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cseresz.reborn

‘I’m not African-American,’ some blacks insist

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http://www.nigerianb.../blog/?p=106495

In a January 2011 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 42 percent of respondents said they preferred black, 35 percent said African-American, 13 percent said it doesn’t make any difference, and 7 percent chose “some other term.”

“I prefer to be called black,” said Shawn Smith, an accountant from Houston. “How I really feel is, I’m American. I don’t like African-American. It denotes something else to me than who I am,” said Smith, whose parents are from Mississippi and North Carolina. “I can’t recall any of them telling me anything about Africa. They told me a whole lot about where they grew up in Macomb County and Shelby, N.C.”

What is the proper term?

Does skin colour really matter?

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This is a strange matter, because we don't have a uniform way of addressing race. There are whites, blacks, but what about Asians? The difference between a white male from America and one from Russia or Australia is a pronounced one, and the same goes for a black man from New York and Nigeria.

With that said, I've always found the term African-American to be silly. I don't know a single black friend in America who has been to Africa. Do we call them that because of the past connotations that 'black' conveyed, connotations from a racist past that we're trying to forget?

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Does skin colour really matter?

The existence of racism would say, yes, it matters.

But I think you're just proposing a question poorly, in that you're trying to ask "should different skin colors matter?" Which is still a bad question, because you're not specifying the context of "matter," but at least it'd be a better start.

So, ask better questions?

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If it's used to put some people apart and designate and treat them differently than the others, then no, it shouldn't.

If it's a matter of describing one's appearance, then yes, but in the same way as noticing a person's build, their hair colour and cut, the colour of their eyes, etc. In that sense, it's more logical to describe black people as "black" rather than as "african-american", I would think.

In any case, race is a sketchy concept at best, and skin colour is a silly way to tell races apart.

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http://www.nigerianb.../blog/?p=106495

In a January 2011 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 42 percent of respondents said they preferred black, 35 percent said African-American, 13 percent said it doesn’t make any difference, and 7 percent chose “some other term.”

“I prefer to be called black,” said Shawn Smith, an accountant from Houston. “How I really feel is, I’m American. I don’t like African-American. It denotes something else to me than who I am,” said Smith, whose parents are from Mississippi and North Carolina. “I can’t recall any of them telling me anything about Africa. They told me a whole lot about where they grew up in Macomb County and Shelby, N.C.”

FWIW, I think the guy has a point. I would dislike being referred to as a "European-American". I'm just an American, and so is he. If you want to talk about race, then white, black, asian, hispanic, seem fine to me. Add other descriptors as needed.

If it's used to put some people apart and designate and treat them differently than the others, then no, it shouldn't.

If it's a matter of describing one's appearance, then yes.

I like this a lot.

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FWIW, I think the guy has a point. I would dislike being referred to as a "European-American". I'm just an American, and so is he. If you want to talk about race, then white, black, asian, hispanic, seem fine to me. Add other descriptors as needed.

An Italian sports car is less of a sports car for having a descriptor placed in front of it?

If not, then why is African-American, or Asian-American, perceived to be less American? I don't get that assumption.

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I say black instead of African American/Canadian because of a friend from Trinidad who was quite vehement about not being African-Canadian. It's all due to personal choice.

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I say black instead of African American/Canadian because of a friend from Trinidad who was quite vehement about not being African-Canadian. It's all due to personal choice.

And that's what I think is the root of causing the hissyfit of the majority group people here: their need to respond to individual preferences and treat members of the minority group as having different preferences. Why can't the minority just pick a label so I won't have to worry about offending them? It's such a chore to declare my non-racism every time I apply a generic term that I thought could blanket the entire group of them and only to be called out for having use the wrong term. So frustrating! What do they want from me?!

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As the whitest person on the planet I am probably not qualified to say what people of a different color should be comfortable with insofar as the name of their category, but the label "African-American" has always seemed to carry an uncomfortable subtext. Not that they're "less American", but the notion that "American" is a category that requires further dissection strikes me as marginally divisive.

