The Double Standard: 'Colored People' vs. 'People of Color' - Which Should Be More Offensive?

Courtesy of Eli Crane

A sitting member of Congress used the term “colored people” on the House floor, and it would be physically impossible for me to care about it less than I do right now. Yet, when Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) uttered the term, which he later clarified as a slip of the tongue, Democrats and their close friends and allies in the establishment media had a collective meltdown, pouncing on the opportunity to use the gaffe to smear the entire Republican Party as a band of frothing-at-the-mouth racists who despise black folks.


The incident occurred on Thursday during a floor debate over a proposed amendment to the annual defense bill:

Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz. referred to Black people as “colored people” Thursday in floor debate over his proposed amendment to an annual defense policy bill, prompting a stern rebuke from the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“My amendment has nothing to do with whether or not colored people or Black people or anybody can serve,” said Crane, who is in his first term. “It has nothing to do with any of that stuff.”

Lawmakers were debating a series of GOP-backed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, which the House aims to pass by the end of the week.

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) slammed Crane after he was finished speaking, demanding that his use of the term be stricken from the record.

“I find it offensive and very inappropriate,” Beatty remarked. “I am asking for unanimous consent to take down the words of referring to me or any of my colleagues as colored people.”

When asked later about his use of the term, Crane explained that he “misspoke.”

“In a heated floor debate on my amendment that would prohibit discrimination on the color of one’s skin in the Armed Forces, I misspoke,” the lawmaker said in a written statement. “Every one of us is made in the image of God and created equal.”

Many on the right pointed out the apparent contradiction of leftists using the term “people of color” while detesting the outdated “colored people” label. After all, what is the difference? But those pointing this out seem to be missing an even bigger reality that should be highlighted in this controversy: The use of “people of color” is far more damaging than simply referring to black folks as “colored people.”


Conservative commentator and podcaster Kira Davis wrote an op-ed years ago arguing against the inclusion of black Americans within the broader category of “people of color,” stating that the unique struggles and historical legacy of Black Americans should not be diluted or overshadowed by other minority experiences. She criticized the progressive left for appropriating and hijacking the civil rights struggles of Black America in order to gain victimhood status:

Being a “woman of color” is not the same thing as being a Black woman, and yet the progressive Left has decided it is. A woman of Indian or Mexican heritage may possibly find herself coming up against some kind of discrimination here and there but it is not, nor will it ever be the same thing as what Black women have faced in this nation historically and to this day.

Not even close.

I resent having to tie my heritage to that of other people who may have no history in this country prior to 40 or 50 years ago; people who don’t have communities that still deal with the fallout of slavery, Jim Crow, and the bloody civil rights struggle. Why should Ayanna Pressley be forced to share the national stage with three other women whose communities and ancestors have absolutely zero ties to the struggles of Black Americans?

Davis is right, as usual.

The term “colored people” was widely used during an era of overt racial discrimination and segregation, particularly during the Jim Crow era. This term carries a painful reminder of a time when black Americans were denied basic civil rights and subjected to systemic racism. While Crane’s use of this outdated term was foolhardy, it is crucial to recognize that it represents a relic of the past and lacks the widespread usage found in contemporary discussions.


On the other hand, lumping black Americans into the broader category of “people of color” oversimplifies their unique experiences and struggles. Black Americans have faced a distinct history of oppression, starting from the brutalities of slavery and continuing through the era of segregation and systemic racism. It is also a history of triumph, with many black folks overcoming the obstacles set in front of them by the government.

By applying such a generic label, the hard left is diluting the significance of this historical trajectory and undermining the specific challenges that black Americans continue to face today. It is essential to recognize and address these distinct experiences in order to foster true understanding and achieve lasting progress.

Using “people of color” as an umbrella term essentially erases the individuality and rich heritage of Black Americans. By homogenizing diverse racial and ethnic groups, we fail to acknowledge the unique cultural contributions and struggles that have shaped the black community. It also diminishes the ways in which black Americans have shaped the nation as well. The term “people of color” does not encapsulate the specific historical and ongoing fight for equality that Black Americans have experienced.

Perhaps it is progressives who should be facing scrutiny for daring to minimize the history of black Americans by trying to lump us in with all other racial minorities. It is they who seem reticent about the idea of letting black history stand on its own. Crane’s remarks were repudiated by folks on both sides. Yet, the “people of color” moniker still enjoys widespread popularity on the hard left, which claims to care about the plight of black Americans.



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