“The black woman…”

Long ago, so long ago that I do not recall why, I consciously decided to avoid using any reference to a person’s race unless it was relevant to the point I was trying to make.  You learn from this discipline, for example, that you are often tempted to use color as a primary identifier of another person.  You also discover that you can actually pay attention to the other attributes which distinguish a person and use them both to identify them and to see them better as an individual.

Not to mention that it is much more respectful.

It is also interesting to watch the reaction of my listeners when they later discover the person’s race.  It is not necessarily that my listeners are bigoted, its just that they seem to think it odd that I talked about a black person without mentioning that they were black.

Having this habit deeply ingrained I was surprised when, on CNN during the third night of the Republican convention, a female commentator referred to one of the speakers — the president of a Trump foundation I believe — in a sentence that began (roughly) as follows: “The black woman said …”

As a person reporting on the convention you would think that she would have access to all of the information necessary to identify the speaker by name or title.  Even if she had neglected to research the identities of those she was being paid to critique, she still could have found a way to distinguish this speaker without using the word “black.”

I think, personally, that I would have been so embarrassed about knowing nothing about a person except their race and gender that I would have said nothing at all.

The lapse in (IMHO) good manners was all the more startling to me because it seemed to me at the time that the commentator herself was not white.

This all passed by before I got any notes as to the names of either the commentator or the speaker, so I cannot add any detail (yet?).

 

Advertisements