General Question

okc405's avatar

Why am I considered an AFRICAN American?

Asked by okc405 (255points) March 23rd, 2008

I really don’t like this question because I hate arguments over the use of language, but I’ve never been to Africa and most of the African Americans in this country have never been to African nor have their parents nor great grand parents stepped foot on the continent of Africa, yet and still are referred to as such.

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25 Answers

oneye1's avatar

I think all Americans should be that stop the sepetation

bulbatron9's avatar

First, I must say that I am white, but I am with you, we are all Americans. I am of French, English, Irish, and god knows what else descent, but you don’t see these titles unless they are immigrants from said country. This issue should be addressed, in my opinion. However, if I were to say this it would be considered racism, although I love all men no matter the race, color, or creed!

KimboSlice's avatar

Because thats where your ancestors came from… Also I thinks its funny that you want nothing to do with Africa but when anyone says anything about slavery black people act like they were slaves themselves while they nor their parents or grand
parents were ever a part of slavery

oneye1's avatar

I would like to ask without offending you do you think white or black americans keep it alive

okc405's avatar

@kimboslice europeans settled in this country and they’re not called english americans. I didn’t mean to imply that I wanted nothing to do with Africa. And my great grand father was freed when he was 7, texas and oklahoma blacks got the new of emancipation late. but slavery has nothing to do with my question, but the fact that me being a citizen, I’m classified into a demographic that bears no real meaning.

@oneye1 Please speak freely, you can’t offend me. I can’t speak for the moderators of fluther…. I think white AND black americans are responsible for perpetuating this title, It was created by one and accepted by the other. whichever is on which side of the fence is something that I don’t know.

…I’m ready for susanc’s response, been typing for about 5 minutes now, I wonder if she’s waiting on me to post first? lol

oneye1's avatar

I grow up in Alabama so I know of your pain I remember in school hearing rose parks speak every feb. But I think a part of white america is ready to move on I believe a big part I know I would be fooling myself if I said all but poeple like rev wright do not help

KimboSlice's avatar

but your question is implying that you believe that it is racist that you are classified as an African American. My question to you is what would you rather be called? African? Because you are an American ofcourse. The name African american is used to describe a person of African origin just like mexican and white are used to describe those races. Because how would you know who I was talking about if I said “hey, look at that American over there”

okc405's avatar

@oneye1 rev wright is an example of a man of the people. his people. if a man feels that injustices are being done against his people why shouldn’t he speak up? People that preach white pride don’t disturb me, i’m glad that some are brave enough to stand up and boldly tell the world their pride in heritage. hate groups no matter the race are what cause tensions.

@kimbo I’d like to be refered to by name, I’m not of African origin that is fact and if I’m taking my ancestors birthplace, i might as well pick up their paychecks they left in the south. i’m from oklahoma how bout, oklahoman american?... lol… yea refer to me as that.

KimboSlice's avatar

Wow you didn’t understand my response at all aparently. Read it again buddy

monsoon's avatar

kimboslice, while you’re argument is logical, it falls into step with deep rooted covert racism. The truth is that the term African American is used to describe descendants of slaves. There are black people who are native to south America, and Australia, but they are not technically “African American.” why is the most noticeable thing about a black person their skin, but a white person their hair? Because we normalize whiteness. When some one says “American,” would you ever picture in your mind some one of color? Not often.

oneye1's avatar

American like mike jordan or American like mike Jackson American only the face of America to the world the last 8years mrs rice

okc405's avatar

@kimbo why is there a need to make a seperation of race by titles? for convience? hey look at that man in the green t-shirt and jeans over there is specific enough? My question is, If i’m not of african origin, why am i labeled african american? I don’t know where in africa my ancestors were even from, let alone speak any of the language or belong to any native african religons. I was raised southern baptist and I speak bad oklahoma english. I’m just as american as the kids in the trailer park around the corner from the house i grew up in. but society feels a need to seperate and make asterik to my american citizenship. i wanna know why.

