General Question

buster's avatar

Why is the word "colored" used by the NAACP in its acronym. Why is the word "negro" used by the United Negro College Fund?

Asked by buster (10216 points ) June 22nd, 2008

People don’t like to be called those words. Aren’t they words people used in a different era and have been branded as racist nowadays? Im pretty sure if I called a black dude a colored he would be pretty pissed off

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20 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

The names originated from the era in which the organizations were founded. Those terms were the terms of choice then. Google their histories.

marinelife's avatar

They date from the preferred terminology at the time the organizations were formed. As to why they have not been changed, only the memberships could answer that. Here is one article regardin the NAACP, which says in part,

“The NAACP name is probably one of the last historic references to use the term “colored people.” Outside of the organization, it is perceived as outdated and politically incorrect to use the words “colored people.” So why not adopt the word “black” or “African American” instead?

What about the NAACP’s mission? Gordon, a retired Verizon executive (Verizon is No. 1 on The 2006 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity® list), has said he wanted the NAACP to look to the next generation and to start offering social service, not just identifying injustices. But the 64-member board does not want to go in that direction, Chairman Julian Bond has said.

Is the NAACP still stuck in the 1960s? NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams says it is.

“The organization is trying to find its way in terms of the new racial dynamic in the country with Hispanics as the largest minority group,” says Williams, “with African Americans more affluent and politically powerful than ever and yet having to deal with the persistence of a 25 percent poverty rate.”

The United Negro College Fund has done some repositioning of its brand:

”. . .the United Negro College Fund has launched a new branding campaign that differs only subtly from its old one.
New UNCF logo

Far from ditching the memorable tag line it has relied on for more than three decades — “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” — the United Negro College Fund has made the tag line a more visible part of its new logo (right), to help ensure more people make the mental connection between the slogan and the organization.

At the same time, the organization has removed its full name from its old logo (below), choosing instead to prominently display its abbreviation, UNCF.”

Spargett's avatar

People are way too sensitive over what words are used.

Anything to do with race and words will have a never ending double standard that will forever feed the hypocracy of the situation.

I think we’re all just people. And we don’t need charities that will only help you if your skin is a certain color. Sound a bit racist? Yes, that’s the double standard I’m talking about.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Great response Spargett. Ive been saying that forever. How is racism ever going to end if we have black, white , and other organizations? I thought the whole concept of civil rights is that we are all humans. I dont get this.

Just like people voting for Obama just because hes black. Thats racist isnt it? I love how the media portrays black people like Obama and Tiger, when in reality they are not just black.

Wine3213's avatar

@ Chris Yeah, that is true, but that is how a lot of America is. When people used to give Tiger crap, they weren’t saying anti-Asian things. They automatically brought up the race he is mostly perceived as. Which is black.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

And who is that put that perception into people’s heads??

Wine3213's avatar

What exactly do u mean?

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

The media. It seems alot of people have a hard time thinking on their own and do and act as the tube tells them to.

Wine3213's avatar

Come on man! It’s true people listen to the media too much sometimes, but you can’t sit here and tell me without even knowing his history (who his parents are/were) that when people first see him they see anything but a black guy.

jlm11f's avatar

calling someone “colored” is considered racist?
...
...
...
shit. i should go apologize.

shrubbery's avatar

If it was African American instead of Coloured People, then it would be NAAAA, and that would be kind of weird to say…

vectorul's avatar

Why do we call them African Americans? If they are Americans then that is what they are.
The description is Black male/female. If that is racist the so be it. I am called White I am not crying.

jlm11f's avatar

what do you get when a white person and a black person are mixed? WHACK. jk jk. please don’t shoot me

on a more serious note, i agree with vectorul, i don’t see any problem with calling African Americans “Black” and Caucasians “white”. The whole pc thing is overrated. and i don’t consider it racism to describe someone by the degree of melatonin in their skin. It’s just a way of defining a physical feature. people are easily offended these days.

Wine3213's avatar

Yeah, the whole pc thing is getting out of hand. I say if your “black”, your black, and vice-versa. There’s better things people could be spending their time changing besides that.

jballou's avatar

It’s easy to write something off as overly PC just because the current generation doesn’t have as much direct memory of what this country was like just 30 short years ago. Growing up as an African American, Black, Negro, Colored, whatever you want to call me, learning about the history of this country was literally heart-breaking. To know that people fought hard and died so that you could use the same BATHROOM as a white kid was f-ing mind-boggling to me as a kid. So to discount the political turmoil over labels in this country is so short sighted and ignorant. To say that we are all Americans and that is just what we are is easy to say when the constitution doesn’t say in it that your great grandfather was 3/5s of a person. Race relations in this country, and all over the world are no where near complete or finished and these organizations that exist to help people that someone called “charities”- which they are NOT- exist to ease the growing pains in this time period which is a hugely transitional one. There has never before been a country like the U.S. in the world where so many different people and cultures come together. It is the first of its kind. It is the reason this country is so great, but it is also the reason this country has issues- with race, healthcare, social security, poverty and lots of other issues- because we are a young nation trying to figure out how to do something that has never been done before. That requires open-mindedness and flexibility, which is something so many people lack, and why it is so hard to make it work.

Sorry for the rant, I just have had this conversation more times then I care to count.

jlm11f's avatar

@ jballou – i agree that the history is rich and sad at points. i also agree that african americans had to put through a lot. what i was trying to say is that if we still stick to overly PC terms, a mental segregation will always exist. because whenever you are in the company of a certain race (not necessarily African American, could be Chinese, Indian, Caucasian etc), you have to make sure you watch your words because you are too worried about saying something that MIGHT somehow in some ridiculous way offend someone. We aren’t trying to discount the history. We are trying to learn from it, embrace it and still move away from it. It’s a way of saying: we know the history and how life was in America during segregation and slavery, but we are not them. We are better than that.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

We are better than that. We segregate and enslave by the class now, not race.

jlm11f's avatar

haha exactly.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

@gailcalled said it. That is the exact reason why.

sunshine1234's avatar

In South Africa we have 4 official races: Black, White, Indian/Asian and Coloured.The term Coloured is used to describe someone of mixed ancestory. A Coloured person can be a mixture any of the previously mentioned races, many times all of these together. Many Coloured people have difficulty in tracing back when exactly their ancestors (of different races) mixed as this occured during colonial times. So, a Coloured persons parents, grandparents and sometimes even their grandparents are Coloured, therefore making it difficult to say when the mixing of the races occured as the persons “responsible” are no longer alive. In South Africa, Coloured people in the North are different from the Coloured people in the South. This is because the people in the North have Indigineous (Khoisan, etc), Black and White ancestory.Whereas, those in the South have Indian, Asian, White, Black and Indigineous ancestory. So, in South Africa we do not find the term offensive or racist. I am Coloured and I have been to Europe and there people have called me Black and it really pisses me off. Most Coloured people will be pissed as well. What must be understood is that yes we are brown (some of us at least – many Coloured people look Indian or White even) in colour but we are NOT Black because we have many other races in as well. I have Indian, Asian, Black and White in me but it doesn`t make me exclusively Indian, Asian, White or Black. I celebrate that I am a mixture of different races and therefore I am proud to call myself Coloured.

I understand and respect that in American and Europe the term Colored has a different meaning and that is why people are so offended.Perhaps you could give some information on this then my understanding will deepen.

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