Skip to comments.Time to call ourselves ‘Black’ and not African Americans
Posted on 09/09/2004 11:14:42 PM PDT by kattracks
ITS TIME we descendants of slaves brought to the United States let go of the term African American and go back to calling ourselves Black with a capital B.
Modern America is home to millions of immigrants born in Africa. Their cultures and identities are split between Africa and the United States. They have last names like Onwughalu and Senkofa. They speak languages like Wolof, Twi, Yoruba and Hausa, and speak English with an accent. They were raised on African cuisine, music, dance and dress styles, customs and family dynamics. Their children often speak or at least understand their parents native language.
Living descendants of slaves in America neither knew their African ancestors nor even have elder relatives who knew them. Most of us worship in Christian churches. Our cuisine is more southern U.S. than Senegalese. Starting with ragtime and jazz, we gave America intoxicating musical beats based on African conceptions of rhythm, but with melody and harmony based on Western traditions. Also, we speak English.
A working-class black man in Cincinnati has more in common with a working-class white man in Providence, R.I., than with a Ghanaian. With the number of African immigrants in the United States nearly tripling since 1990, the use of African American is becoming increasingly strained. We are not African to any meaningful extent, but we are not white either and that is much of why Jesse Jacksons presentation of the term African American caught on so fast. It sets us apart from the mainstream. It carries an air of standing protest, a reminder that our ancestors were brought here against their will, that their descendants were treated like animals for centuries, and that we have come a long way since then.
But we need a way of sounding those notes with a term that, first, makes some sense and, second, does not insult the actual African Americans taking their place in our country. And our name must also celebrate our history here, in the only place that will ever be our home. To term ourselves as part African reinforces a sad implication: that our history is basically slave ships, plantations, lynching, fire hoses in Birmingham, Ala., and then South Central, in Los Angeles, and that we need to look back to Mother Africa to feel good about ourselves.
But what about the black business districts that thrived across the country after slavery was abolished? What about Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright and Thurgood Marshall, none born in Africa and all deeply American people? And while were on Marshall, what about the civil rights revolution, a moral awakening that we gave to ourselves and the nation. My roots trace back to working-class Black people Americans, not foreigners and Im proud of it. I am John Hamilton McWhorter the Fifth. Four men with my name and appearance, doing their best in a segregated America, came before me. They and their dearest are the heritage that I can feel in my heart, and they knew the sidewalks of Philadelphia and Atlanta, not Sierra Leone.
So, we will have a name for ourselves and it should be Black. Colored and Negro had their good points but carry a whiff of Plessy vs. Ferguson and Bull Connor about them, so we will let them lie. Black isnt perfect, but no term is.
Meanwhile, the special value of Black is that it carries the same potent combination of pride, remembrance and regret that African American was designed for. Think of what James Brown meant with Say it loud, Im Black and Im proud. And then imagine: Say it loud, Im African American and Im proud.
Since the late 1980s, I have gone along with using African American for the same reason that we throw rice at a bride because everybody else was doing it. But no more. From now on, in my writings on race I will be returning to the word I grew up with, which reminds me of my true self and my ancestors who worked here to help make my life possible: Black.
John McWhorter is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
I think it's a mute point. It's just a name..
Horrors..., I can't imagine how this guy will endure the abuse to which he will be subjected!!! Hasn't "Teresa" already claimed the "African-American" title???
There is no way she can claim to be black!!!
And some have names like Heinz-Kerry and speak five languages.
We'd all be better off if they could see fit to take the obvious to heart.
Stop being everything but "Americans".
The people wanting everyone to be called just "Americans", are the same people consistently asking others "What country they're from".
That's the problem.
Also, your name also tells me that you don't accept the 8-10 million Americans of the Muslim faith as Americans, so why insist on the label?
They also speak English with an accent and their mother tongue was Afrikaans or Portuguese.They're far more connected to Africa,than American blacks are !
How about just another rich American. If any of us would go to Africa that is how they would look at us.
So what do we call a white guy from Johannesburg, living in New York?
It's obviously not a "faith" - it's a death cult for morons.
The problem is every hyphenated American. The problem is the need for the hyphenation in the first place. Free-stuff and preferential treatment.
I will need a damned good reason to accept evil muslim cultists as anything but animals bent on world domination and the death of non-muslims. The stated goals of CAIR and the other muzzie fanatics here in the US is an eventual muslim state(i.e. theocracy).
See America is a Republic, muzzies want a theocracy. I have a very serious problem with this. I have a serious problem with any muslim being called "moderate". I have a problem with the collective silence of 1.2 billion muslims whenever heads are removed with a machete, or a young child is bayoneted in the gut and left to die. I have a problem with Islam, and it's the "moderate muslims" who let these killer muslims hide in thier communities, who fund thier terror through "islamic charities", and who blame all thier problems on other peoples, then try to kill them.
And nothing any muslim can say will change my mind. And "But the jews..." doesn't work either.
I never go out of my way to bother someone, I live and let live. I've never ever discriminated against someone because of color or religion. I have a problem with islam in general. And it's Islam's fault I do.
"See America is a Republic, muzzies want a theocracy. I have a very serious problem with this"
You sure about that? 78% of Iranians seem to disagree with your idea.
Do you believe in separation of religion from state in Iran?
Yes, of course 78.4%
No way 18.7%
Don't Know 2.9%
Total votes: 4805
James Earl Jones would agree.
It's obviously not a "faith" - it's a death cult for morons.
As you can see with my post link, I would also agree vehemently with your statement.
And that applies to the US how? They're in Iran.
CAIR and other US muzzie groups are on the record as to the stated goals regarding the US.
If 78% of Iranians disagreed with the mullahs, and really wanted freedom why don't they have it yet?
Would that poll mostly be college aged males with internet access? Hardly a convincing sampling.
It's unconvincing how 78% of Iranians living in Iran want a secular pro-west government? When you just recently posted about how all muslims are fighting for a theocratic US?
I'm not here to defend radical Islam,, but i disagree with your war on Muslims. I think there are great Americans of the Muslim faith, i've met several, especially considering 64% of Iranian-Americans will support President Bush this election and they're mostly Muslim.
Yes it's unconvincing.
If they are college aged males mostly in the poll, then it does not give a representative sampling.
You have the poor without internet access. You have the entire theocracy and thier families, I'll jump to the conclusion(could be wrong) that for every college student there are at least 5 mullah supporters who like it the way it is.
Iran is a net exporter of terrorism, and has been since the revolution. They could not do so if almost 80% of the people were against it.
If Iran gets nukes...(scariest thought on earth right there)...the mullahs are crazy enough to use them and I believe they will as soon as they do, and that will mean the annhilation of Iran as a nation and the deaths of many many Iranians. Not a pleasant thought. IF 78% of Iranians are sick of the mullahs, they better do something soon. Time is running out.
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