photo of newspaper---transcript below


I was reading the newspaper (above) about the upcoming Georgia (USA) election and encountered the term:

有色人种 (yǒu​sè​rén​zhǒng)
CC-CEDICT: colored races

It talks about how it's important to attract votes from people of color.

I'm guessing this term is a "forced" translation from English ("people of color") to ensure the meaning is translated accurately, and wouldn't naturally arise during native Chinese conversation, except about race-related topics in the USA (or western countries). I want to check if my impressions are accurate.

Question: Is the term 有色人种 ("colored races") normally used by Chinese people?

  • 3
    Chinese generally don't call other non-white people 'colored races' But we know white people do, so it isn't an unfamiliar term; for us
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 9, 2020 at 1:40
  • 1
    Your guess is right: it is usually a translated term used in race-related topics in the USA (or western countries). Otherwise it is seldom used by we Chinese people.
    – Betty
    Dec 9, 2020 at 4:49

4 Answers 4


As the comments say, 有色人种 is not commonly used by Chinese people.

There is online Chinese corpus BCC汉语语料库 hosted by BLCU. In the corpus we can search for "有色人种" in a few different types of material. You can get some result form 文学 and 报刊, but absolutely nothing form 对话. And when you check the texts return with the search, almost all of them are talking about things out of China.

Some example results form 文学

  1. 能这样的。我刚到东部那会儿总不断提醒自己:你可别忘了他们是"有色人种"而不是黑鬼,要不是我碰巧和那么多黑孩子打过交道,我就得花好多
  2. 共同点,特意说了好几个悲惨的故事,每个故事都是关于布朗克斯区有色人种、波多黎各人残忍而凶狠的侵犯,还刻意描绘,令人不寒而栗。但没过
  3. 次,我想亚拉巴马州的图斯康比亚大约有三千人,其中约有一半属于有色人种。再次,我在波士顿的朋友中只有很少几个人知道图书馆的事。我不想

And 报刊

  1. 帝国主义”,“打倒种族主义”。数以百计的示威者——其中许多是有色人种——拿着旗帜和标语牌,上面写着:“美国黑人,你们的斗争就是我们
  2. 在菲律宾,侵略者更成千成万地屠杀着和平人民——他们所歧视的“有色人种”。“华沙一条街”照出了战犯们的一色的脸谱,不管他是新的还是旧
  3. 》,把种族类别分成“白种人”和“有色人种”,印第安人被定为“有色人种”。对印第安部落而言,只有得到了政府的承认,才能取得对内部)

Note that instead of full sentences, a cerntain number of characters around the search term is displayed.


The word is only possible in the following situations

  • Translation of US news, or any alien news that uses the exact word "colored race" or "colored people"
  • Chinese people that live in other countries and are classified as "colored race" or "colored people" might use this word to mention themselves, despite they like it or not.
  • People in China but talking about political issues of other countries and the word "colored race" or "colored people" is used by the mentioned countries.

if you aren't racial at all. you don't need to avoid some words.in china we just say 黑人 亚洲人,it is common and normal.we don't need to replace it by other word.

  • We don't say 亚洲人. We say 黄种人.
    – Victor
    Jan 17, 2021 at 1:41

We never use the following terms except for translation:

  • 有色人种 (colored race)
  • 非裔美国人 (African American)

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