ANSWERS: 79
  • I'm with you on that! There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country. There is room here for only 100% Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else. Theodore Roosevelt
  • I see no reason for it either. It came about to replace derogatory terms and I see no need for the former or the latter.
  • I don't know. I think that term should not be used. Why not just say African?
  • Probably for the same reason the term "Caucasian" is used to describe whites. I am white, but my family did not originate in the Caucases, which means I am not a Caucasian! To truly describe myself I'd have to call myself a German-Swiss German-English-Scotch-American. Lord, that's picky!
  • Very good point, I guess they use it instead of saying Black or Black American. In the UK, ethnic monitoring is used as a means to discover inequalities in employment. For example if you apply for a job you can tick a box with your race. This is not compulsory.
  • I always think that African-American is what you call black people because calling them African is kind of...weird. Most black people have never been to Africa and are many generations into living in America. It makes sense. If someone wants to acknowledge my heritage, then that's what I want to be called I guess. What other term would you want them to use? Being American doesn't mean you abandon ties to your country or countries of origin. It just means you have a different place to belong to now.
  • Some do, however most of us know that the term 'african american' is hardly inclusive, when every other color (white, 'yellow' ect ect) is an 'american' not a 'white american' or a 'asain american'.
  • well you really do make an interesting point! i'm not sure exactly why they would say african... but in some cases people dont want to sound racial in any way so they say that as well... what in your state would be a better term for african-americans?
  • I don't know. Also, the two true African-Americans I know (Born in Africa and Naturalized US Citizens) are not black. Additionally, if you don't know the person, how do you know they are American, they could be British, or French, or Jamaican, or ....from some other country.
  • It's just an attempt to find a label such as I'm European American or a Chinese US citizen is Asian American or a Columbian US citizen is South American American. As you can see it gets pretty ridiculous after a while.
  • It came from a long process of escaping hate words instead of reclaiming them. Long ago, "nigger" was considered the proper term to use. Then, as it became used by bigots as a derogatory word, it was abandoned in favor of "colored". Then, as "colored" became used by bigots as a derogatory word, it was abandoned in favor of "black". Then, as "black" became used by bigots as a derogatory word, it was abandoned in favor of "African-American". Gays have a similar history- except we stopped after "faggot" and "fag". Words like "queer" and "gay" were, and are, used derogatorily, but we still embrace them. Some gays are even trying to reclaim "fag". Because of the word's origin I think that will be difficult, but the point is to not let those words have power over us. It might be too late to reclaim "nigger", but "black" should not be allowed become a hate term.
  • I'm American but my family is of Irish and Scottish descent... when somebody asked me what my heritage is I tell them that I am Irish and Scottish. I've never been to Ireland or Scotland, but those are the countries where my family originated. Why shouldn't you be proud of your heritage and call yourself African?
  • It's a red herring that "activists" use to keep people seperated and distract them from the fact that said "activists" are full of crap. The simple truth is that everyone IS equal and people need to be taken as individuals and not groups. All these buzzwords do is keep people seperated from and angry at each other. Thus the "activist" can attain his selfish political goals. It's the HUMAN RACE, remember?
  • When someone asks me my nationality, I dont say English, German,or Irish,nationality means nation of your birth,I'am an American
  • It is a tool that is used by many to divide people. They like to claim it "identifies" people, but it really starts catagorizing everyone into smaller groups. The classic, "divide and conquer" aspect couldn't be more true in this situation. I only state I am an American, not a Polish-American, even though my ancestors are from Poland,and I think it is silly for any American to have a hyphen before their actual nationality.
  • It's just this ungodly emphemisum and politically correct talk. I don't understand it myself. What if you're from Jamaica or Haiti. You look African, but you aren't. Regardless, people will still refer to you as "African-American," even though it is wrong. What if you're a white guy from South Africa who moves to the U.S. Technically, you are African-American, but no one will call you that. Hey, it could be worse. At least they aren't calling you "an American citizen of African descent."
