The Asian's Guide To Black People
I had an interesting international relationship encounter which made me realise something. Most Malaysians do not know how to address black people.
We are almost afraid to come off as racist if we address black people as black. So we call them negro, coloured, or African-American even though the guy might not be American. Anything but black.
Let me set it straight.
It's largely acceptable (and safest) to say "black"; as in "black man" or "black woman" as you would say "white man". Evidently, "black" and "white" are the only two acceptable colours you may use to identify with race. No gray area there.
Never call a black man a "nigger" unless you want to die. However, if you are black, you may call your homie "nigga" (note the spelling) or many homies as "niggaz". Very important to note that you may only address them as "nigga" if you guys are homeboys or you are Chris Rock. And just because the guy is black, he is NOT your homeboy.
Under no cirmcusmtances do you address your boss at work, who is black, or Colin Powell as "nigga." There is also a limited number of times in a day that you are allowed to use the word "yo".
In closing, I think the fault of this confusion is black people themselves. They have gone through so many different labels throughout the years of black pride. But like Prince, they change their names, but they get back to the roots. Also, I blame hip hop group "Arrested Development" for this. :-)
And the day I will die laughing is the they day some Malaysian calls a black guy "ebony".