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Author: abRandomLogic Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1950  
Subject: Serious Question Date: 2/15/2002 6:36 AM
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Please consider this an opportunity to do some diversity training.

In general, would most rather be called "African-American" or "black" when describing race and if so why?. Is there now a perceived negative connotation with "black"? I am primarily descended from Italian and German people yet have no desire to be called Italian-American or German-American.

ab - just wondering
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Author: juliepooh Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 113 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/15/2002 9:07 AM
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I prefer black. That is how we referred to ourselves when I was growing up. I don't feel the need to distinguish ourselves as African-Americans. If we are all American's why should it matter if I am of African, Polish, or German descent.

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Author: UhuraY2K Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 114 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/15/2002 9:27 AM
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I agree with Julie 100%. I personally dislike African-American. I have never been anywhere on the African continent, and I can say in all honesty that most people I know never have, either. The importation of slaves into this country ended in 1848 (give or take a year; I don't have my textbook in front of me right now), which means that the majority of American born black people can trace their ancestry to the United States back at least 154 years.

My younger sister, on the other hand, prefers "colored" or "of color," which were popular in our grandmother's day. Her argument is that the 1/32 rule is ridiculous, which states that if one ancestor in thirty-two is black, that makes you black, no matter how dark or fair your skin is. This, by the way, dates back to the early nineteenth century and does not apply to any other race. To show how ridiculous this is, you can have four white and one Native American grandparents and still be white, but if your great-great-great-grandaddy's wife was black, you are black.

I got off on a tangent -- AGAIN.

What it comes down to is I prefer black as a second choice. I would REALLY like to be thought of as an American. Period.

Uhura :o)

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Author: UhuraY2K Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 115 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/15/2002 12:37 PM
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I really should hit the Preview button before Submit. I mean to say "three white grandparents and one Native American." Sorry.

Uhura :o)

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Author: sTwize Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 117 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/15/2002 5:12 PM
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I can identify with "black", "African-American" and "...of color," so either of them works for me. My direct ancestry is such that they each are relevant for me so neither one offends me.

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Author: abRandomLogic Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 118 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/15/2002 10:31 PM
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I appreciate all your replies. It seems the popular media will make an issue of what they want despite what "most" Americans feel.

ab

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Author: PoorMelissa Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 119 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/16/2002 2:17 AM
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abRandomLogic:

Thank you for your question and thanks to all who've taken the time to reply.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just refer to people using one set of rule? But that would not be possible without offending people. For example, some people are referred to by their color: black or white. If we tried to call our Asian friends that they were "yellow" we'd deserve to be admonished. And I don't think "brown" would go over very well with Asians or Latinos.

Here in Southern California, there are some Latino people who prefer to be called "Mexican" because they are proud of their Mexican heritage and don't want to be lumped in with other Spanish-speaking people of Latin America.

On the other hand, I met a woman who was offended by the term African-American. She is a black woman, living in American, but was born and raised in Jamaica. She feels the term African-American excludes her from her race.

I wish things were simpler. But I suppose it is our nature to look for differences and similarities in ourselves and others. If we were all purple with green hair and eyes, we'd probably be grouping ourselves by feet size or earlobe length.

Melissa


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Author: PoorMelissa Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 120 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/16/2002 2:18 AM
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Please excuse the miswording in the previous post. I edited it without reading it all the way through. As I often do in my editing, I messed up the text more than it was originally messed.

Melissa

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Author: Crazyinlovefool Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 121 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/16/2002 11:54 AM
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I haven't read the other replies yet so I may be repeating some things.

For me personally I prefer to be called black. I was raised black and it's been so much fun I see no reason for the change. However if you look at the english language you can see the words like "black or dark" have always had lots of negative connotations.

But let us not confuse the issue. Someone describing themselves as Black, African-American or even German or Italian-American is not describing their race. There are only 3. Asian, Caucasian & Negro. What they are doing is more of a cultural short hand as to who they are and where there family is from. Living in NYC I have several friends with skin much darker than my own, that were born in different african countries. They do not consider themselves either black or African-American. Nor do I. They are Kenyan-American, or Senegalese-American Or as a friend from Jamaica says of her children born here, J'american.

Just my 2c
Crazyinlovefool

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Author: Crazyinlovefool Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 122 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/16/2002 12:43 PM
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Ok now I've read everyone's responses.