  • I agree with you, Black Americans should accept and not be offended to be called Blacks, in Europe is no problem to call Blacks - Blacks, and why it should be a problem? My skin is white, nothing offensive to call me white, so why to call person with black/dark skin, the Black, offensive?
  • I never use that term. I don't know a single black person who is offended by being refered to as black. I'm more offended by the fact that so many people insist on "political correctness" for such small things instead of not being so snotty about it.
  • White people aren't called 'European Americans'. Black people are black people, white people are white people, color shouldn't matter, we are all Americans!!
  • It's just a bunch of politically correct b/s so as not to offend anyone. I am Italian, but I do not consider myself Italian-American. I was born here so i am an American and damn proud of it.
  • The over-hyphenization is a purely American thing. If you're Japanese and you become a citizen of Canada, no one says you're Asian-Canadian. If you're Italian and you decide to remain in Poland, no one says you're Italian-Polish. I was born in the US to a Canadian citizen and a black American. What does that make me? I'm American. That's it. My *heritage* is black and Canadian (and Native American, to an extent) but I am an American. End of story.
  • Perhaps my response to this question is better suited to a Question in its own thread, but I'm moved to ask: Why do I only ever see this question asked about the term African-American? There have been organizations, societies, companies, etc. using the terms Italian-American, Polish-American, and German-American in this country for decades at least. Why is their use of these terms never questioned? In any case, we're talking to different things here anyway. One refers to nationality, the other to ethnicity. Just because a person chooses to name both is no cause for censure. To call one's self African-American isn't an attempt to denigrate one's American nationality (and, by the way, we have no claim other than tradition to the name "American." Canadians and Argentinians are also "American." ;)). It's simply saying, "I am an American of black African descent." The specious argument that the term applies equally to an immigrating Boer of South African origin doesn't even bear quibbling with. I don't really care what anyone calls her- or himself. It shouldn't concern me other than as an academic interest perhaps. Not speaking of anyone here, but in our larger society I think that hackles get raised over this term because, frankly, it's a name that some black people have chosen for themselves. It's almost as if the majority society is saying that blacks have no right to choose a name for themselves that goes outside what white America thinks is appropriate or has decided. I still hear people say that when they were young, terms like "colored" and "negro" were good enough. Then they lament, "what ever happened to Afro-American? Why do people have to keep changing things?" To hear them tell it you'd think that people of African descent in this country were some monolithic bloc that's conspired to confuse other Americans with frequent name changes. Actually, the issue of naming those of black ethnicity in this country has a rather long and interesting history. Many of the arguments I see today have already been argued well over 100 years ago. If anyone is truly interested in the subject, I would direct you to a book by Sterling Stuckey, published in 1986 by Oxford University Press. It's called "Slave Culture." Of particular interest willbe a chapter titled, "Identity and Ideology: The Names Controversy."
  • If you leave the country, people will simply refer to you as an American. Americans are the only ones who separate themselves in such a fashion. I don't care for it myself, so I try not to classify anyone in such a way. As far as I am concerned, we are all Americans here, and human beings to boot!
  • They use it to say you're an American of African descent just like they use Scotch/Irish American when they want to describe that I'm an American descended from Ireland. It's just a more complete description.
  • Some people do because black has so many negative connotations ("black hearted", etc.) I consider my race black and my ethnicity African American. If I go to another country that's predominantly non-black, I am seen as black (Then I open my mouth and I'm seen as American). Does anyone find the words we use to describe people by color is a little weird? White people are pink, and some black people like myself are light brown. My hair isn't even black.
