I remember once I was telling a story to my English-speaking, American friend about something that had happened, and I mentioned the term 'negrito' and his face froze and he immediately told me to not to use the word. That was the second time I realized how the word could sound pretty close to another word.
The first time I was at the grocery story with another friend, and I picked up a can of 'frijoles negros' just like I always do. And she shoved me and whispered, "why does it say 'negro' on it?"
Growing up where I heard terms like 'negra,' 'negrita,' 'negrito,' 'negro,' I never realized how can be understood by Latino outsiders. And often, those terms are used in genuine terms of endearment and beauty.
Here's A Short Lesson On Some of These Terms:
Negro - Black
This literally means the color 'black' in Spanish. That is the direct translation for the color. It's a color. That's it.
Negrita - Black girl
This is often used in terms of endearment. It's usually positive. It can also mean 'pretty black girl,' depending on the context.
Negrito - Black boy
Pretty much the same definition as 'negrita,' but for a male.