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I had a conversation recently where someone was deathly afraid of referring to a person by their skin color. It went something like this:

Coworker: One of the people on the other team came by and said he wanted talk with you.

Me: What was his name?

Coworker: I don't remember. He was kind of tall and had short hair.

Me: Not sure who it was. What else?

Coworker: He was at Mary's retirement party and gave a speech.

Me: Still not sure.

Coworker: [leans in and whispers] He's black.

The coworker clearly thought it was inappropriate to refer to the person as "black", but felt it necessary to say because no other descriptors were working. They couldn't have referred to this person as "African American", since they just moved from the Caribbean (the person forgot what country they were from, but knew it wasn't Africa).

What would be the proper way to refer to a person with dark brown skin who is not African American?

This is in the United States. If regional differences matter, this is the Midwest (Ohio), and I'd like to know if it is different in different parts of the country.

I had a conversation recently where someone was deathly afraid of referring to a person by their skin color. It went something like this:

Coworker: One of the people on the other team came by and said he wanted talk with you.

Me: What was his name?

Coworker: I don't remember. He was kind of tall and had short hair.

Me: Not sure who it was. What else?

Coworker: He was at Mary's retirement party and gave a speech.

Me: Still not sure.

Coworker: [leans in and whispers] He's black.

The coworker clearly thought it was inappropriate to refer to the person as "black", but felt it necessary to say because no other descriptors were working. They couldn't have referred to this person as "African American", since they just moved from the Caribbean (the person forgot what country they were from, but knew it wasn't Africa).

What would be the proper way to refer to a person with dark brown skin who is not African American?

I had a conversation recently where someone was deathly afraid of referring to a person by their skin color. It went something like this:

Coworker: One of the people on the other team came by and said he wanted talk with you.

Me: What was his name?

Coworker: I don't remember. He was kind of tall and had short hair.

Me: Not sure who it was. What else?

Coworker: He was at Mary's retirement party and gave a speech.

Me: Still not sure.

Coworker: [leans in and whispers] He's black.

The coworker clearly thought it was inappropriate to refer to the person as "black", but felt it necessary to say because no other descriptors were working. They couldn't have referred to this person as "African American", since they just moved from the Caribbean (the person forgot what country they were from, but knew it wasn't Africa).

What would be the proper way to refer to a person with dark brown skin who is not African American?

This is in the United States. If regional differences matter, this is the Midwest (Ohio), and I'd like to know if it is different in different parts of the country.

2 there's no such thing as "an African appearance"
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What is the right way to refer to someone with an African appearancedark brown skin who is not African American?

I had a conversation recently where someone was deathly afraid of referring to a person by their skin color. It went something like this:

Coworker: One of the people on the other team came by and said he wanted talk with you.

Me: What was his name?

Coworker: I don't remember. He was kind of tall and had short hair.

Me: Not sure who it was. What else?

Coworker: He was at Mary's retirement party and gave a speech.

Me: Still not sure.

Coworker: [leans in and whispers][leans in and whispers] He's black.

The coworker clearly thought it was inappropriate to refer to the person as "black", but felt it necessary to say because no other descriptors were working. They couldn't have referred to this person as "African American", since they just moved from the Caribbean (the person forgot what country they were from, but knew it wasn't Africa). I imagine that "negro", "colored", or other terms were seen as inappropriate as well.

What would be the proper way to refer to a person with an African appearancedark brown skin who is not African American?

What is the right way to refer to someone with an African appearance who is not African American?

I had a conversation recently where someone was deathly afraid of referring to a person by their skin color. It went something like this:

Coworker: One of the people on the other team came by and said he wanted talk with you.

Me: What was his name?

Coworker: I don't remember. He was kind of tall and had short hair.

Me: Not sure who it was. What else?

Coworker: He was at Mary's retirement party and gave a speech.

Me: Still not sure.

Coworker: [leans in and whispers] He's black.

The coworker clearly thought it was inappropriate to refer to the person as "black", but felt it necessary to say because no other descriptors were working. They couldn't have referred to this person as "African American", since they just moved from the Caribbean (the person forgot what country they were from, but knew it wasn't Africa). I imagine that "negro", "colored", or other terms were seen as inappropriate as well.

What would be the proper way to refer to a person with an African appearance who is not African American?

What is the right way to refer to someone with dark brown skin who is not African American?

I had a conversation recently where someone was deathly afraid of referring to a person by their skin color. It went something like this:

Coworker: One of the people on the other team came by and said he wanted talk with you.

Me: What was his name?

Coworker: I don't remember. He was kind of tall and had short hair.

Me: Not sure who it was. What else?

Coworker: He was at Mary's retirement party and gave a speech.

Me: Still not sure.

Coworker: [leans in and whispers] He's black.

The coworker clearly thought it was inappropriate to refer to the person as "black", but felt it necessary to say because no other descriptors were working. They couldn't have referred to this person as "African American", since they just moved from the Caribbean (the person forgot what country they were from, but knew it wasn't Africa).

What would be the proper way to refer to a person with dark brown skin who is not African American?

1
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What is the right way to refer to someone with an African appearance who is not African American?

I had a conversation recently where someone was deathly afraid of referring to a person by their skin color. It went something like this:

Coworker: One of the people on the other team came by and said he wanted talk with you.

Me: What was his name?

Coworker: I don't remember. He was kind of tall and had short hair.

Me: Not sure who it was. What else?

Coworker: He was at Mary's retirement party and gave a speech.

Me: Still not sure.

Coworker: [leans in and whispers] He's black.

The coworker clearly thought it was inappropriate to refer to the person as "black", but felt it necessary to say because no other descriptors were working. They couldn't have referred to this person as "African American", since they just moved from the Caribbean (the person forgot what country they were from, but knew it wasn't Africa). I imagine that "negro", "colored", or other terms were seen as inappropriate as well.

What would be the proper way to refer to a person with an African appearance who is not African American?