  • ONLY NON EDUCATED PEOPLE WOULD THNK LIKE THIS FOR YOU TO DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM YOUR GREAT GREATS BECAUSE YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO AFRICA(THE PLACE YOUR ANCESTRY COMES FROM)YOUR NEVER BEING THERE AND YOUR FAMILY BEING FROM THERE DOESNT MAKE YOU LESS AFRICAN? I REALLY DONT GET THE QUESTION. EVEN THE COMMENT ON THE FIRST PAGE NOTES THERE FAMILY FROMS IRELAND SO SHE WOULD CONSIDER HER NATIONALITY IRISH. IT'S SO SAD THAT AFRICAN AMERICANS(BLACK PEOPLE ) ARE SO DISENAGED WITH THERE TRUE IDENTY AND CULTURAL DESCENDANT ITS SAD ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS READ A BOOK LEARN SOMETHING. I PROUDLY CALL MYSELF AFRICAN-AMERICAN MY ANCESTORS STUGGLED YEARS AND YEARS AND FOR ME TO FEEL IM BETTER THAN THEM AND THATS WHAT IT BOILS DOWN TO AS IF BEING CALLED AFRICANMAKES YOU ANY MORE BLACK. THIS ALL GOES BACK TO THE SLAVERY DAYS WHEN AFRICANS WERE MADE TO FORGET WHERE THEY CAME FROM AND TO ADAPT TO THE (I'LL BE POLITICALLY CORRECT) CAUCASIAN WAY OF LIVING. NO ETHNIC GRUOP IS BETTER IN GODS EYES NO MATTER HOW THEY(IGNORANT PEOPLE) TRY TO PORTRAY.
  • Your right you are 100% American. I have a friend who is as Caucasian as can be, but was born in South Africa. He moved to the US at the age of 14 when his parents divorced he came with his mother while his father stayed in South Africa. As a result he had duel citizenship till he was 18 at which point he had to declare one or the other, he choose American. During those 4 years he was legally an African-American despite his lack of skin pigment. Now he considers himself simply an American. I don’t see the point in creating artificial barriers between people. However I do enjoy ribbing one of my English friends about the revolutionary war, and that sissy accent of his.
  • thats a very good point. i hadn't thought about it quite like that before.. why do we label a segment of the population african-american? how weird i am first generation american so i could even qualify as less american than many afican americans yet i don't have to specify anything cause i am white. suffice to say it seems to stem from the white supremacist society we live in.
  • look up the definition of caucasion at dictionary.com and you will see that it says from light to brown skin, that should be considered the light or brown skinned people who people nowadays call us black or african american..i am light skinned and I was not born in Africa nor have i never seen Africa and my family is from Jamaica and we are made up of light skinned and brown skinned complexions...I consider myself american because i was born here, not because we have darker skin than white people, we should be called african american...that is not fair, none of us are from africa. And you dont really know where we are from...and it is not like anyone is not proud of where they come from if your not from africa your not african american. Thats the way i see it!
  • Maybe you should ask that question of jesse Jackson,or the NAACP. maybe Al sharpton! you are right though born in america you are american.
  • I grew up saying Negro and Black. There is no African American. There is no this or that. You are a descendant of one origin, legally of course. Does an Afro American have dual-citizenship ?
  • i understand that you've never been to Africa but you need to understand that before you were born your ancestors were dragged over here to an unknown land that appearantly nobody is from here anyways but i know you don't know your ancestors and all that but they suffered through all the pain and agony so that they could even get the smallest piece of respect that lacks in this nation that people need to understand it still goes on and will till we realize that changes need to be brought upon.Anyways to get back on the topic you should even be honored to be called African American because you still have a little bit of dignity to know that if it wasn't for all the others that went through the suffering pain and agony blacks and people from other nations would have basically no freedom at ALL. I understand that the ? you asked wasn't that serious but u should take consideration & be proud to hold such a beautiful title and you should go to Africa one day &see the real beauty that is their instead of all this bull they keep showing us about the rural and beaten up areas. Sorry 4 such a big comment but i wish i was called something else than AMERICAN because its just plain and not really unique even though i luv my country i wish their was more to me
  • Um, thank you. I never said and did not intend for it to come across as me denouncing the fact that my ancestors come from africa. I know where my ancerstors came from but in all technicallity {sp} Im saying, all we want is equality, all anyone wants is equality so why should we have to have an extra word to define us? we are americans like anyone else, hell were MORE american than SOME (not all so calm down other people who will read this and try to jump down my throat) people but we cant just be americans, when people describe crowds they say things like we have african americans and white americans, why not just say we have all sorts of americans or just americans period, im pretty sure people these days know america is diversified and there is no need for the extra word. It seems to me you are trying to defend a label handed to you that you have just readily accepted. If that is the case then you probably dont see a problem with them calling you an afro-american {its just an abbreviation right?} settle for that and they will see how far they can go. thats what humans do you give them an inch they take a mile.
