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August 28, 2008

Why ‘African-American’?

Would someone please explain to me why we’re supposed to call black people “African-Americans?” I would guess that next to none of them is actually from Africa, and it’s been more than a hundred years since their ancestors came from there.

Plus, probably lots of their ancestors didn’t come from Africa. I also know that no one calls me a “European-American,” though my ancestors are from Germany and Ireland. Why do black people get a title and I don’t?

I seem to remember a time in the 1960s when the catchphrase was “black is beautiful.” Now, all of a sudden, it must not be so beautiful, because we are not politically correct if we call black people “black.”

White is white, black is black, the same for red and yellow and brown.

Colors are only colors, and I think that when we are expected (for reasons I do not comprehend) to hyphenate the word “American” with where people are supposedly from, it does nothing but cause divisiveness among us. We are all Americans, and that’s the only thing that matters.

Barb Hugunin
Lee’s Summit


Art Chick

Jack, that guy's comment was truly profound. Very thought-provoking!


Once in exasperation I asked a client of Mexican decent what he preferred to be called. I confessed that I had heard so many "correct" lables I just didn't know what to call him.

His response (as close to word for word as memory allows?

"My family have been citizens of this country in all probability longer than yours have been in it. I want to know when the hell I get to be an American?"

BTW: After talking to him for a bit I found out his family HAS been citizens longer than mine has been in the country.

Pub 17

What about Negro, Barb? I was perfectly satisfied back in the fifties with Negro, Blanco, Amarillo, Marron, and Rojo to describe the races. And I was fine with "black," too, as we anglicized the Spanish terms for the races. I remember going to school in California with blacks, whites, yellows, reds, and browns. Everybody thought it was cool; nobody objected.

Is there something in the water in Lee's Summit? This is the third or fourth really messed-up letter from that happy community in the past couple months.



You need to find something more important to get all het up over. I have heard the terms Polish-American, Italian-American (even on the "Sopranos"), and Mexican-American.

So stop showing your true colors and your ignorance.


...just realized my comment to renfro did not post. What you said is an insult to women and people of color, which probably says quite a bit about you.

Kate, my dear, if you're out there listening, what would you say to renfro's post?



We've known each other for a year or more and every position I've ever taken has been from the perspective of history. What you call white guilt is really just white history, and for some reason that part of our history makes you uncomfortable. you bring up race riots. Whites had many race riots where thet burned, dismembered and lynched blacks in our history, does that make you uncomfortable too?

I have no white guilt, just an understanding of history. Maybe if I did I'd be uncomfortable like you. As it is, I don't mind talking about race.


"Read a book Barb, we gave blacks a "title" to set them apart from us when they got here centuries ago, its just changed to something more palatable over time."

I can read buddy. If that remark does not harken back to the white man's guilt for enslaving the black man, I will eat your hat.

Remember 1968? The King assiantion and the race riots in major cities? Those events set the ract pimps that we have had to endure since. That is why I refernce that year.

If you take a position, defend it. Stop weasling around for god's sake.


2008 Democrats in Denver have proven racial and gender differences no longer exist – Both women and those of color possess the capacity to lead and represent a liberal three blind mice organization!


Was 1968 a year that you marked in your mind as "Everything is Settled Now"? You constantly bring that particular year up.

I don't bemoan anything, unless that is your definition for subjects that make your stomach uncomfortable when you hear about them. Plus, we owe no apology for slavery and I have said in these threads that I don't believe in reparations to blacks. An apology to blacks would serve no purpose, as there is no way it could be genuine. slavery happened, ugly but true.

"Blacks Afro Americans, whatever..."-Rogue


You bemoan the fact that Blacks Afro Americans, whatever, had a lesser status, slavery, and it is only lately that the population is treating them fairly. What's next Sol, writing every Black, Afro American a check to pay them back for events that occured over 200 years ago?

Tell me when do we have to stop apologizing for slavery? At what point does it become enough? I would really like to know. Because I have heard this caterwalling since 1968, and it has never been enough. I for one am sick of it.

BTW, I responded directly to Barb, you must have missed it.


Hey Rogue,

Why is any conversation about race "playing" the race card? What I said is 100% accurate.

We know what your response to my post is, what would be your response to the letter writer?


And once again Solomon plays the race card, what a shocker!

Listen Barb, Afro American is the PC term, and you darn well better start using it!

Art Chick

Hmm, at first the writer sounds petulant, much like my 6 year-old when sissy's piece of cake looks bigger. Then, he sounds as if he is interested in unity of all, regardless of the country of one's ancestors origin. Confusing.

I have never used the term African American, nor will I, unless perhaps I meet someone from Africa, be they white or black.

I am caucasian, and much of my family are BLACK folks. I have never heard any of them refer to themselves as "African American".

QUit griping. You sound like a wronged child.


"Why do black people get a title and I don't?"

Read a book Barb, we gave blacks a "title" to set them apart from us when they got here centuries ago, its just changed to something more palatable over time.

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