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Don't know if this is the wrong forum for this. I'm writing a script and I have described a character in it as "a tall black dude". Would that be considered controversial in the US?

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    This is not an English grammar question. If anything, it is an etiquette question, but the answer would be opinion-based. – Astralbee Dec 9 '20 at 12:40
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    @Astralbee It's totally a grammar question. It's the sort of thing defined in publication style guides, for instance. – nick012000 Dec 9 '20 at 15:09
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    It is not a grammar question. It would also be correct grammar to say "a tall colored person". It is not a matter of grammar, but of etiquette. – James K Dec 9 '20 at 18:17
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    That is indeed a much more polite term. However the expression "colored person" is correct grammar. There are lots more rude, racist and insulting expressions that are perfectly correct grammar. – James K Dec 10 '20 at 1:04
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    I’m voting to close this question because It should be migrated to Writing.SE. – David Siegel Dec 10 '20 at 3:30
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Black should be capitalized, but it would otherwise be fine.

When used to describe Americans of African descent, "Black" is not just an acceptable term to describe them with, but is is in fact the preferred term - but when doing so, it should be capitalized.

To quote the New York Times, in a recent article they published regarding a change in their policy on the matter:

Decades later, a monthlong internal discussion at The Times led the paper on Tuesday to make, for similar reasons, its latest style change on race — capitalizing Black when describing people and cultures of African origin.

“We believe this style best conveys elements of shared history and identity, and reflects our goal to be respectful of all the people and communities we cover,” said Dean Baquet, The Times’s executive editor, and Phil Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, in a memo to staff.

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    +1. I am of the opinion that this question is a word usage question. One minor thing with your answer is that one of the reasons "Black" is quickly becoming the preferred term is that it transcends and subsumes other terms such as "African American". "Black" is more than "African American".It is greater and more universal. – Eddie Kal Dec 10 '20 at 3:20
  • I don't claim to speak for all black (or Black) people, but I don't think a newspaper style-guide gets to determine what they want to be called. Even the mighty NY Times with its mainly affluent, over 50, white readership. This would be a great answer to the question "should 'black' have a capital B" but sadly the question was "would it be controversial". – Astralbee Dec 10 '20 at 15:29
  • @Astralbee The newspaper updated their style guide after consulting with them over their preferred nomenclature. – nick012000 Dec 10 '20 at 21:36
  • @nick012000 "Them". Could this get any more offensive? – Astralbee Dec 11 '20 at 8:25
  • @Astralbee I'm not sure why you're taking someone referring to a group of people that they don't belong to as "them" as offensive. I'm White, so of course I would refer to Black people as "them" rather than "us". The New York Times updated their style guide after consulting their Black staff members. – nick012000 Dec 12 '20 at 5:43

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