  • I think it's considered a 'politically correct' way of saying that you are black..I personally think it is kind of a useless term...Does that mean that I am a Scottish-Irish Canadian?(that could also be black or white) I guess so...but the way we have to categorize people seems a little strange to me.
  • You get hungry and you go out for Chinese food but what if the weighter was born in the USA and had never been to China you still consider him Chinese. Then maybe you want Puerto Rican or Dominican food, maybe Greek or maybe Italian but all of these people might be born in the USA and not even speak another language besides English yet you still identify them by their background. African Americans are the only group that were historically forced to be Americans and it took a long time for people to actually recognize them as real Americans. I do not think it matters what anyone calls them self as much as what they stand for. Blacks faught in the Civil war, World war I and II and every war since for defending American Values but are not as equally respected as whites in America. In fact why be a Texan,a New Yorker, or a Californian, or Bostonian or Virginian when you can be an American? It is just natural for people to classify them selves in some category and it really should not matter unless you are against Africa. You have the right to call your self what you want and so does the next person.
  • I'm in the same boat (lol). I like the term African American, I feel like I belong to this country and although I'm not from Africa I'm apart of that because of my ancestry. I don't mind black either and I do interchange these terms. Wouldn't it be ironic if i was from the Carribean!?
  • Good point! Everyone should just be an American, otherwise we would be forever classifying and sub-vlassifying. My kids would be English, French, Italian Americans!
  • I am a negro from trinidad we do not say african trinidadian. I never went to africa and the furthest i ever traced my roots on my mother side was irish. I think is wonderful to associate your self with the past so you wont forget it but why call yourself an african american if you was born in America. So what does that mean are white people the only true americans. Anyhow i am just a foreigner looking in.
  • Ive never got that either, if we track ancertory down about 10 generations might of had some family in Africa. but if not i would prefer american. On a side note, im a heinz 57, what term do i get? I like the term mutt.
  • I won't bother repeating the other great posts here as to how that term developed. Your question brings up another scenario that I have seen where someone who is dark skinned being referred to as African-American even though the person was Haitian or from the Bahamas.
  • The truth of the matter is, most of us don't know WHO we are. What you ARE is not a color or a name or a body or an occupation or a nationality or a sex or anything else you can label. What you ARE is infinite. As long as we continue to identify with what we are not we'll continue the futile exercise of attempting to make sense of nonsense.
  • You tell me. Don't call me Italian American. I am an American (of Italian decent if someone wants me to specify.)
  • Well I sometimes refer to myself as a Dutch American, but my parents were both from the Netherlands. I know plenty of second and third generation who describe themselves as Italian or something Americans. The problem I have with the term African American is that Africa is not a country, and that it actually makes it inappropriate to use "black", when actually, there are blacks that aren't African American living in the US. Some are residents coming from Africa or Jamaica or some place else (like England). But I'm somehow required to incorrectly call them African American when they're sometimes neither. Black is not offensive to me, no more than white. There are plenty of awful racial slurs that I condemn, black isn't one of them.
  • I feel you but I think it goes both ways. Why are white people called white. The majority are a pastel peach.
