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.
Person of color = Politically correct
Colored - Racist
Explanation = Liberalism
As the descendant of a long line of folk who apparently did not give a fig about nationality or “Color” of their spouse do I now have to call myself an “Irish- English - German - Italian - French American?
My maternal grandmother once tried to insult me by claiming I was part Black-Foot on my fathers side, but offered no proof.
Does that mean I am also part Indian, a-la Dizzy Warren?
It would seem as solid a claim as hers, LOL!
My brothers genealogical research is far from complete, I’m sure a couple more hyphens will come up if he keeps looking!
Being self-employed this only comes up when I am being polled, pollsters demand an ethnicity, too many of which use a color as the descriptive term.
I tell them they can use either American or “Heinz 57”.
Their usual response is that they will use “Other”, so that further biases the polls against actual Americans.
What does walking down the street with one’s pants halfway down the asscrack say about “content of character?” Siring children out of wedlock on a regular basis? Blaming the white man for all ills? Preaching “God damn America?” Threatening neighbors with physical harm if they happen to disagree with perpetuating liberal Democrat slavery?
It’s never been about the color of your skin, and it never will be.
I think you were being facetious; but no, because there is no nation called South America but there is a nation called the United States of America (also known as America.)However, the person you envisioned could be called a South African-Brazilian.
Abdl translates as the same word ~ slave / black.
Being the son of immigrants who chose to be Americans, it has always suited me perfectly fine to be “just an American.”
African hardly is descriptive on one’s race.
Suppose Ernie Els, Nelson Mandela, and Muammar Gaddafi all moved to the US. They would all be ‘African Americans’...
“So, a white from South Africa would be a South African-American?”
Well, that would be more logical then African-American, as it denotes their origin, but race has nothing to do with country or continent of origin. A white man could just as easily be an African-American.
While my ancestors came from Ireland and Scotland, I do not call myself Scotch-Irish American, much less European-American.
My race is white, or Caucasian.
“Black in terms of race, American (by default) in terms of nationality”
I wonder would she rather be in Africa? I would think not.
How Jackson could have the power to rename an ethnicity is scary. Fortunately I never accepted the new vernacular. My parents weren’t born on Africa’s continent. They’re Americans.
Doesn’t matter to me. If you’re black, odds are 95% you’re an Obama supporter, no matter what you say today.
“Negro, simply meaning black in Spanish, had to be discarded by those of Jacksons ilk because it was used during the slave era. It wasnt the only name used then for blacks, but it was the most polite.”
Actually “Colored” was the most polite, but back when I was in grade school, the three prominent races were: Caucasian, Negroid, and Mongoloid.
Every area of the world, including the US, had their own derivations. My grandmother in Atlanta used the term “Nigra”, and it was not in a derogatory way.
Some, but not all, were considered degrading.
By “Great Peoples and Great Civilizations, you can’t be serious.
If your ancestral peeps were/are so great how come they live hundreds/thousands of years behind the rest of the world?
What are their great contributions to science? By that I mean great scientific minds like George Washington Carver who has no equal on the African Continent.
What are their great thinkers? By that I mean men such as Fredrick Douglas who has no equal on the African Continent.
Who are the great artists? By that I mean Edward Bannister who has no equal on the African Continent.
Who are the great orators? Great Poets? Great Sculptors? Architects? Mathematicians?
What are the great archeological digs in Africa?
What are the wonders of Architect in Africa?
What in the hell is so great about Africa that you can name?
I can name plenty that is great about Africa but the list above is exclusive of just what is.
I have a friend who is white, blue eyed and from Johannesburg.
Upon receiving her US citizenship we threw a party for her to celebrate.
Terrific evening and another friend commented to her “Well Hanna, how does it feel to be an African American?”.
Still cracks me up.
I’ll be glad when we can get back to being color blind.
white folks from Zimbabwe are African Americans to me...
Did the S.I. do that kind of checking? I thought it was only checks for recent moriscos and marannos
As another poster pointed out, recent migrants from Africa know their origin, so someone from SA would know if they are Xhosa or Zulu etc.
For example, I've seen it used to describe blacks living in other countries who have never stepped foot in America.
Another example is the usage of "African American" to describe a trait, when it isn't established at all whether the person or item associated with that trait is American (an "African American hair was found at the crime scene" -- as if the hair has an American flag attached to it).
Another thing -- don't call someone an African-American unless you're sure they want to be called that. I know a lot of black immigrants from the West Indies who are offended by the term. Many will tell you with gusto that an African-American is someone who came from some African country and immigrated to the USA.
When I was in high school we had an exchange student from the Faroe Islands visit us and my mother asked him if there were any colored people who lived there? Without missing a beat he said, “Yeah, we’re all white”
Caucasoid skin color varies considerably from pale, freckled Irish to black Dravidians
“your race would be Caucasian”
I certainly know what my race is, and the features.
Perhaps for you I should have worded it “white, as in caucasion”, instead of “white, or Caucasian”, meaning white, or in other words, Caucasian.
you are wrong -- you forget the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Ethiopia. Granted, both of them were not Negroid in origin but the Egyptians were ruled by Nubians in the 7th century BC and Ethiopians are a mixture of Semites and one race of Africans, while the Ethiopians speak an Afro-Asiatic language like the Berbers or Copts.
White folks from Zimbabwe are African Americans to me…Shouldn’t they be called American Africans??
Caribbean folks have their own strong, distinct culture.