We are quick to judge others on the use of particular phrases but what about our regular use of the words ‘gora’ and ‘kala’?

The word ‘gora’ which is literally translated as ‘whitey’ or ‘of pale skin’ is something we will use to refer to white people. The word ‘kala’ again refers to someone of dark skin or those of an Afro-Caribbean background.

These are some of the most common words in our vocabulary but is it still okay to use them?

And do we continue to use them because we think those who we refer to as ‘goray’ or ‘kalay’ do not know what they mean?

Are these, like many other words, our 'safe area' where we as descendants of South Asians can use terms and phrases amongst ourselves without them being offensive?

Would we be comfortable calling someone ‘whitey’ or ‘blacky’ to their face?

I am going to be honest. I was and have used this word for many years as it was part of my vocabulary when I was growing up.

Like many of us with parents with a poor grasp of English we mixed and matched words from our South Asian heritage and it became commonplace to such use words.

Those who will defend the use of the terms 'gora' and 'kala' would suggest we are simply describing ones skin colour. It is used in the villages and cities where where our forefathers hailed from to refer to people’s skin colour.

Clearly, there was no malice intended. Or was there?

But deep down we know in modern day Britain where we are in constant interaction with people of other faiths and races this is not the case. We are describing the race of that person and many a time we use it as a way to ridicule that person.

Many will argue against this but we have always felt the need to defend our own levels of prejudice whilst pointing out others people's flaws.

What of those cases when we use the words alongside swear words? Is it offensive and racist now?

What happens when your children also use the words?

Many young people growing up in the UK have little knowledge and understanding of the language of their forefathers but can also differentiate themselves from others by referring to others as ‘goray’ and ‘kalay’.

I have heard this on numerous occasions and it does not do us any justice I’m afraid. I am almost embarrassed when a young person refers to their classmate as a ‘gora.’ He or she uses the word because the parents do.

We cannot expect others to stop themselves using outdated terms when we ourselves are happy to think that referring to someone as a ‘whitey’ is fine.

My thoughts for this article came after reading some old newspaper articles and saw how the word ‘coloured’ was used by writers and politicians. In fact it was used by respected commentators but slowly the word was removed from the English psyche.

Those who used the word ‘coloured’ would say they did not do so out of any ill will. It was a common term but some years ago it became almost offensive to use it.

When we hear an elderly person using the term ‘coloured’ we think of the person holding on to post-imperial British views on race.

But as third and now fourth generation Asians should we not now relegate the words ‘gora’ and ‘kala’ to the rubbish tip of poor language choices?