They have always struck me as being such, given their histories and the overtones associated with them – both cultural and inherent.  White generally means good and black something bad.

For myself I use geographical identity terms — African American, European, Asian American or national identity ones, e.g. Canadian, French Canadian, German, Irish — some of which can be combined, e.g. Irish American.

“Black Man” has all sorts of negative connotations that I need not spell  out here and people act on these — not just police discriminating against individuals or groups.  I always knew that my chances were to get better treatment because I was “white,” e.g. when stopped for speeding did I rarely get a ticket.

I know that many people use “black” and “white” without intending any prejudicial connotations.  But they are there, nevertheless.  Our statistics of employment, imprisonment, and many other such manifest the prejudices or privileges of those so identified.  It is hard to escape the historic roots of terms.  We no longer use the ‘n’ words, but let’s not forget their roots in the color terms.

What do you think?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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