So here's a question I'm sure has come up before:
Without sounding racist and presumptuous, how do you describe people's ethnicity/skin tones/race, etc.?

For example, in my wip, a few of the main characters are "Black"/African-descent, but the central main character doesnt assume(presume?) that they are African-descent. and i don't want to directly say "black" because i feel that is too common of a term. There's also a guy from Spain. any suggestion to make it seem a bit more literary?


is there a website that helps on this matter?

I know in Harry Potter, JKR described Lee Jordan as a boy with dreadlocks, and as we see in the movie, he's Black. I've seen "white"/caucasian guys with dreadlocks as well (there's this one kid at my college who looks like a skinny human version of Aslan from Narnia).
And to continue with HP as an example: Cho Chang is guessed to be Chinese/"Oriental" (not sure if this term is still used or not) based on her name. and Padma and Parvati Patel are common names for Indian girls. But majority/the rest of her characters are "white"/Caucasian.

So your thoughts?

Also, sorry if I offended anyone. People automatically guess Im from India/Pakistan/some Arab country, and Im not from any of those but not offended by their guesses.