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The thrils and perils of the language of blackness

Stereotypes, in-jokes and who has the right to deploy them

By Colin Grant  
Best of British: Stormzy performing at Glastonbury in July 2019 © Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Best of British: Stormzy performing at Glastonbury in July 2019 © Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Do you know any aggressive black men? How about angry black women? Perhaps you’d rather not say. One of my bosses at the BBC once accused me of being “aggressive.” Summoned by a senior manager to answer the charge, I rejected it tersely (but not aggressively). “I’m not having that,” I said. “Just because I’m tall and black. That’s a word…

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