When referring to the race and ethnicity does the word "coloured" mean anyone who is not white? For example "a distinct form of racism simply associates communities of colour with pollution." Also, is the term offensive? I found this in an academic paper.

1 Answer 1


n, pl Coloureds or Coloured

  1. (Peoples) an individual who is not a White person, esp a Black person
  2. (Peoples) a. a person of mixed ethnic parentage or descent b. a person of mixed ethnic descent speaking English or Afrikaans as their mother tongue

Adj. 3. (Peoples) designating or relating to a Coloured person or Coloured people

Usage: The use of Coloured to refer to a person of mixed ethnic origin is likely to cause offence and should be avoided.

Source: Collins Dict.

Usage in different countries:

1 Colored referring to skin color is first recorded in the early 17th century and was adopted in the US by emancipated slaves as a term of racial pride after the end of the Civil War. In the US, and in Britain (as coloured), it was the accepted term until the 1960s, when it was superseded by black. The term colored lost favor among black people during this period and is now widely regarded as offensive except in historical contexts and in particular as part of the name of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).

2 In South Africa, the term coloured (also written Coloured) has a different history. There it is used not as a synonym for black, but to refer to people of mixed-race parentage rather than to African peoples and their descendants. Under apartheid, it was imposed as an official racial designation. However, in modern use, the term is not generally considered offensive or derogatory.

Source: Oxfordonline Dict.

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