Black (people)

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In referring to human beings, the term black can be used in several contexts. Its most common worldwide usage is probably to describe any person of sub-Saharan African ancestry. However, in specific countries it may refer to:

  • African Americans
  • Aborigines, the aboriginal peoples of Australia, or those with mixed ancestry, regardless of complexion
  • Specific segments of the African population. In apartheid South Africa, for example, many brown-skinned Africans and persons of mixed ethnicity were referred to as coloured, while black was reserved for people with the darkest hue
  • Especially when translated from other languages: a non-pejorative slang term for dark-skinned persons, whether or not of actual African ancestry, as: "Oye! Mira negra linda!" ("Hey! Look at the pretty dark (or black) girl!" in Puerto Rican Spanish
  • An intra-ethnic insult: "you're so black!" "get out of the sun! You'll get too black!"