I am European, and I seem to understand that in North America it's particularly common to use the expression "Person of color" instead of, for example, "Black person".
I understand that it's meant as a positive expression, that conveys respect, that was used for the first time by American activist Martin Luther King Jr., and especially in the United States, is often associated with the social justice movement. So it does not seem to be an expression intended or expected to show arrogance or superiority towards the person "of color", at all; on the contrary, it's meant to show respect.
So does saying "Person of color" actually convey more respect than saying "Black person" ? Doesn't "of color" imply that the only thing that matters is whether you are white or not, and if you are not, it doesn't matter what you are ? There are the whites at one side and all the others at the other side, will this be actually perceived as more respectful ? In fact, as I would have expected, there are instances where people take issue with being called "of color", for example as per the second quote in this answer .
I would like to avoid calling people "of color" or anything in general that means non-white, because it would make me feel like I'm coming across as an empty arrogant as I am white, and because I do think that people have excellent reasons to react annoyed to being described as "of color". But at the same time, although my own logic would tell me so, the vast majority of times that doesn't seem to be the case. Apparently it's most often meant and received as respect.
So how do I pick the right expression to avoid an annoyed reaction ? Is the "annoyed" reaction an edge case ? Or maybe that type of reaction is only common in individuals from specific groups, so that this can be taken into account to pick the expression to use ? Or are there alternative and less controversial expressions that could be used instead ? The latter would be the easiest to implement in my case because I already feel that "of color" is objectively a poor choice and I don't think I want to use it anyway.
I am thinking not only of cases where I am speaking directly to the person "of color". I am also thinking of cases where I am speaking with persons "not of color" to whom I still don't want to give the same impression of arrogance and poorly concealed self-superiority that I get when I hear other people using that expression (as a non-American unfamiliar with the usage of this expression).