Plus I remember the story of a school that had an internal election for "African-American student of the year" but wouldn't let a white kid run, even though he was legitimately African-American in the root sense of the word, a first-generation immigrant from Zimbabwe. I don't know why people often seem more comfortable with euphemistic description than a simple, direct adjective.

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An Italian sports car is less of a sports car for having a descriptor placed in front of it?
Oh yes, a russian-italian sports car, as a qualifier, has way less oomph

If not, then why is African-American, or Asian-American, perceived to be less American? I don't get that assumption.
Maybe it's because there are no European-American? It certainly seem to denote a subgroup, with an emphasis on sub, of the group actually making up the country, or imply that they are not entirely part of the country. Maybe without the hyphen it would work better as a description qualifier.

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I like to reserve 'African American' for folks like Dave Matthews or Charlize Theron.

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And that's what I think is the root of causing the hissyfit of the majority group people here: their need to respond to individual preferences and treat members of the minority group as having different preferences. Why can't the minority just pick a label so I won't have to worry about offending them? It's such a chore to declare my non-racism every time I apply a generic term that I thought could blanket the entire group of them and only to be called out for having use the wrong term. So frustrating! What do they want from me?!

Nobody says "African-Canadian" in Canada. It's just "Black".

I'd say the major issue is many of these people don't come from Africa. Nor did any previous generation they can think of. It has no connection to them.

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It's such a chore to declare my non-racism every time I apply a generic term that I thought could blanket the entire group of them
Question: In the context of "african-american" thing, isn't this a citizenship issue? Why add "american" behind if it's not? And if it is, why should you feel the need to discriminate between you and them?

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Nobody says "African-Canadian" in Canada. It's just "Black".

I'd say the major issue is many of these people don't come from Africa. Nor did any previous generation they can think of. It has no connection to them.

Aren't the only group in Canada that do the hyphenated thing French-Canadians?

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An Italian sports car is less of a sports car for having a descriptor placed in front of it?

If not, then why is African-American, or Asian-American, perceived to be less American? I don't get that assumption.

What about a different comparison? What about "womens' sports?" I know a lot of feminists (rightfully IMO) have a problem with that phrase because it's used to differentiate it not from "mens' sports" but from "sports" generally. It's not an inaccurate label, but the context of its use has exculsionary implications. Same deal (possibly) with "african-american" and "american."

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The reason the sports car comparison fails IMO is because sports cars are frequently described by their nationality no matter the nationality. So, in popular usage, the big Venn Diagram circle is completely filled by the smaller Venn Diagram circles and every car is on equal footing.

The inequity with race/nationality comes, again in the popular usage, when white Americans get to exist in the larger "American" circle whereas members of other ethnicity have to have their own sub-circle. The idea that a black American becomes an "African-American" while a white American is simply "American" implies an inequity. One subset of people requires a three-syllable descriptor while the other subset does not.

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I don't get the need to even specify.

If we want to kill racism (I think we do), why do we continue to name people differently? Am I missing something?

Now, as for technical term, I think this might be outdated, but what I was taught in school is that there is the Indo-Europid race, the Mongoloid race, and the Negroid race, and then several other, less common races. I don't know if this what they teach in school now. But even if there is a technical "correct" term for describing race, what's the case scenario where it could be needed? A police report?

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Aren't the only group in Canada that do the hyphenated thing French-Canadians?

I'd say you find plenty of people who also hyphenate, but it's generally as a way of describing their heritage, not their race.

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Aren't the only group in Canada that do the hyphenated thing French-Canadians?

As a Canadian i can tell you only the people trying to separate all the time from Canada call themselves French Canadians, the rest are quite happy being called Canadian.

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I respond to individual preferences. There are no proper terms, and what some people like will be offensive to others.

I remember being in North Carolina and being very surprised that many Native Americans used the term Indian. They didn't mind the term Native American but didn't identify with it.

Which was mildly amusing when a Korean immigrant who was with me asked me why I didn't know any of the tribal dances even though I was "Indian" just like them.

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