Good Morning America co-anchor Amy Robach has apologized for saying "colored people" on Monday's broadcast of the ABC program, the AP reports. During a segment on diversity in Hollywood, Robach, who was substituting for Robin Roberts, noted recent criticism for casting white actors "in what one might assume should be a role reserved for colored people." Her use of the term sparked criticism on social media, with one viewer tweeting, "Offensive," while another said Robach "gets a pass this time" but vowed to ditch GMA for a rival morning program if it happened again. After the broadcast, Robach released a statement explaining she had meant to say "people of color." She called the incident "a mistake" and "not at all a reflection of how I feel or speak in my everyday life."
The words used to describe African-Americans have evolved over time from words like "Negro," "colored," and "Afro-American" to the current "black," "African-American," and "people of color," notes Deborah E. McDowell, director of the University of Virginia's Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies. "We no longer use the term 'colored people,' although once upon a time that was a term in use," McDowell says. "Now the preferred usage is 'people of color' if you are speaking about people of color broadly. If you are referring specifically to African-Americans, people will frequently be specific and refer to us as 'African-Americans.'" (The newly crowned Miss Teen USA recently apologized for her own racial slurs.)