Don’t Describe Black People As Black

P. Davidson

In the White Middle Class world, it is absolutely taboo to mention that someone is Black. Only as a last, desperate resort can you even think of mentioning it. This results in a lot of conversations like the following:
“While you’re on your way, can you drop this folder off to Sherri?”
“Who’s Sherri? I don’t think I know her.”
“You know, Sherri. She used to work in Customer Service, but now she’s in Proofing.”
“Still doesn’t ring a bell.”
“Her cube is right next to Dan’s.”
*Shakes head, frowning in confusion*
“You know, we had a birthday party for her last week.”
“I was on vacation last week.”
*Leans over to 1 nanometer from co-worker’s ear, whispers in the lowest voice they can manage, eyes rotating all around to make sure no one can possibly hear*: “She’s black.”
I understand why White people do this–fear of being labeled as a Racist. My question is, does it really offend Black people if someone describes them as Black? Or is that just White people’s perception?


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