I found this interesting video on youtube.com. It is by a gentleman who lives on the continent of Africa. He asks why to black American call themselves African American when they don’t know much about Africa. I have asked the same question a few times from another perspective. I dislike the term African American. To me it is one of the most divisive terms. What is worse is that political correctness has forced this term down our throats. I am black. Plain an simple. Now I get into this discussion every time someone refers to me or the black community as African American. To most of my Jamaican born friends there is no argument. However to my black American friends it becomes a heated discussion.
Here are the basis for their arguments which to me is “shaky”.
1. White folks say they are Irish American or Italian American etc.
I can’t think of many white folks who do this, however if they do, does it matter? Many of these folks can a specific ethnicity or national origin within Europe/Asia that they are connected to by ancestry. When we say African American it we speak of a continent. I have never heard someone say they are European-American. It is obvious if you are black that your ancestors are from African. Hence I don’t have to use the term African-American or African-Jamaica etc. In fact is science is proved correct everyone is from Africa.
2. We need an Identity.
See above. It many cases it is obvious you are of African decent. Most black people who are born outside the US do not identify with the term African-American. I understand that the term was meant to include all black in the Americas. That means the Caribbean and Latin America. Try telling a Jamaican they are African American. Most of my Jamaican friends think the term means Black American.
I remember seeing a report on a crime where the perpetrator was described as a African American male. My first thought was this is a Black American. In a later newscast they said he was Caribbean American. Can you imagine the time lost if they have just described the person as black and of Caribbean decent. Maybe someone in the Caribbean community could have helped.
When we talk about identity the mentality is that if you are Black you must give up your other heritages. A recent study show that most Black American have some white blood in them. Again all humans are from Africa anyway according to science.
3. Our skin color is brown not black. Black is a negative term.
Is the skin color of white people white? Is the skin color of all people from African brown? Are the people in North Africa black? Are Chinese people yellow? Let me leave this one alone because I don’t think it holds water.
To whom black is negative. If you are not comfortable with your “blackness” then it would be. Black is not a description of our skin but more of our heritage.
PS: I will continue to cross out the term African American on any form I am given to fill out. I write in the term “black” and then check it off.