How to talk about skin color in English
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How to talk about skin color in English

Hi. I’m going to teach you… [Laughs] I need an opening again. Boo. Today I’m going to teach you something
that a lot of people coming to Canada or travelling have different
opinions about, and you guys need to know some things that
are considered offensive, which means bad, and what’s considered, like, hmm, maybe
okay. What I’m going to teach you is about talking about people, how to
describe them by skin colour. Be careful, you could
get into some fights. Guess what? Nobody in the world is yellow.
Okay? You guys from Japan and Korea, and if you’re Asian, you’re not yellow. If somebody
calls you yellow, it’s very, very, very racist. Mm-hmm. Maybe you guys have learned that you’re
called yellow… Are you a banana, though? Come on. I’ve heard a lot of people from
Japan and Korea and China say: “I’m yellow.” It’s, for us, kind of rude. So maybe for you it’s
okay. I don’t know. But basically, we do not call people yellow, because
they’re not giant bananas. You cannot say “black man”. “Black” is okay. I think they
know it’s a man. Hmm, maybe they don’t. If you don’t know if it’s a man or a
woman, it’s cool. You can just say: “Black”. Do not say: “Black man”. Also racist,
considered offensive is “coloured”. A long time ago, people would separate people from white
people and coloured people, which means black people. We are not living in the 1950s, thank god. In
America, we do not separate people by colour. All of these ones are
highly offensive and wrong. Red, we used to describe as Native
Americans or Native Canadians that were also known as Indians, which is
probably offensive to someone somewhere. We’ve had American football
team called the Redskins, picture of an Indian
or a Native American. The fan was hit with some … So, you cannot say that
people are red-skinned. There’s another nasty
word called the “n-bomb”, and it rhymes with “jigger”. So, replace the “n”, you’ve got it figured out. This
is a really, really, really bad word sometimes, and along with the word “negro”. So, maybe
in your language “negro” means black, that’s cool, but when you call someone negro, it is,
again, old-fashioned, and therefore offensive. So, be careful ladies and germs, do not use these
words; they are considered bad and offensive to people. Other than
that, open market. So, what can you call people? If…? I mean,
everyone’s going to get offended, but: White. White people. White people like to be called
white people, because I don’t know, we just don’t have another colour. I’m pretty white. I got
some spots, too, so maybe you call me “spotty”? I don’t know. So, you can call people
white, you can call people black. Another fancy word for black is “ebony”.
Mm-hmm. My ebony princess. People from the Middle East and people from India,
people from Pakistan, Sri Lanka-represent-are considered brown because there’s different
shades, obviously, of black and brown, but Middle Eastern people, for the most part, are
considered to be brown; they’re not black, they’re not white. Good. We also have something called olive-coloured
skin. Now, this is kind of Mediterranean people. So people from the Middle East or people from
Iran, people from Iraq, Afghanistan. You guys might be a little bit olive coloured. You
might be brown, you might be black, you might be white. I don’t know. We also have another word that… I don’t
know if it’s offensive. It’s “swarthy”. I like it, “swarthy”. It’s kind of an
older word, and it basically means that (it’s a gentleman) has darker skin. So they’re not
a white guy, they’re not Whitey Jones. “swarthy” means kind of a mixture of brown and olive
together. It’s supposed to be like a really beautiful skin colour,
which I think. Here’s another one that I’ve grown up with, but
I don’t know, some people might get offended by, like everything I say, people take
offense to it maybe. Don’t care, really. “Mulatto” means that you are both black and
white; you’re mixed together. Maybe your dad is black, your mom is white.
We, politically correct people, mm-hmm, they say bi-racial
or multi-racial, but this could really cover anything, so you
could be, for example, Asian and White, you’d be considered bi-racial. But “mulatto”
basically means you’re black and white. Not… Not stripes, though;
just you’re brown. Okay? We also have shades of black and brown, so
someone could be light brown, someone could be dark brown. I’ve seen words used like “dark
chocolate”. Mm-hmm. I don’t know, if you would like to be called dark chocolate or milk chocolate,
that’s fine. I don’t know if people get offended by that. You can all my whitey, white, white,
freckly bits of peaches and cream. You would probably just talk to the person and ask them
if they mind if you called them something like a food. Check it out. They might
like it. And then you could eat them, This is why we can’t call people yellow: If
your skin is green or yellow or grey, this indicates that you’re sick. If some people are
yellow, they have what’s called jaundice. Jaundice is a disease which turns the skin
actually yellow. So, guess what? Unless you have jaundice, you’re not allowed to say that
people have yellow skin. If you’re going green or grey, you’re pretty sick. Some people go
green before they-blah-throw up, which is always nice. Or they go really, really pale.
“Pale” means really, really white. Mm-hmm. We also have “pallid”, which means really,
really pale. And then one step down is pasty. I like this word, pasty. “Pasty” means that
you’re going to throw up. You look really, really sick. You will probably faint. These
words all indicate some kind of sickness. So if someone’s grey, it’s not a good thing.
If someone’s pasty or if they’re green, get out of the way because they’ll probably
barf on you. Not a good thing. I don’t care what
colour they are. Other kind of expressions that we have for
skin colour, like I said, are white. Now, if you see someone that’s really, really,
really, really, really white, like very, very, very pale, they’re what’s called “albino”.
Now, albino people are really, really unique and cool and different. Albino people have
literally super pale white skin, their hair is white, and their eyes are pink. It’s so
cool. Eye colour, red, pink. Okay? We… You probably have heard about albino rats or albino
animals. Humans can be albinos, too. An interesting thing about albinos, too, is they’re not really
good in the sun because they’re so white, and the sun hurts their eyes. Really cool.
If you see an albino, just be like: “Hi.” Just talk to them, because
they’re normal people. Okay? We are obsessed in Canada, in North America
with being bronzed, or golden, or tan. Probably any culture that has white people, we always
want to be darker than we are. So if someone has bronzed or tanned or golden skin, it means
that they’re white or ish, but they’ve been in the sun and
they’ve got a tan. You will also hear advertisements for makeup
that say: “Sun-kissed”, like the sun kisses you. Guess what? When the sun kisses me, it
burns me, so I get sun burnt; I get red like a big lobster. I’m so white. If you hear someone saying that he
is dark, there’s an expression: “Tall, dark, and handsome.” This actually doesn’t refer to skin colour.
It means that their hair and/or their eyes are dark. So they might have dark hair
and/or dark eyes. Not one eye, both of them. Freckled, hi, that’s me. Freckles are these
beautiful pigmentations I have on my skin. So usually white people are freckled. Some
people that are brown are freckled, too. So cute. Or Asian people have
freckles, it’s so cute. And the last one is rosy. If you have a rosy
complexion or if you have rosy cheeks, it means that maybe you’ve been running, maybe
you’re really drunk, or really, really hot. “Rosy” means that your face has become a little
bit red. But this is always a positive thing; not a bad thing. There’s one more thing that
would make your face red that would be bad, and it’s called the Celtic flush. And this
is what some people have if they’re Celtic, and if they drink, their faces go red.
My mom has that. She drinks tea. Maybe there’s a reason
why she drinks tea. So, what you can do now
is you can be able to describe people by skin colour
without offending people. So remember: These ones are
bad, these ones are good, these ones mean you’re sick,
and these are just different. What skin colour do you have? Let me know in the comments.


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