"So what I'm saying is that whilst it is clear that kdt hasn't had much experience with people from other cultures, races, planets, etc., he hasn't been offensive at all."
I have no problem being called an ignernt redneck. That's pretty much what I am. What else could I be after growing up in Utah, steeped in Mormon doctrine/culture which includes the disgusting proposal that certain pre-mortal spirits "rode the fence" when it came to deciding whether to fight on God's or Satan's side in the war in Heaven ... and that God caused those fence-riders to be born with dark/brown/black skin (thus subjecting them to an "appropriately" low station in mortality) as a penalty for their wishy-washiness where cosmic issues were at stake. A church that would let black males be churchmembers but wouldn't let said males hold the Priesthood -- not until around 1980 when public outcry against white-against-black bigotry became so deafening that the General Authorities coincidentally "announced that God had now told them" [read: realized that their public relations would soon circle down the drain unless they were] to finally start letting blacks have the Priesthood.
That's the kind of church, attitudes, and culture that I grew up in. My dad plain old hates blacks and always seizes the opportunity to brag about it whenever company's over. Given all that, I consider myself to have done quite well by realizing that the church was/is full of shit in its doctrines and attitudes about blacks, and that blacks as a whole haven't done anything wrong to hurt the United States or anyone/anything else; it's the whites who are predominantly blameworthy for all that.
I started this thread because I *knew*
I needed to identify better with blacks and with other minority cultures worldwide, if I was ever to have a hope of being a tiny bit of the catalyst that might one day bring "poly majorities" and "poly minorities" together in increasingly more forums, and in increasingly more local poly groups and functions. I don't propose to "save the world" here. I just want to know some humble little things I can do to play a better part in my own role in this mixed-up world.
If fixing what I call black people will help, then great, I'm glad to do so. But this thread has demonstrated that the right thing to call black peoples is far from agreed upon (even in the States let alone worldwide). So the best I can do is try to guess at which pejorative will offend the least people (especially among minorities), and apologize to any whom the pejorative does offend. Boy would I love one "safe moniker" we could use world-round, but such doesn't exist and probably never will. And that's why I urge us to "settle down" about the whole nomenclature issue and focus on our attitudes, tone of voice (which can often somehow be detected even via the internet), and the physical way in which we pose ourselves towards minorities and how we physically treat them. Again, using words to change attitudes is, IMO, almost always pulling the cart before the horse. It's a sad reality given how hard people have tried to choose the right word to signify all blacks. But it's reality and we're stuck with it.
Heck I was born into "the Utah bag," rarely ever leaving my state let alone leaving my country. So do I have a lot to learn about the wide range of "black cultures" populating the world? Hell to the yeah. Strange coincidence, ain't it, that most black people seem to feel quite uncomfortable about the idea of living in Utah; hence, Utah remains almost totally (I'd say 97-99%) "black free."
The best chance I had to understand at least one particular black culture better was when I worked as a missionary in Detroit, and when (after marrying a women I'd met and grown close with in Michigan) I subsequently spent twenty years living in the suburbs just north of Detroit. That latter opportunity was much less rich than my missionary opportunity, because the black population of Detroit and the white population of its suburbs are pretty starkly separated. While living in those suburbs, I only occasionally ran into a black person here or there, and never got to know any of them much.
But as a missionary, I was blessed to "baptize myself by immersion" into the midst of black homes, persons, and communities. That baptism lasted about six months and shines as six of the most attitude-adjustment-wise productive months of my life. I didn't just get to know the race/culture there better. I plumb fell in love with it. And in so doing, by the way, I also earned the ire of many white Mormons who lived in the suburbs just north of that part of Detroit.
So I love black people, but I freely admit that I don't understand them as much (and certainly haven't learned of their worldwide diversity) as I should. I don't know how to properly identify with any of them. I'm stuck in the "NRE" stage of how I feel about black people as a whole. The LTR getting-to-know-you stage lies out of my reach for the moment. Which in fact is exactly one of the main reasons I started this thread. So that I could gain knowledge, understanding, appreciation, etc.. I *want*
to understand what it must be like to wear a black person's shoes -- in the U.S., in the U.K., and all over the world. I can totally see that one black culture can be very very different from another black culture.
So for those black people who've been so generous in giving to and lifting up this thread and its objectives: Thank you. I hope I'll never offend any of you so much that you couldn't forgive me or wouldn't want to continue to converse with me, and that you'll continue to try to teach me all you can of what you feel I ought to know, say, and do.
Said in warmest of sincerity,