All Humans are colored: +colored and -colored terms

German Version

In my contribution The „White“ and „Colored“ Myth / Shared presuppositions in conflict positions published yesterday, I made it clear to what extent, if we stick to the incorrect use of “Black and White” or “White, Black and Colored”, we leave racism deep in our being. For, as I said, the terms “white” and “black/colored” are not used for the color tones of human skin, but exclusively as symbolization of devaluations that we implicitly hold and perpetuate in this way: Everything positive is connoted with “white” and everything negative is connoted with “black” or “colored”.

This naturally leads to the question of which linguistic distinction would be more appropriate. The old distinction between „White” and „Black/Colored”, although it is wrong and in a perfidious-elegant, linguistically-implicit way secures the permanent devaluation of the “non-whites”, is something that seems to be indispensable for the description of social realities which habe to remain describable if we replace the words „Black/Colored“ und „White“.

Since all humans are colored, e.g. pink (“pig-colored”), yellow, red, light brown, dark brown and black-brown, we should, for lack of a better term, speak of “+colored” and “-colored”.

So instead of saying that „Whites” are privileged because they have an (easier or one at all) access to the education and health system – to everything that has to do with chances and choices – one could better say: The “+coloured“ people have a plus of social chances in every place and time in which the -coloured“ people have a clear minus.

Then we would come to this way of speaking, which is perhaps more appropriate to reality:

  • In America, but in Europe with its ancestors who became rich in the slave trade, there is a long tradition of subjugating the –Colored and keeping them one-down.
  • The -Colored are still today held by the +Colored rather without a chances and tend to be exploited.
  • The system of the “old +Colored men” is still quite intact.

To make it very clear here: “+Colored” means “privileged Corored” and “-Colored” means „Underprivileged Colored”. The „+“ and the „-„ in this use of language has nothing to do with the colour properties of human skin or the light properties of additive colour mixing.