"People of color" was; Re: Whom Hispanics call "Hispanic" -- or not

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Thu May 28 18:40:35 UTC 2009

    Since everyone has a skin color of one sort or another, the term "people of color" has always struck me as inappropriate, a bit like referring to "people of gender."
    Which reminds me:  Some years ago the Affirmative Action officer on my campus informed my department that it was very weak from the viewpoint of Affirmative Action.  I was surprised and drew his attention to all the women in the department.  He replied that they didn't count.  One woman was Canadian, and the others had a non-tenure-track appointment.
     The rejection of Affirmative Action status for the Canadian woman (tenured, long-time member of the department) struck me as amusing.  It meant that for Affirmative-Action purposes only *American* women are really women.  I didn't press the issue,
but I later told another faculty member that foreign countries have lots of little babies running around.  But according to Affirmative Action there are no women in those countries!  Where do all those babies come from?
     I'm still trying to figure it out.
Gerald Cohen

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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