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Inappropriate phrase?

(15 Posts)
Clawdy Wed 13-Jun-18 11:53:59

At book group the other night, conversation turned to the royal wedding, and one of our members said approvingly how lovely it was that someone from "a dusky background" was now part of the royal family. I said straight away that was an awful phrase, and most of the group did not agree. One said "But dusky is a lovely, evocative word!" We argued for a bit, then I shut up. What do you think?

TheBigFatMermaid Wed 13-Jun-18 12:09:03

Well, I guess it is better than the phrase common in my youth, half caste. That truly is awful.

Still don't think it's great though.

MissionItsPossible Wed 13-Jun-18 12:19:52

I've never heard of such a phrase before, unlike the ghastly half-caste.

Lollypoplollypoplolollylolypop Wed 13-Jun-18 12:21:33

Agree with you OP. It's not a nice word to describe someone's background. Almost like dusty or dirty.

NotTakenUsername Wed 13-Jun-18 12:30:51

I love the sentiment they were sharing. I’m not sure I would have had it in me to make such a to do about a phrase that is questionable at worst when the sentiment was so positive.

Clawdy Wed 13-Jun-18 12:34:01

Yes, I was probably being a bit over-sensitive, wasn't I? It did worry me afterwards.

RoseWhiteTips Wed 13-Jun-18 15:08:44

I don’t like the phrashe. It’s like damning with faint praise.

3out Wed 13-Jun-18 15:12:55

I’d have thought dusky meant shady?

Clawdy Wed 13-Jun-18 15:41:57

It just sounded odd and old-fashioned, in the wrong way.

StruggsToFunc Wed 13-Jun-18 16:15:56

It's up there with 'exotic'. It's a bit dog-whistly. It's problematic because it assumes that European whiteness is the norm and anything else is 'other' or foreign.

StruggsToFunc Wed 13-Jun-18 16:18:30

(Which is not to say that the person who said it intended to be racist. There is still a hangover amongst a certain generation that it is rude to use terms like 'black'. My MIL insists that 'coloured' is still more polite than 'black', no matter how many times we explain. It is particularly tricky to convince her now that she has realised that 'person of colour' is considered acceptable; she can't see the difference).

SemperIdem Wed 13-Jun-18 16:22:56

It would make me twitch too.

I find all the “it’s so lovely a black woman is part of the Royal family” sayers a bit odd, makes it sound like the Royal Family are filling their diversity quota rather than Harry marrying the woman he loves (I appreciate it is historic but people just go on about it so much). Even worse are the people who comment they thought Harry would marry an “English Rose”.

IWillSurviv Wed 13-Jun-18 16:24:13

OP out of curiosity, would it be okay with you had she said, 'Black background'?

Clawdy Wed 13-Jun-18 16:30:40

I think it would have sounded better, yes. What she said reminded me of those 1950s books describing "dusky maidens".

IWillSurviv Wed 13-Jun-18 22:42:13

That's fair enough. I wasn't sure wether it was the word she used you didn't like or the fact she brought race into it at all.

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