General Question

elchoopanebre's avatar

What's the "politically correct" term for a black person not in America?

Asked by elchoopanebre (3074points) July 1st, 2008

In the U.S. it’s “African American” but what if the person is in Britain, Ireland, Spain, etc? Do they prefer to be called black?

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34 Answers

beast's avatar

African Brit, African Spaniard, etc.

Jbor's avatar

‘Black’ in Denmark is derogatory. African would be much more approriate. Neger (which is the danish N word) falls somewhere in between.

Allie's avatar

African-(country affiliation here)?

flameboi's avatar

I agree with Allie

elchoopanebre's avatar

Are you sure, Beast? I want someone to tell me from experience in their country.

Jbor's avatar

I don’t believe europeans add the second country, so no danish african. The most politically correct word is either immigrant or second generation dane.

beast's avatar


I visited some forums and got people’s opinions from other countries. They said that they just refer to blacks as “black people”.

Or, Borat and I refer to one as “chocolate face”.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I dont know about anywhere else but in the UK calling some one of Caribbean dissent African will not make you popular.

Lightlyseared's avatar

personally I just go with people.

beast's avatar

In France, they call them “noirs” meaning “black people” or “les gens de descendence africaine” meaning “people descending from africaine roots”.

In England they refer to Black people and Indian people as Darkies.

elchoopanebre's avatar

So what do you call dark-colored African origin people who might happen to be Caribbean or African but you don’t know yet?

elchoopanebre's avatar

Is “darkies” a derogatory term?

Do they mind?

I don’t think Anglo-European white people would like being called “Whities”

Lightlyseared's avatar

Darkies is a derogatory term and Ive never heard it used in the UK.

robmandu's avatar

@elcho, beast’s answers, I’ve found, go best with a rather large grain of salt.

richardhenry's avatar

I’m from the UK, and we never hear the term “African Brit”. Outside of America, you will very rarely hear “African Any Nationality” outside of a conversation about heritage. We just say “black” in casual conversation.

@elchoopanebre: You would probably get punched for calling someone a ‘darkie’.

@beast: Nobody uses ‘darkie’ in Britain outside of being racist.

elchoopanebre's avatar



That’s what I was looking for.

It’s what i was expecting, as well.

richardhenry's avatar

I think partly it’s because the majority of black people in Britain are not from African decent. Since there’s not always an easy way to tell, we just use the term “black”. In America, the majority of black people are probably from African decent, so it makes sense.

robmandu's avatar

@all, no one in the U.S. would use “darkie” without also expecting a punch in the face.

richardhenry's avatar

@robmandu: I was going to say!

uno's avatar

As long as you’re in the U.S.; “foreigner”.

beast's avatar

Not my opinions, people. I just saw the word “darkies” in a forum referring to British blacks. Don’t think I’m a racist. But the French term is correct, yes?

spendy's avatar

I have a significant number of black friends who prefer to be called just that – black. They don’t particularly enjoy hearing African American. Why that is, I can’t say. I also know that in Belgium (same as France) they refer to black people as “les noirs” (as previously posted), which simply means black people. The term is used in casual conversation, not in a derogatory sense.

lefteh's avatar

I don’t use African-American in America.
Quite frankly, I think it’s stupid and outdated. Hyphenated ethnicities are for immigrants, emigrants, etc. If you were born here, and especially if your parents or even grandparents were born here, you are an American. You are not an African-American, however you may be black. You are no more an African-American than I am a German-American.

shrubbery's avatar

In Australia, the native “black people” are Aboriginal. If they’re not Aboriginal, they are just African or plain Australian I guess. African-Australian sounds fine to me but I don’t know if anyone actually uses that. I just say “Dark skinned person” when I’m not sure.

tinyfaery's avatar

@richardhenry Aren’t all black people of African decent? Before slavery, black people were never on any other continent (as far as I know).

lefteh's avatar

Aren’t all people of African descent? Before the great migrations out of Africa, people were never on any other continent.


I guess it’s all a question of where the line is drawn between where you are from and where you are now. If you look at it the way I just did, we are all African-Americans. If you look at it the way I did in my previous post, only first generation immigrants are African-Americans.

Spargett's avatar

I will expect people to call me “German-French American”, even though I was born in America, just like the “African Americans” who have never set foot in Africa.

stevenb's avatar

Well I am an American. I could go with Norwegian, German, Swedish, Native American, American, but its just too much of a mouthful.

Seesul's avatar

I have a friend who is a darker color than I am (not saying much, I am extremely pale. Most people would refer to her as black. When I first met her, it was in the early 70’s when the terms used today were just being defined. I asked her what she preferred to be called. Her answer was by her first name.

susanc's avatar

@tinyfaery, the aborigines of Australia are pretty darn black,
and they didn’t come from Africa.
There are extremely dark people in South India and Sri Lanka who didn’t come through Africa too.
Since we all came from Africa one way or another,
we should probably go back home and check it out. We could use our Stimulus Packages to get started.

Siren's avatar

I think it’s all a matter of perspective and opinion – that of the individual being asked their nationality/background. Sometimes it’s better just to ask that individual (when in a group) what they prefer themselves to be called, and cite all the names “black”, “African American”, etc. I have heard from many black friends and associates in America who have all kinds of preferences, and some are quite offended when they hear the other preference being uttered.

It is understandably a touchy subject for all considering this country’s history of racism (ie we tread lightly now). Kind of like asking someone from an American tribe if they prefer “native” to “Indian” and so on.

bea2345's avatar

Call us all black, please. On further consideration: keep it simple. Don’t call us anything except, perhaps, by our proper names. About the only time a person’s race is of importance is for the identification of his dead body.

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