Skip to comments.I'm Not African American... I'm Black
Posted on 06/18/2012 9:13:49 PM PDT by nickcarraway
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AFRICAN AMERICAN? SHAHIDA MUHAMMAD SAYS THE 'POLITICALLY CORRECT' TERM DOESN'T SAY ENOUGH
What does it mean to be African American? This is a question that is quietly resurfacing in Black discourse, due to the fact that many of our people are rejecting the term as a means of identification. While African American still manages to be socially accepted, it seems many privately take issue with the term. Ill admit, Im one of those people. I have never truly felt connected to 'African American,' yet have never felt compelled to argue my standpoint publicly because our discussions on identity tend to be dividing and non-productive. However, I believe its a topic worth re-examining, as the term has been the questionable dashiki in the room for quite some time.
I have never been offended by the use of 'African American,' but personally there a few reasons I dont particularly like the term. I have used it in my writing when making efforts to be politically correct, or as an alternative reference to Black people. Yet I have always viewed it as just that: a politically correct alternative to Black. Never something I whole-heartedly embraced. I have checked it on applications, but never used it to self-identify in real-life. It has always felt forced, redundant, and quite frankly, inaccurate. Using the term 'African American' feels like using Kente cloth made in China trying desperately to authenticate myself. In theory I know where I'm from, but in actuality I wasnt made there.
Im very much aware that my ancestors were from Africa, and in no way would I want to distance myself from that fact. From an early age my family taught me the painful context of our history in this country, and also that our history as a people did not begin solely with slavery. We come from great peoples and civilizations, and its something that has always given me a sense of pride and dignity. However, knowing all of this, there is still no way to pinpoint exactly where my African ancestors came from. Therefore, I have no direct lineage, specific heritage, language or traditions to lay claim to. I see 'African American' as both ambiguous and limiting at the same time. Its an ethno-cultural term that has become synonymous with race and regular Black folks. Its used exclusively in reference to Black people in the U.S. who are descendants of the Transatlantic slave trade, yet excludes anyone who is an African immigrant or first-generation citizen--who in my opinion would be most fitting of the title. African American is also very vague and simplified. Africa is a vast continent, made up of various nations, cultures, languages, traditions, etc. So to associate myself namely with the continent, without a specific point of reference, doesnt bring me any closer to my roots, yet it subtly reinforces the misconception that Africa is a simplistic, homogeneous land.
as Black in terms of race, American (by default) in terms of nationality; always keeping in mind that my ancestry ties me to Africa and the original peoples of this earth. To me, Black unites us beyond our various geographic locations, nationalities or cultures; whereas we can all say we are Black, connected and proud.
Just think of yourself as being an American, period.
If your not just an “American”, then go where you feel more comfortable...
I cringed when they (Jackson?) came out with the term African-American, and thought it sounded so stupid.
Negro had been the correct term for many years, and accepted
by blacks, as in The United NEGRO College Fund.
In my youth, being from Memphis, we used the term “colored”. I do not recall anyone taking offense with colored.
Perhaps the use of the word “American” is the problem for these people?
Are white people from Africa who become Americans African Americans? If not then what would they be called to identify their origins and current status?
I am ‘me’. Child of God. FREE to choose.
How ‘bout them apples?
Whatever you do don’t call me late for supper.
I never concerned myself with skin color. It is only character that counts to me. Marxists and thieves and parasites on society do not score high with me.
By Shahida Muhammad. Hey Shahida, I can’t even pronounce your name! Color me confused. To me, if you were born or naturalized here your an American, period. The color of your skin is irrelevant. Call yourself whatever you wish, but please make up your mind about it because I am tired of your being perpetually offended. While you’re at it, be a fellow American and quit voting for the socialists who are destroying this great country with class and racial warfare, eh?
Who cares? Just pull your weight, don’t expect handouts, and I could care less what race you are.
Henceforth I will refer to myself as an Anasazi-American even though it is only a small fraction of my bloodline.
I always thought of the hypenated American as stupid. MLK tried to bring us together as one, today everyone has a hypenated American came. Signed, Overweight, heterosexual, diabetic Euro Asian causcasian -American
Always confused me when I was young too. We're all 'colored' in one way or another. ;~))
It's kind of stupid what we do to torture words.
I forgot to as anti big government - American
“what would they be called to identify their origins and current status?”
Well, many immigrants did, and still do, use their country of origin, most notably Irish-Americans.
With the blacks, very few know anything of their origins.
Obama, however, might list himself as Kenyan-American.
So, a white from South Africa would be a South African-American?
Negro, simply meaning black in Spanish, had to be discarded by those of Jackson’s ilk because it was used during the slave era. It wasn’t the only name used then for blacks, but it was the most polite.
Wish I could find the reference, but in 1956, or thereabouts, I read an article saying that most blacks have white ancestors and, more surprisingly, about a third of Southern white have a black one. Then there are those who also have indian ancestery thrown into the mix. I am reminded of all the effort that the Spanish imquistion out into investigating family back grounds to prove they had no Jewish blood. The reality being that most do. Pick out a Southern man on the street: he is likely a mixture of red, white and black, in varying proportions.