colored people, Afro-American
<<"Ahh," said my female part-Japanese friend, "that's the problem... 'oriental' means 'East'. East of where? East of Europe and the US. It's offensive to be designated as 'Eastern' in relation to *someone else's* position on the compass".>>
In the same vein, perhaps we should purge from our vocabularies the use of --
"Northerner" (if you're from the South) to refer to people from northern USA.
"Southerner" (if you're from the North) to refer to people from southern USA.
"The Western World" / "The West" / "Occidental" (if you're not from there) to refer to the people & culture of/from Europe.
"Middle Eastern" / "Mideastern" (if you're not from there) to refer to people from Western Asia.
and so on...
<<Was 'Were they black or white?' They happened to be white, so I said that but afterwards I thought, well what if they were Chinese or Indian?>>
Umm, then you would say Indian... Ok maybe he should have said "black white or something else" but even so, what do you expect? For him to read off a list of thousands of different ethnicities?
>>Umm, then you would say Indian... Ok maybe he should have said "black white or something else" but even so, what do you expect? For him to read off a list of thousands of different ethnicities? <<
No, it would make much more sense to ask what ethnicity you perceived them to be.
To the poster who asked if there's an assumption that Indians don't steal, no not at all. As I said, in the UK, every one who isn't of European descent can be classified as black, although this sits very uneasily on the shoulders of Oriental people, and I doubt many people would describe them as such. But even if you accept that classification, my point really was, that if that is the case, then the term 'black' covers a whole spectrum of appearances, and therefore won't be of much help as a description.
The policeman I was talking to was black himself. I don't remember what else he said, but he didn't particularly emphasis one race for me at the time, but did say 'African-American'.
The guest who said 'black' can be used to mean 'non-white' in the UK is probably an American. The term 'black' does _not_ mean Indian or Oriental or anything other than of African origin. I've heard other Americans say this and I can only assume it's a misunderstanding of what was said. If someone said 'Were they black or white?' I think there was probably an intended ellipsis that somehow was lost in translation. If you ask 'Was he tall or short?' it does not rule the response that he was an average height and this really needs to be put into the context of race too, as height varies across race.
>>The guest who said 'black' can be used to mean 'non-white' in the UK is probably an American. The term 'black' does _not_ mean Indian or Oriental or anything other than of African origin<<
I am from the UK and being of mixed white/Indian origin I am aware of how people can be classified. Officially everyone who isn't of purely European descent can be classified as black, although if you described some one as black, it would usually be assumed you were referring to some one of African descent. I would be surprised if any one actually described me as black (although it was thrown my way quite regularly as an insult when I was a child), but on an official document I have seen myself classified as such. I remember a few years back they did a list of influential Black Britons, and St George was on it, because apparently he was actually of Palestinian descent.