Recently, an old associate from high school and I have been in an argument concerning what “black” people should label themselves. She believes that she should be considered a “black American” rather than an African American because she was “born in American” and not Africa. In her opinion, the use of the phrase “African American” is considered politically incorrect in today’s society.
After watching the film on race in our class and studying under our school’s local anthropologist, I disagreed with this person. I believe, as do many sociologists, anthropologists, and others, that the terms “black” and “white” are too vague or, more importantly, based on social class and other terms besides the color of one’s skin. The term “black” for me was too general, wherein this person believed “African American” to be too broad for her “race” of people.
She later went on to rebut that neither her parents or grandparents were from Africa and that black people come from all over the world so therefore should not all be grouped into this same “category.” Her family is more from the Caribbean region rather than the African one. The questions of, “well would that make all whites ‘European Americans’?” was then brought up, and I responded with a yes because most “whites” in American date their ancestry back to Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and many other various European nations. The terms African American and European American have to do with your ethnic background and not necessarily where your grandparents and parents are from.
Yes, I agree that we should all be coined “American” regardless of our race or ethnicity. But, however, I do not agree that “black” is a better term than “African American” in terms of labeling certain people in society. There are indeed white African Americans, as she stated, and they can be labeled as thus and most likely should be.
I thought the discussion was interesting and thought I would share it with my fellow classmates outside of the classroom to see what your opinions on the subject are.