Why is "Colored People" a racist term, but "People of Color" is appropriate?

I am from South Africa and this has always been very interesting to me.

In South Africa “coloured” is a separate race. Like black and white and so on. A coloured person here is a “lighter black person” in America I guess. (Referring to skin colour only. Sorry I don’t know which terms are offensive in America or how to describe it better). So yeah it’s pretty normal for anyone to refer to someone as a “coloured”. They have their own culture and they would be offended if you call them “black” for example.

But we have other offensive words on top of the common American ones that originated from the white language (Afrikaans) that some white people speak here. I guess it originated during or prior to the Apartheid time.

/r/TooAfraidToAsk Thread