hmm? This is one of those questions that can “start a lot of mess" (as my mom would say). I'm shocked you didn't get more racist comments (from people of all races).
The first step in answering this question would go to ask, "Why are we referring to people by their color/race/ethnicity/heritage (or whatever the heck you wanna call it) in the first place?" Hear me out…
This is my thinking:
When it comes to describing people, I use their "color/race etc..." as a last effort in my description. (If you do this, you usually never need to bring up one’s race.) The reason I started doing this is because I found that when talking to people about others, they would automatically mention if someone were "black" or "Afro-American" or what have you. That started to bother me. Another thing I starting noticing is people would tell me about their "black/Afro-Amer. etc..." friend, or co-worker when they were talking to me. I assumed they were doing it because I was black, and I was RIGHT! When I would ask people (obviously most of them were close friends) why they felt they needed to mention this person’s race, they couldn't answer me. I don’t think it had anything to do with racism.
(Disclaimer: Please be advised, my next statement is NOT meant to be racist although it might sound like it if taken the wrong way.)
As Americans, I believe we have been brainwashed to think that "White People" are just “people”, and people of other races/ethnicities/etc. need to be described by whatever race. Why? I believe it’s because the “White Man” (as he’s referred to by the original citizens of this country and MOST other Americans) is the one who “invented” (for lack of a better term) America. Now, I KNOW it’s a little more complicated than that and there are a LOT of people who will disagree with this statement and might say the “White Man” stole this land and forced “us” (the Black Man) to come over there. Well, the fact of the matter is WE’RE HERE!!! …and were it not for MANY great men and women of MANY different backgrounds, we wouldn’t live with the freedoms we live in now! (Can a get an “Amen”?!?!?)
Bottom line: It doesn’t matter what you call somebody (if you call the anything). If you’re REALLY concerned, just do what I do. Don’t call them ANYTHING unless it just comes down to it. I close with an example:
I am one of two Kevin’s at my church. We are both at same height and we are both drummers. There are several things that distinguish us. You can’t say, “Kevin, the drummer”, because we’re both drummers. You can’t even say, “the short Kevin” or “the tall Kevin”, because we’re about the same height. However, I can be referred to as “Jennifer’s Husband” and he can be referred to as “Melissa’s Husband”. I can be “Zane’s Daddy” and he can be “Gage’s Daddy.” I can be “Kevin the Loan Guy” and he can be “Kevin the Policeman”. I’m sure you can guess which one people choose. Why am I the black Kevin? Because American’s are silly! Do I like mind being “the Black Kevin”? It all depends on who’s saying it.
Again, don’t call anyone anything. If it comes down to “the two Kevin’s”, be creative. If it comes down to color, consider whom you’re talking to. If you’re still lost, it never hurts to ask, but be sincere! I hope this helps, my friend! Be Blessed!