One third of the writers who wrote with me under the pen name of C. W. Bowie was Claudine Wirths.
(If she were alive today she'd be in her 90s if not reaching 100 years old, so you know she remembered how things were from a long, long time ago,)
When I was writing the biography of Marian Wright Edelman, I pondered about word use. Because of what Claudine told me, I opted to use the terms for people of color being used in each time period - her youth, her young married life, and 'modern times' (the 1990s).
This is what Claudine told me were the 'proper' ways, at least in the south where she grew up:
"I went from Colored people
to KneeGrow (Southerners had to mentally write it that way in their heads to say it right)
to African American
to People of Color -- which was circling back to where I started -- almost!
Sigh, I try to be PC, but am despairing"
Claudine G. Wirths
Did my editor appreciate how careful I had been to use the correct terms for each time period?
He insisted that everything be African American, even though Marian Wright Edelman preferred to use the term -- People of Color.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Thoughts from a Southern Lady
Labels: African Americans, Claudine Wirths, CW Bowie, historical accuracy, Marian Wright Edelman, People of Color, using the correct words
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What an interesting post. I like the idea of using the term that was used in each time period- because it is more realistic to the time. I also thought it was interesting to see the way the terms have changed and almost circled back to the beginning of her life. Thanks for sharing.
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