"African American"

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  • "African American"

    Setting, Vietnam, 60s:

    To introduce a young black sailor.

    Tall, lanky, young black sailor

    The only black sailor in the division

    Tall, young African American

    I don't recall ever hearing "negro" while I was
    in the Navy.

    Has anyone introduced a black any differently

  • #2
    Re: "African American"

    it depends. is the character actually African-American? if yes, that's usually how i indicate.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: "African American"

      I once saw a script describe Nelson Mandela as "African-American." True story.

      I try to strictly describe characters ethnically, eg. Irish, Italian, half-Puerto Rican, Mediterranean, Egyptian, etc. It's much more visual and meaningful than "black" or "white." As a Brazilian raised in the US, I have a small pet peeve about American perceptions of race (we think there are only 2), and this is my little way of pushing back against simplistic mentalities.

      But mostly I use it because it's superior screenwriting.

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      • #4
        Re: "African American"

        Don't think it matters much. Have seen both African American and black.

        would avoid as descriptors - negro, negroid and any other negative derivations of that word. To be safe, don't describe Black people the way hemmingway would.

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        • #5
          Re: "African American"

          Originally posted by Armak View Post
          II try to strictly describe characters ethnically, eg. Irish, Italian, half-Puerto Rican, Mediterranean, Egyptian, etc. It's much more visual and meaningful than "black" or "white."
          I think the danger in that is that you're describing nationality. If I say Scottish do I mean ginger hair, freckles, bagpipes swinging from their neck? Because Scotland has a massive Sikh community, so it could just as easily be a guy in a turban.

          Personally I'd just be up front and not worry too much - if he's black, call him black. If it matters that he's black African rather than Carribean then say it, but otherwise I'd just keep it simple.
          My stuff

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          • #6
            Re: "African American"

            Originally posted by Jon Jay View Post
            I think the danger in that is that you're describing nationality. If I say Scottish do I mean ginger hair, freckles, bagpipes swinging from their neck?
            Append "-American" to the nationalities in my last post. I write about Americans, so I will say eg. "Italian-American." Sometimes I will say "of Scotch-Irish descent" or something in the descriptive paragraph where I describe the turban and bagpipes. I like specificity, and white people are all kinds of ethnic types (as are black people).

            If they're foreign, that's revealed when they talk with an accent. I like to present the order of information as you would experience it in the moment on the screen; usually that means first you see a person, then you hear them speak. (I'm really anal about that)

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            • #7
              Re: "African American"

              This is going to be a Vermont thread, isn't it?

              HH

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              • #8
                Re: "African American"

                If you say he's 'a brother' everyone will know what you're talking about.
                It's the eye of the Tiger, it's the thrill of the fight

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                • #9
                  Re: "African American"

                  Honestly, it only depends on how many words I want to use at the time. The only exception, for me, is when I'm describing a kid as "black boy" doesn't really have a good ring to it.

                  I don't think it really matters. If your script is well written, if the stories and characters and dialogue are all top-notch, then the character will probably be changed to white anyway.
                  what the head makes cloudy the heart makes very clear

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                  • #10
                    Re: "African American"

                    Thanks for th einput. I wanted to describe him in the best light,
                    the kids would run up to him, vs being leary of us, to touch his
                    skin. He was an asset to our PR program.

                    No HH, let's not make this a "Vermont" thread

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: "African American"

                      Originally posted by Butch Jarvinen View Post
                      Setting, Vietnam, 60s:

                      To introduce a young black sailor.

                      Tall, lanky, young black sailor

                      The only black sailor in the division

                      Tall, young African American

                      I don't recall ever hearing "negro" while I was
                      in the Navy.

                      Has anyone introduced a black any differently
                      I would use black man or black sailor. Not every black person is from Africa, nor are all black people African American. It might depend on your story. For example, if I had a story set in South Africa I might opt to introduce a character as white as a point of clarification as whites are such a small percentage of the population as a whole.

                      Either way is acceptable, but I would only make the distinction if it were necessary to tell the story.

                      FA4
                      "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy b/c you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." -- Edward Snowden

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                      • #12
                        Re: "African American"

                        "Black" is fine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: "African American"

                          I use black. Never African-American, but that's a personal choice... I feel like it's too clinical and stuffy for a script description.

                          What I don't do is say "black sailor" or "black judge." To me, that's imparting a certain kind of overtly racial casting... as in, "You know, the black judge type."

                          Also, since we don't say "white sailor" routinely, it's setting up "black" as something in contrast to a norm, which it is not.

                          I will say things like: a sailor, young, thin, black, 20's.

                          I will also routinely call out "white" for characters if casting isn't already understood.

                          So, "McCONNELL, 20's, sailor, white, tattooed up and down his arms, stands on deck smoking a joint. He passes it to DAVIS, 20's, sailor, black, a hangdog look on his face. Davis sighs, takes a hit, then passes it back."

                          No black sailors. No white sailors. Race not more or less important than age, job, general look.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: "African American"

                            Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                            Not every black person is from Africa, nor are all black people African American.
                            Originally posted by FreshShabazz View Post
                            "Black" is fine.
                            All you need to know.

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