  • Yeah the question of how to refer to people of African descent living in America is - and has been - a touchy situation. I know that black people are not "black," they are kind of brownish, but white people are not "white" either, they are kind of yellow-pinkish. Do any people out there of African descent living in America have a problem with being called "black"? I know everything is loaded with meaning but we've got to communicate somehow!
  • Explain that to andy777.and ptgirl08. You are American nothing more nothing less.
  • I think that the government want separation of people with different opinions. That gives them control over us to the extent. They can TARGET certain groups to find out how we feel about things and what to do to appease us when something goes wrong. Think of all of the different "Cubbyholes" we can fit into. We are all Americans but we have to choose Democrat or Republican. Gay or Straight and the list never ends.
  • So only the native Americans are American-American. All others are European-American, African-American, Asian-American, Australian-American or a more complicated mix.
  • youre right. thanks to the beninnings of people of african decent in this country, most have no idea where theyre from. they were forecably made to forget their hertiage and customs and the families were divided so often there was not way to pass on their authentic culture., i think thats why people of color are so lost. WE DONT KNOW WHERE WE ARE FROM! so i guess im just american too.
  • Don't worry about it! I'm Western European, when I visit them there they call me the "rican" and here something else. In the end I don't even know where I belong really so I go with the flow! Let them talk!
  • Some people think that if they call you black you might get offended. Tell me if I'm wrong but I think calling you african americans is the most polite way to put it.
  • If I remember correctly, I do believe that we have Thomas Jefferson to thank for that term? Although a majority of black people originally came from that area or the globe... Not all black people are of African origin. Its a blanket statement. A generalization.
  • Labels! The world loves labelling people.
  • I think it's comical that only United States citizens are called "Americans"...we're not the only ones on the "American" continents of North and South America. We are States that have United within a part of North America, we are not America itself. Maybe we should be called United Stations...or United Statists...lol Pardon any lack of political correctness here - I am not trying to be offensive. The term African-American was derived in order to distinguish Blacks from other races, but to also elicits respect. Supposedly, the origin of Blacks have been traced back to Africa, so the involvement of historical roots in the new name for the race makes it sound more dignified.
  • It should really be United Statedian or something to that affect, if you say you are American, that could mean technically that you are from any of the America's...that would make Mexican's American's as well, since Mexico is part of North American, and then we have Central America and South America....so everyone from this continent is American...think about it!!
  • Africa is a continent, not a country. People who come from the continent of Africa are Nigerian, Egyptian, Saudi Arabian, Ethiopian and so forth. They don't say they're African. They say where they come from. I am an American of African descent or Black. This is what I say and this is what I have taught my children. We have been Negroes, Colored, Black and now African American. Maybe someday we all will be just known as Americans.
  • Because in case you haven't notice white America, has a problem accepting the fact not all Americans are white. Mexican-American, Chinese-American, ever heard of white-American or Anglo-American?
  • The prurpose is to be politically correct. Black people don't like to be called black. So someone found a substitute for the word.
  • Apparently, calling a person who has black skin, "black" is offensive, but calling a person who isnt from Africa, "African-American" is correct. Technically they would have ancestors from Africa, but then youd have to call random white people, "German-Irish-Italian-Polish-English-American" or "Europian-American", which is stupid.
  • Because your roots return to Africa in the end like for Asian Americans, Mexican American so and so on. And some people take it very serious to keep their roots even though it's hard to do so when you can't exactly locate where you from.
  • I believe it may be because we are a different people from whites or whoever. Our ancestors were from africa, therefore african american. No matter if you're born here now, you're heritage is african. That's why it's still used. One little drop makes you black, especially in "their" eyes, makes the label. South america is full of what, BLACKS. Dugh, South America, Africa, nothing but blacks there, African-American. Put it together.
