The Mormon Faith & Black Folks
Question #7

Q. Isn’t calling black folks “Negroes” an insult?

A. Not when they used it.  The term Negro was for almost two hundred years a respectful term used for black folks; as was Colored. This did not change until the mid to late 1960s. Since then, Mormons have used blacks, or African or African-American or Afro-Brazilian,  etc. We need not repeat the disrespectful terms here.

The Greek term for a black person is Aethiops, and the Hebrew is Khooshee (Cushite). Some have suggested that the term Afrikan be used for black people (wherever on earth they are born and live); as opposed to African (a person from Africa). Others have suggested Khemee; an Egyptian term meaning  “descendent of Khem” (Ham). A few others have suggested Nubian (a person from Nubia); the most ancient term for black people ever found (in Ancient Egyptian writings). Brigham Young sometimes called black folks “Canaanites”; since the original Egyptians were in fact Canaanites; the descendants of Ham and Egyptus through Canaan.

The Arabs call black folks Sudan (Arabic: “blacks”), or Habshee (Abyssinian), or Zanj (from Zanzibar), or Khafir (“Infidel”--a derogatory term). Black Africans usually refer to themselves by their tribal affiliation (Mande, Bantu, Hausa, Zulu, Yoruban, Dogon, etc.), but when speaking to whites they usually refer to themselves simply as Africans.

The word ‘Negro’ is Spanish and  simply means ‘Black’. It refers to a person of black African descent, but not to black-skinned people of other races like the Dravidians of India and Sri Lanka, the Negritoes of the Philippines and Indonesia, the Melanesians of Polynesia and New Guinea, and the Aborigines of Australia.

Please feel free to e-mail Darrick Evenson

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