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ESL forum > Teaching material > Race in physical descriptions    

Race in physical descriptions



spinney
United Kingdom

Race in physical descriptions
 
I ´m currently updating a worksheet we have always used at our school for physical descriptions but I really don ´t like the lack of words denoting skin colour in the complexion box. And all the people in the illustrations are just white. That doesn ´t strike me as very representative of Europe in 2014. Anyway, I don ´t want to cause offence by putting in the wrong vocab.  I ´ve heard my black friends refer to themselves as black and Afrocarribean so, I think I ´ll be OK to put both but I noticed the online definition for Afrocarribean refers to people of African descent from the Carribean. Is that right? Isn ´t that a little restrictive? Also, What about Asian? It ´s the most populated part of the planet with all kinds of complexions and races but I ´ve noticed the English language seems to be a little too general on this. After all, calling somebody "Asian" could mean they are from Japan or from India. Any sugestions? 

19 Apr 2014      



ascincoquinas
Portugal

Hi Dale!

I came across with this definition online (LONGMAN DICTIONARY)

people also Black

a) belonging to the race of people who originally came from Africa and who have dark brown skin [↪ white]:
Over half the students are black.
b) [only before noun] relating to black people:
politics from a black perspective
Black and Asian music
http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/black_1

Anyway, it ´s just a definition. I suppose words have a negative or a positive meaning depending on who says what.... Of course, history has an important influence on words, expressions... Best ask people from different origins whether they find it offensive or otherwise.



19 Apr 2014     



ueslteacher
Ukraine

Maybe not what you ´re looking for but a rather extensive list of adjectives to describe skin tones
http://joshroby.com/downloads/skintonewords-alpha.pdf
http://joshroby.com/downloads/skintonewords-gradient.pdf
Edit: the documents are not mine, I just found them on the net.

19 Apr 2014     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

You make a good point Spinney. Black and Asian are fine to describe appearance - ´of Asian appearance ´ crops up in the news, but it meansfrom the subcontinent - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. But what about a Japanese or Chinese complexion? I ´m not sure. 

19 Apr 2014     



falco
Greece

You can say " a man / woman of colour ".

19 Apr 2014     



Tus Patel
India

we Indians are thumbnail different from Chinese or Japanese. so better we discriminated them on the basis of their complexion, eyes shape, nose shape etc. Indian + Pakistani + Shri Lankans can be labelled as ´Caucasoid ´ . Chinese + Japanese + Indonesians and others with similar complexion can be labelled as ´Mongoloid ´; Africans with their typical hair and nose can be said ´Negroid ´.

You can make amendments ...

20 Apr 2014     



spinney
United Kingdom

Thanks people! Oh, and nice little skin shade thingy there from Sophia. Could be useful for more advanced groups when talking about race and identity.

20 Apr 2014     



cheezels
New Zealand

Just a quick point....
In NZ we call people from India - Indians and people from Japan/Korea/China etc -Asian.

It was one of the things I quickly found out when I lived in London and worked in schools with "Asian" children who were from India, Pakistan etc 

20 Apr 2014     



spinney
United Kingdom

Thanks Cheezels. I think when we start looking at stuff like this, it starts getting very culture specific. Never knew that about New Zealand..

20 Apr 2014     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Spinney - don ´t forget ´freckled ´ to describe complexion. Wink

20 Apr 2014     



spinney
United Kingdom

Or just plain ginger. I think we used to be considered a race, once upon a time.

20 Apr 2014