  • my grandson is bi-racial and we forbid him to say african american..which he does not anyway...he is American he says..and he is black and white...and proud to have 2 ethnic backgrounds and do our best to see he has a "respect" of both races...his dad gets really pissed caused he wants him to be black..he loves country and western music, which disgusts his dad, but his influences are more white cause the black relatives do not spend much time..but any way, my daughter finally said to his dad," I am not trying to RAISE a COLOR!!! I am trying to RAISE A MAN!!!"
  • i'm a born and bred english woman.over here black people are called english,not african english or jamaican english or whatever bollocks. so yea, i dont realy understand why in the states you call some people "african- american".its silly.
  • This was started by the black leaders in the late 1980's. whether the black comunity as a whole wanted it or not. I think it is kind of stupid also, but we have become so pc in the US. I think ppl are just 2 sensitive. I have no problem being called white, even though i'm not really white.
  • I agree with you completely.
  • "I" view this as a "pity" & "petty"....
  • I am not sure why except to say maybe those of the Negro race have had identity problems as to what they want to be called? As a Caucasian, I do not mind being called white. As a person of Scottish descent, I would not really mind being called a Scottish-American, because we all came here from somewhere except the Indians. BUT I agree we are all Americans, not because we were born here, although that is special in a way, but because the true American cherishes freedom and peace who matter what race or ethnic background they are from. I am not a racist, but I do not have many friends of the Negro race simply because I am hardly ever much in contact with them. I do not know what those of the Negro race would prefer to be called. I would like to know so as to give them the respect they should be given. What do I call them: Blacks?
  • because it means you were born in america and you are of african ancestry.
  • they are as mixed up about their identity as Obama is, and for some reason most quite proud of a culture that is totally alien to them and a peoples for that matter...I don't see him as JUST black..lol..that is stupidity...he is a mixed american...neither all black nor all white...JUSTME:)
  • What do they call other people who's ancestors are from africa? And they are not black.
  • well get together and tell us what to call ya. black is forbidden, African American is making you ask questions, and we dont like the other terms any more than you do, truthfully we just want to be able to call yall brothers, but that ones reserved too. there really isnt a right way for white people to properly identify anyone. as diverse as our coulture is Im blown away were still bothering over these things because they do little more than inspire heated debate and hate. I grew up in a school that was intent on finding that middle ground for those asking your question, all that did was inspire reverse racism. I just really dont know what you intend with such a baiting question.
  • What are you complaining about? The "natives" are still called Indians :)
  • i never understood the term african american.my father is white american of german ancestry.my mother was born and raised in germany.i lived in germany for most of the 60s.i was born in in the the u.s only my oldest sister speaks german. i am never called german american.cuz im american.just like african americans are americans
  • I use the phrase because that's exactly what the NAACP and every other black organization has said they WANT to be used. When they recommended to be called, "people of color" I obliged. When it was simply "black people" I obliged. The latest they've said they prefer is "African American." So I oblige. I try very hard to keep up with the changing terms and don't ever want to offend anyone. All I can do is to look at the organization that is made up of black people and hear what they ask me to call them. And currently, it's "African American."
  • Because the NAACP, Jessie Jackson, and Al Sharpton would publicly crucify anyone who used the term black after the late 1980's Here one for you why doesn't the NAACP change it's name? If anyone used the term colored to bescribe a black person they would also be crucified. White works for me If black works for you I'm fine with it
  • If people weren't bitched at for simply saying black the term African-American would never have come about. It's another PC backfire. Black people need to start being comfortable with the word black again if they want terms like African-American to become obsolete, (which for people of Jamaican ancestry might be particularly appropriate).
  • What else would we be called, colored?
  • Because we are Americans of African decent. Kinda like they call others Irish-Americans though they may not have ever stepped foot in Ireland. It's probably a good thing that they don't call you American only cause then the rest of the world would think you are a beer swilling, truck driving, gun carrying, rude and self righteousness. Saying you are African-American at least lets me know you are not most of those things.
  • If I'm white, was born in Africa, and am a naturalized citizen of the US, am I an African-American?

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