Bill of Rights, same as anyone else's.It's my flag. It's my Constitution.it doesn't talk about SOME people.It talks about ALL people-black,white, orange, brown.You.Me.
People who come from other countries and become American citizens deserve everything this country has to offer, so how come I don't? Don't qualify my right to be here among you good people.Don't make it conditional.Who died and made you the ing maitre d'? WHAT'S YOUR FAMILY NAME? when did your ancestors come to this country? What Language did they speak? How come you're more American than I am? Because it's easier for you to blend in? I'm sorry, but it's just not acceptable. Not anymore.
so, no, I am Not an African American. I'm not from Africa. I'm from New York. My roots run a whole lot deeper than most of the people who don't have anything in front of the word 'American'. I can trace my family tree back to the Mayflower. We may not have been on it, but we were under it, and that counts too. We're out of Florida, for the most part.We're Seminole Indians.We're a couple of Jews from Russia.We're black and white.There's even some Chines running through my blood. They were here to build the railroad, and they to add my strange mix.
I'm a mutt.There's a whole historical adventure that belongs to me, and i refuse to let our cultural demagogues rob me of what's mine. George Washington belongs to me. Lou Gehrig belongs to me. Jackie Robinson belongs to me. Nathan's hot dog's belong to me. You know. the Lower East Side is mine. The amber waves of ing grain? Mine. I'm as American as Chevrolet.

As a kid in New York, i wasn't raised with the idea that we were anything but New Yorkers. I'm not conditioned, when someone walks into a room, to think to myself, Oh, He's white, or, Oh, He's black. It's not important. I mean, where do you go from there? What does that mean? You still don't know anything about that person, you can't get beyond it.Yeah, I remember when there was an effort to intergrate into the larger community, and to broadcast it out to other people, but that time has passed. We're here. We've been here a long ing time, and made vital contributions t this country. Without black people, we would have been alot slower walking into a lot of the shit we walked into. The Industrial Revolution would have been a lot longer in coming. The Information Age would have taken it's time. We helped, and tat's why i refuse to be labeled an Africa American. When you tell the story of this country, I'm part of the fabric. Black people, stop trying to identify elsewhere. This is yours.People in the South got their legs cewed off, got hit with in' fire hoses, got their children blown up, got yanked, burned, hanged, and sliced so tat you wouldn't have to pretend you were from someplace else. So that you wouldn't have to say, "No, I'm not entitled to this." Well, that. You're entitled to all of it. Take it. It's ours.
***

Whoopi Goldberg's book entitled 'Book' was published in 1999 by Warner Books.

Just re-read it- love Whoopi. Made me laugh though, as we all know Chevrolet is Swiss, from la Chaux-de-Fonds, don't we ?

Last edited by Odile; 27.01.2015 at 22:16.
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Old 28.01.2015, 08:45
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

At infants school, Benny and I were told off for calling the wog a poofter. We were told he was black.

At junior school, Benny I were told off for calling the black kid a poofter. We were told he was coloured.

At senior school, Benny I were told off for the calling the coloured kid a poofter. We were told he was Afro-british.

After senior school the Afro-british homosexual went into comedy and called all the other afro-british homosexuals wog poofters.

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Old 28.01.2015, 09:18
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

it's always a laugh when the brits start to talk about cringe-worthy accents , but that's not my point here so getting back on topic- the term colored has been considered derogatory for a long time in the u.s, at least politically and socially and i would say at least back to the 70's or 60's that has been the case. the term black is a bit more acceptable by people as it seems to be a bit more empowering. and all this kind of happen in the last 40-50 years so not necessarily anything new, depending on your age but african-american is truly a term used in pc textbooks and uppity acceptance seeking white people who are still just as interested in giving labels as those before them.

i'll never get why others try to understand (or judge) the americans on their race issues (certainly other euro countries have plenty of their own, and no colored or black president (or in this case, really african american) voted in) when they just won't get it and should probably focus on their own litter box. to be fair, i'm with whoopie, the only time i've really heard anyone struggle or care about what someone is called is when they're completely out of the loop with something to prove (i.e, these fancy hollywood types, rich kids who wanna be down or europeans who are so scared about being pc they end up really putting their foot in their mouth.

if we all just stuck to my grandma's terms and considered everyone as a shade of something delicious (cafe con leche, caramelita, chocolate, arroz con leche, canela, etc) or just left it alone and did as we do in new york and call them by their behavior (a**hole, queen, boss, friend, etc) or maybe even just not call them by anything at all. why we choose color words is beyond me, especially as so many people fake tan nowadays...
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Old 28.01.2015, 09:30
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

In order to be precise and to avoid confrontation do I only use the exact Pantone codes these days.
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Old 28.01.2015, 09:37
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

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maybe even just not call them by anything at all. why we choose color words is beyond me
Because him saying, "I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here (in the US) than in the UK and that's something that needs to change." wouldn't make much sense.

It's a sad reflection on society that the message taken from this incident is an inference bordering on calling him racist, rather than the very valid (and anti-racist) point he was making.
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Old 28.01.2015, 09:40
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Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

When I was very young (early 60's), we used Negroes, and colored....black was somehow considered inappropriate. That changed after the mid '60's.

I know why we describe people by skin color - it's easier to label people and that seems so important. But yeah - totally describing by behavior seems the way to go. Except, it's tough with so much reliance on skin tone. Though Pantone code is novel.
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Old 28.01.2015, 09:46
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

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Because him saying, "I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here (in the US) than in the UK and that's something that needs to change." wouldn't make much sense.

It's a sad reflection on society that the message taken from this incident is an inference bordering on calling him racist, rather than the very valid (and anti-racist) point he was making.
ok. well i see that it's an important detail in this sense (but isn't that in itself a bit sad...) but that aside, look at those who are more concerned with calling him a racist. i'd be a bit skeptical about the focus on the 'r' word over the message in the first place. it seems a good distraction. and anyway anyone with a few brain cells would see his statement begs the contrary. this is why i get my celebrity news from ef
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Old 28.01.2015, 10:27
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

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Though Pantone code is novel.
Trust me, way to go:

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Old 28.01.2015, 10:32
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Re: Benedict Cumberbatch race terminology discussion

Who is 485????
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