Good Morning America co-anchor Amy Robach has apologized for using the term "colored people" during a televised broadcast Monday morning.
Robach explained she meant "people of color," adding that her wording was "a mistake" and "not at all a reflection of how I feel or speak in my everyday life," according to the Associated Press.
Robach used the term during a segment about diversity in Hollywood. She was discussing the reportedly negative responses to Zendaya's casting as Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker's love interest, in the next Spider-Man film.
"We all know Hollywood has received recent ... criticism for casting white actors in what one might assume should be a role reserved for colored people," Robach said. "Is this potentially the industry trying to do something right?"
Zendaya is black. The character of Mary Jane has traditionally been portrayed as white.
Robach received swift backlash on Twitter for her comments:
This is not surprising. The term "colored people" has not been used popularly in the United States since the mid-20th century.
Until the 1960s, it was frequently used to describe black Americans — most often in the Jim Crow South — and appeared prominently on signage that designated segregated facilities, such as "colored" versus "whites only" restrooms and water fountains.
It is not generally considered a racial slur today, but it's antiquated enough to raise eyebrows and immediately frame whoever uses it as racially tone-deaf at best, and openly racist at worst.
In Robach's case, it seems more the former — an ineloquent slip-of-the-tongue that says much more about her casual racial illiteracy than anything else. All of which speaks to the very basic importance of having more people of color on TV. Take note, ABC.