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To have gone right off Benedict Cumberbatch

(530 Posts)
UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Tue 27-Jan-15 04:22:52

I read today that Benedict Cumberbatch has had to apologise after using the phrase "coloured actors". Coloured? Seriously?

He did apologise and said that he knew it was wrong, but the fact that it was in his head in the first place is what's so troubling. I am older than him and have always known that "coloured" is an offensive term. Yes, I am aware that it wasn't considered so until the late 60s, but it hasn't been acceptable in his lifetime.

What was he not thinking?

Cherrypi Tue 27-Jan-15 04:44:07

People of colour is the acceptable term in America at the moment which is close to the old term coloured so maybe he got muddled up? Did he use it repeatedly or just once?

SurfsUp1 Tue 27-Jan-15 04:51:10

I'm so glad no one is around to record all the stupid things I say.

ithoughtofitfirst Tue 27-Jan-15 04:59:02

I was thinking that surfs !

startwig1982 Tue 27-Jan-15 05:06:09

I don't think it's that big a deal really. It's not as if he said he hates working with coloured actors. It's hard to keep up with what terminology is allowed these days and people seem to make a big hooha out of it especially if they're white

JapaneseMargaret Tue 27-Jan-15 05:53:36

Did you register what he was actually talking about? If so, I really don't see how you can get irate about this.

'People of colour' is freely used in the US - you can see how confusion might arise as to what is, and isn't, currently acceptable.

He has apologised unreservedly. This is a non-story, isn't it?

SlicedAndDiced Tue 27-Jan-15 06:01:42


My parents were much older when they had me and genuinely believed 'coloured' was the polite term and 'black' etc was racist.

My horror when I found out at school that it was the other way around....

When I told my parents they were very surprised and stopped using it immediately although sometimes they have to correct themselves.

Lunaballoon Tue 27-Jan-15 06:06:10

Why is it ok to say 'people of colour' while coloured is now viewed as offensive? <genuine question>

MythicalKings Tue 27-Jan-15 06:13:02

He misspoke. He won't do it again.

Much ado about nothing.

diggerdigsdogs Tue 27-Jan-15 06:13:20

I agree that this is a non story. Excellent apology from him

foreverdepressed Tue 27-Jan-15 06:18:22

I am "coloured" myself. I think it is a very old fashioned term and can be offensive depending on the context in which it is used.

Cumberbatch clearly he didn't mean to cause any offense, he simply isn't up to date with the PC terminology. I hope there isn't a social media witch hunt after him now. People are allowed to say silly things sometimes without having everyone assume they are bigoted/racist/etc.

He has apologised and everyone can now move on. So YABU to have 'gone off' him.

3littlefrogs Tue 27-Jan-15 06:21:43

Having worked in USA and the UK I know there are lots of words and expressions that are considered polite in one country and extremely offensive/out dated in the other.
It is a veritable minefield for the unwary.
He did apologise.

Besides - the overt racism I witnessed in America amongst supposedly well educated, intelligent people was a lot worse than anything I have heard in the UK.

portico Tue 27-Jan-15 06:22:46

I see no issue with what BC said. I think it is PC gone very mad. I aam English born, of Indian background. I am brown. It does not matter to me if I am called coloured or brown. It concerns me taht coloured and brown could be viewed as inappropriate. BC should not have had to apologise for what he said. PC based PR made it incumbent upon him to do so to protect his career. I feel sorry for him.

chillybillybob Tue 27-Jan-15 06:27:05

Again the media making a massive deal out of nothing. Move on

3littlefrogs Tue 27-Jan-15 06:28:33

SlicedAndDiced - that was the case 40 years ago.
It was considered very rude to refer to someone as "black".
Then it all changed and a whole generation became very confused.

Back in the late 60s/early 70s, I think it was, we weren't allowed to sing "Ba ba black sheep, or refer to a "black board" - it had to be called a "chalk board". Nightmare.

Alphonso Tue 27-Jan-15 06:29:43

Ironically he seems to have said it whilst decrying the fact that racism makes it difficult for black actors to get good roles in the UK. A good point to make but unfortunately the use of the term coloured is unbelievably crass and makes him sound incredibly patronising. It's probably due to very poor education. He's a public schoolboy, I believe, and public schools (at the time he attended at least) were absolutely awful at teaching children about diversity and race and were very much monochrome white environments to boot. No chance of drinking in knowledge simply from being in a place of ethnic diversity and meeting people different from yourself. I am roughly the same age as Benedict C and clearly remember feeling utterly shocked at some of the ignorance shown by otherwise lovely and intelligent people with a similar educational background as I hit my teens and early twenties and started mixing more widely.

wigglesrock Tue 27-Jan-15 06:37:18

He used a pejorative word in a throw away moment that to me speaks volumes about him - he's got out in front of it with an apology very quickly that doesn't mean he didn't say it - it just makes him look like a twat with good spin.

Iggi999 Tue 27-Jan-15 06:38:05

3littlefrogs - urban myth.

Chottie Tue 27-Jan-15 06:43:11

3littlefrogs and Iggi999

I taught in south London in the 80s and was clearly told by the Principal not to use the term 'blackboard' and coffee was either with or without milk. I was working in a Labour run borough.

missnevermind Tue 27-Jan-15 06:43:59

He used a descriptive word that when he was growing up was apropriate. Customs change. It is no longer the word used.
As soon as this was pointed out he apologised and changed it.

For those of us at school in the seventies it is a minefield remembering what words are currently in use.

charlestonchaplin Tue 27-Jan-15 06:45:01

We're all coloured aren't we? 'White' people are various shades of pink/peach. So 'coloured' is a particularly foolish term to use for a subset of the population.

It's really simple, especially in the UK. You can't go wrong with black, white, Asian, mixed race, olive skin (where appropriate). Those who don't struggle to 'keep up with the terminology' may use terms such as Afro-Caribbean, Caucasian, South-East Asian, but if tend to get confused, just stick to the basics.

TheWordFactory Tue 27-Jan-15 06:52:32

Nice bloke makes mistake and apologises - read all about it!

wigglesrock Tue 27-Jan-15 06:54:08

It wasnt appropriate when I was growing up, I'm 40 - my parents would have went through me for a short cut if I'd have used it. They never said it, my 88 year old Nana was the only person I knew that used it, and she was told it wasn't a word that was used anymore. He's younger than me.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Tue 27-Jan-15 06:55:47

I'd avoid mixed race actually.

CaptainAnkles Tue 27-Jan-15 06:55:50

If anyone is deeply upset or offended by him simply using the wrong word and then apologising profusely for it, they are just looking around for something to be offended by. The intent behind a word has more to do with it than a word chosen in error.

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