People of color ok, colored people not?

Benedict Cumberbatch misspoke?

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By Jim Bowman


This has had my shorts in a bunch for some time. If I can say people of color, why can't I say colored people?

I'm not the only one:

Grammatically, "colored people" is undeniably more economical than "people of color." Yet for reasons that remain mysterious and entirely unexplained, modern leftist speech police have forbidden the former term as they champion the latter.

White actor Benedict Cumberbatch spoke (sympathetically, empathetically, charitably) of "black actors" and had to apologize grovelingly.

I'm devastated to have caused offence by using this outmoded terminology. I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done.

Called himself "an idiot," did he?

The only question that remains is whether you think he's an idiot for using the term "colored" or for apologizing.

Who, me? Well. Really . . . I will say, this kind of talk makes me nervous, Know what I mean?

Related article: Why not 'colored people'? History says so.

Email: Twitter: @BlitheSp

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Totally Agree with "Wow"   

Posted: February 14th, 2015 6:15 PM

Really, WJ? Why did this get ink? At a time when we need education and understanding, this article advances neither.

RF Dan  

Posted: February 6th, 2015 9:18 AM

Dennis - point is..I'm not offended and think people are way too sensitive. The list of non-PC words keeps growing and who can use them differs. I work in a somewhat tough neighborhood and hear many words that I would not consider using, sometimes directed at me. I think the columnist here is saying to chill a little and not worry so much about the overly sensitive, and I agree with him.

Dennis from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 6th, 2015 12:25 AM

How about you, RF Dan? Are you reluctant to use the word in a public or professional setting? Would you or your mom even be bothered if others were bothered? I'm sure your mom can share stories about the word being used a segregation practice. Signs were once displayed at lunch counters, public restrooms and drinking fountains. Understandably that's how the word can now be seen as having a negative connotation. If hearing any offensive word on a daily basis concerns you; consider the source.

RF Dan  

Posted: February 5th, 2015 9:46 PM

My mom regularly uses the term colored people, a term she has used with zero animosity for 70+ years. She has never used it in a defamatory manner. How is she to know all of a sudden that this has become a unacceptable word? Who controls this? I hear the N word daily by AA's, yet somehow this term is problematic. Why? People need to get over there sensitivity to these stupid issues and focus on real issues that effect our community

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2015 5:19 PM

(cont'd from below). Julian Bond, the noted African-American head of the NAACP, also supported Howard. Howard then gave a profuse apology, even though what he said in an internal meeting was not racist, and agreed to be reinstated, but insisted of his own accord on taking only a less prominent job. In Yiddish, that's called being a "shlamazel". This is a classic case of political correctness, involving charges of racism, Gay Rights, labor unions, and the NAACP, back in 1999.

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2015 5:03 PM

Jim, you're obviously concerned about the effects of political correctness, so here is more on the Washington DC "niggardly" incident. That word of Scandinavian origin, meaning "miserly:, was spoken in a budget context by a white gay guy named David Howard, in an internal staff meeting. Two staffers complained to the Mayor. Howard offered his resignation, and the Mayor accepted. Then a Gay Rights group complained about the absurd dismissal. The AFL-CIO also said it was unjustified (cont'd)

Dennis from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 5th, 2015 2:44 PM

Who is preventing you from saying this word you so enjoy, Jim? It's got to be up to the reader or listener to decide if this is you simply exercising freedom of speech or are just simpleminded? Cumberbatch recognized the term is outdated but you don't have to follow his lead. Speak your mind without a filter. Go shout out loud every objectionable word those leftists complain about and let the world hear you say 'em all. That should unbunch your shorts.

By Any Mean from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2015 2:16 PM

See Jim, you're not even allowed to question the "acceptable" narrative, before the Leftist Internet Lynch Mob smells blood in the water!


Posted: February 5th, 2015 1:38 PM

Let's be honest here, WJ lets some pretty questionable stuff by that readers have to forgive if they want the local news that comes with it. Jim Bowman writes many idiotic things. In a nicer publication he'd have lost his access to write over this rambling. It's bad enough he thought it, but he wrote it down? It's local news so at least we can laugh about how bad it is. Jim has officially become the relative you hope keeps quiet and doesn't say something horrible when your friends are around.

Your Label is not your True Self from Toke Park/Reefer Forest area  

Posted: February 5th, 2015 1:35 PM

@A Person First: I had a linguistics professor who informed us of this (SPED course) and hammered it home every time we "erred." The same professor stridently delcared that it was a woman's RIGHT to abort a fetus if it was discoverd to have Downs Syndrome. So there ya go. People First language but death to "imperfect" children if some see fit. Lovely.. :/

OP Transplant  

Posted: February 5th, 2015 1:21 PM

"There are plenty of race and language experts in Oak Park alone, and more in the Chicago area." Funniest thing I've read in a while. Exactly what qualifications make one a "race and language expert"?

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: February 5th, 2015 12:50 PM

Jim, you've really had your head handed to you here. You've been accused of attacking diabetics & autistic children. You've been said to need some rebuilding of your mind via our local "race experts", by a language policeman. I suggest as your Catholic penance, that you organize an Interfaith candlelight vigil at Scoville Park, to protest the name "National Association of Colored People." It should be National Association of People of Color." Or even the NAAAA (N Quadruple A, African American).

aaron from oak park  

Posted: February 5th, 2015 8:50 AM

Wow, I'm shocked this got past editors. Why didn't the writer answer his question by talking to someone who could answer him rather than just publishing his ignorance? There are plenty of race and language experts in Oak Park alone, and more in the Chicago area. As one commenter mentioned, words matter. This is a big, lazy failure by this newspaper.

a person first  

Posted: February 4th, 2015 7:30 PM

"People first" language is important because it recognizes that we are all individuals, each of us with many characteristics. People first language also applies to illnesses & disabilities, for example people with diabetes or people with autism. This recognizes that yes, they have diabetes or autism, but first they are individuals and that all people with diabetes or autism are not the same. This applies also to people of color. People first language is an important concept. Words matter.

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: February 3rd, 2015 4:17 PM

Jim, the reason that"people of color" passes the political correctness test is that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used it, so it is now forever sanctified. Consider the case of the Budget Director of Washington D.C., who was summarily fired by the Mayor, when he stated that his new budget was going to have to be "niggardly". Even though that word is of Scandinavian origin, and means "miserly", he was fired by the Mayor. The Mayor, after reading the dictionary, sheepishly hired him back.

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