I've already stated that I consider myself black and it's pretty obvious to anyone that sees me. However my husband is white, of Irish & Puerto Rican descent. Because of my actual ethnic make-up (blond, gray-eyed, Irish grandfather) there is a fair chance that our children will look more like him, than me. And I'm sure most of us knows a black person who doesn't "look" black, and the trials they've gone through.

For this reason I find African-American to be a more inclusive term. One that identifies an ethnic and cultural connection and commonality. When I hear someone descibe themselves as black I generaly expect to see dark skin. Not someone like my best-friend whose mother is black. And because like most families the mother influence is stronger she is black. Yet she looks exactly like her Chinese father. When I hear African-American I still expect someone of color, but I'm not as surprised at it's lack. I do expect someone that knows a family member that was affected by "Whites only" fountains,bathrooms & entrances. Someone whose family has been here for at least 80yrs. Most can tell you of a family member that was a slave and are aware that slavery and it's influence on our people are not that far in the past.

I only have to go back 4 generations to my Great-grandfather who was born and raised a slave. This was the man who raised my grandmother and help raised my mother. My still living, grandmother helped raise us and my brother's 2 daughters. So the living legacy and knowledge of slavery is still very much with my family even here in 2002.

Crazyinlovefool

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Author: crobinso Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 124 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/19/2002 9:27 AM
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When I was born, I was "colored" or "Negro". Then I became "Afro-American". Thanks to James Brown http://www.soul-patrol.com/funk/disc.htm, I became "Black" in 1969. Now I am "African-American". Tomorrow I will be ????



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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 125 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/20/2002 9:20 AM
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Tomorrow I will be ????

Charles.

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Author: NotMaggie Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 126 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/20/2002 5:39 PM
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Hi. I've only posted once or twice on this board so far.

I am Chinese. I am also a U.S. citizen so I call myself an American. They are two different ways of identifying myself.

I don't like the term "Asian-American" because it's too generic and basically meaningless. I remember a few skits with the Korean-American (as she identifies herself) comedienne, Margaret Cho, who was often confused with other Asian groups, such as Chinese, Japanese, and others. Using Chinese-American may help, but most non-Asians still don't know the difference *sighs* My opinion is that, as collective "Asians," we all have distinct cultures, histories, and backgrounds.

I also sometimes vehemently respond, "American," when asked by certain people who are trying to find out what ethnic group I belong to. I give them a hard time. It's mostly none of their @#$%#$ business to start with, except in the format of an anonymous survey which requests (usually elective) racial demographic info. I often object to filling out that information, though.

One thing I've noticed: The last time I had to go to a federal office to fill out some forms, I left the "optional" demographic information blank. When I gave it to the cashier at the window, he reviewed all the info. and then checked off a box under the "demographics." I was insulted. Later, I spoke with somebody who works with some of these types of documents in a federal setting. She told me that the clerks are required to fill out the form if the person leaves it blank. This makes me think that some people are erroneously assigned a racial identity due to profiling, especially multi-racial people who might prefer multiple identities marked, or something else. In my case, though, I look evidently Chinese so there's little confusion, but I have a few multiracial friends who would vehemently object to an inaccurate marketing.

Also, I read an intro in one of Iyanla Vanzant's book about her choice of "African-American." She said she didn't want to use the word "black" because the word "lack" is in there. I thought it was interesting. I also thought it was a way of taking out the color issue out of race, by not using "black" literally. I think there should be a way of using the terms according to how the person referred to chooses... usually the best way is asking directly and lessen the chance of accidental offense.

Meg

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Author: Crazyinlovefool Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 127 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/21/2002 12:50 AM
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Also, I read an intro in one of Iyanla Vanzant's book about her choice of "African-American." She said she didn't want to use the word "black" because the word "lack" is in there. I thought it was interesting. I also thought it was a way of taking out the color issue out of race, by not using "black" literally. I think there should be a way of using the terms according to how the person referred to chooses... usually the best way is asking directly and lessen the chance of accidental offense.

Meg

So from African-American we would get "i can-i can", and from Asian-American we would get As i-Am i can. It just goes to show it's all in how you look at things as well as people.

Crazyinlovefool

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Author: Bonhoeffer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 128 of 1950
Subject: Re: Serious Question Date: 2/21/2002 10:29 AM
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She said she didn't want to use the word "black" because the word "lack" is in there.

Well i'll be happy to treat people as they want to be treated, but that reasoning is a bit of a stretch.

Don't call me white, because the word "hit" is in there.

Nonviolent, you know.

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