susanc's avatar

hey there oko, yes I am working on this till I feel I’m telling the truth. So here goes.
In Senator Obama’s recent speech, the famous one, he describes Rev Wright’s generation of African-Americans: angry about injustice. And didn’t their anger serve the black community and the culture at large? Well, you already addressed this while I was working.
Senator Obama also affirmed the frustration that some white people feel about affirmative action. Yes. We’re all upset about something.
This NAMING of subgroups’ struggles to understand and survive was a departure from the easy assertion that everyone is essentially the same. We’re not.
But Senator Obama did more than certify the reality of difference. He TOLD US WE’RE SMART ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH IT. WOW. Someone who has some faith in us!
Where’d this guy come from?!?
...Oh, right, everywhere.
I think the problem is not in identifying people one way or another but being afraid of
labels. And labels can misrepresent us. And you’re right, labelling people who had African ancestors, or who started out in Africa personally, without labelling everyone else’s country of origin, is stupid and wrong and sinister.
I myself am a Hiberno-American and I have to say that when I set foot on my ancestral shores I felt strangely at home. ( But I felt the same way in Botswana.)

Um, also, monsoon, people who immigrate here from Africa of their own free will are
also referred to as African-Americans. AND just to be cranky, the first thing people notice about this white person is my fabulous smile; notice my boring hair later, if at all.

okc405's avatar

@oneye1 Micheal jackson is from a lanet far, far away where its cool to have sex with children

susanc's avatar

Sorry, okc, I read your name wrong.

oneye1's avatar

but people around the world think American and it his face they see or vail

monsoon's avatar

susanc, I was referring to the fact that the ancestors of native black Americans may not necessarily have come from Africa. Hidden in your response is this remark: “the problem is not identifying people one way or another, but being afraid of labels.” while its true that stereotyping is a cognitive function which helps us to identify and label objects (such as knowing that two objects are both chairs though they may look very different), its important to understand that it is just that, a biological instinct, akin to taking what we want by force, and eating foods high in oil and fats. These things were needed for our ancestors survival, but are not so helpful to us today.

trainerboy's avatar

I believe the term is used by those who seek to perpetuate a divide between people for their own personal agendas and possibly power and profit.
Underneath it all, we are spirit beings in a human experience. The costume we call a body is just that.

squirbel's avatar

Sometimes I get annoyed by people classifying me as African American, when I am actually Puerto Rican. It has nothing to do with me being ashamed of being brown, but more with being classified automatically. There are many dark Hispanics, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

When I went to Alabama, and applied for state ID, the fair-skinned gentlemen who processed my papers read where I checked off “Hispanic Origin” and deliberately changed it to “Black”. This was unnerving but I never fuss, so it stayed that way.

I understand okc’s trouble – he is eager for the time when his color is not what defines him, as are most people all hues. We are a newer generation and would prefer to be known as the subculture we come from, such as our state. For instance, many would prefer to be “Californian” by definition. Define me by the culture that represents me, not color or far removed origins.

These classifications exist for census purposes, to determine majority/minority ratios, as well as assisting with socio-economic demographic statistics. Some groups find pride and satisfaction in origins and labels – but I know many of my peers do not. We see it as “the old way”. I reject this methodology.

DeezerQueue's avatar

I think this terminology is something that evolves, and has indeed evolved with the times, I can remember the labels changing, often by the community itself, which reflected a desire to look upon themselves in a more positive, assertive light.

When it’s people like you who confront the label altogether, and make the rest of us question how we should be dealing with it as well, it can only be described as a good day in history and a step toward social maturity and enlightenment.

Response moderated
okc405's avatar

Man, you got me.
Typing in all caps and not being able to form a coherent sentence really shut me down.

trainerboy's avatar

What was he/she saying? sounded like a rant about something?

DeezerQueue's avatar

@KimboSlice. Do you know when it was that black people were given the right to vote? Do you know how long ago it was the blacks were allowed to enter our then white public schools? Have you heard nothing of racial profiling? It’s no wonder that they try everything they can to feel better about themselves.

All that aside, he says his ancestors never came from Africa, did you know that there are other places in the world where black people live, that aren’t within the African continent?

Let’s say for example that you had some physical characteristics of someone of the opposite sex and people consistently referred to you as the sex which you aren’t by regularly calling you ma’am when you’re really a man or sir when you’re a woman if you wore clothing that made you indistinguishable, i.e., jeans and a t-shirt. I think after a time you’d grow weary of it, too.

susanc's avatar

@monsoon: you describe why we label really well. No argument. But it does
worry most of us to be labelled, because a label is always limiting and never describes us fully; although it’s natural to label, it feels diminishing to BE labelled. Don’t you think?

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