Black History Culture : African American or Black American?

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Dez K, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. Dez K

    Dez K Active Member MEMBER

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    Okay so, I'm really young. I'm only 18. This is also my first "thread" because something got me thinking, and I wanted to discuss it with you all because it's a little confusing.

    The question is: What does it mean to you to be African American? And do you prefer the term African American, Black American, or both?

    I ask these questions because I need insight from other black people.
    I know the term African American is supposed the equivalent to Italian American, Irish American, Mexican American, German American, etc. It makes sense, but then it doesn't make sense.

    It makes sense because I know people want to have some sort of connection to Africa. What I mean by that is, every other race can trace down their cultural heritage from their grandparents or great grandparents, Japanese, Irish, English, Cherokee, Brazilian, Turkey, Pakistan, etc. But it seems as if we are the only ones that can't trace back African heritage through family members. We can only do that with genealogy tests, because, obviously all that traces back waaay too far. So it makes sense to call native born blacks African American because then we can AT LEAST say, "I know I have African heritage somewhere down the line".

    This is where it DOESN'T make sense. I'll just use myself as an example:

    My mother was born in America, she is black, so she is considered African American.

    My father was born in Nigeria, came to the US for college, and earned citizenship 3 years ago. He is also considered African American. Not only because he is black, but because he is from Africa.

    Clearly, at least to me, two completely different things with the same term.

    If it were up to me, native born black Americans, with distant ties to Africa, should all just be called Black Americans. (meaning they were born in America, and they are black)

    And African American should only be a term for people who were ACTUALLY born and raised in Africa regardless of race. (Africa doesn't have a race attached to it) Or 1st, 2nd, even 3rd generation people who have immediate ties to Africa through family members.

    It just makes more sense that way.

    I mean if a white person from Africa gained citizenship in America, shouldn't they be considered African American too?

    Or if a black person from Trinidad gained citizenship in America, shouldn't they also be considered African American because they also have distant African ancestry like most of us?

    It's confusing because the term itself implies that you have immediate ties to Africa from the eyes of a foreigner. When in reality, I picture an African American to be a black person who was born and raised in America, who only has African ancestry, who has never stepped foot in Africa, nor has any immediate ties to Africa by family members.

    Does that make a black American automatically African American???

    Someone pointed it out to me from Britain. "Why only in America, 'African American'? In Britain, we don't call most British-born blacks 'African British' just because they have African Ancestry."
    I can see why she thought that, cuz it didn't make sense to me either.

    And then, there's the sad fact that most of us don't even know which parts of Africa run through our vains.

    I still feel like half of myself is missing because I only know that my dad is Nigerian. But what about my mom? I have no clue, neither does she.

    I personally use both terms Black American and African American to describe myself because I actully have a Black American mother, and an African father.

    Here's a link to an article I read to explains a black woman's reason for wanting to be called "Black American" when she made a trip to Kenya.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/...erican_why_i_prefer_to_be_called_a_black.html

    Very insightful article. Made me think.

    Nevertheless, what do you think? What does it mean to you?
     
  2. SuperCerebralgal

    SuperCerebralgal Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I really don't understand these arguments

    Why would you call yourself "Black" but not African-American? What is Black denoting??? By your avi, certainly not your actual skin tone so it must be referring to your dark-skinned ancestry, aka African ancestry.

    It's a racial classification. It's really more simple than people make it out to be. I'm sure your father can relate more to the term "Nigerian-American" than he can "African-American", as most Africans who migrate from Africa to America can relate to their hyphenated specific country of origin more than the conglomerate term "African-American"

    African American is a perfect way to describe the descendants of Americans whose African ethnic identities have been stolen away from them. The African in us is precious and we should want to embrace it. It has been our marker for degradation and segregation for our entire existence in America and it makes us uniquely different than all other Americans. Why would you want to be labelled then same thing as the people who oppressed half of your side?
     
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  3. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    To be only 18, you have profound thoughts about race Dez K, very similar to those of Aisha Harris. Personally, I'm good with African-American since Black is understood to apply to all African-Americans.

    To gain even more insight from the points of view of others, click and review the Thread below:

    Are You African or African American?
    Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Destee, Jul 21, 2003

    http://destee.com/index.php?threads/are-you-african-or-african-american.15379/

    ...




     
  4. shaka64

    shaka64 STAFF STAFF

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    I do not connect with the american part. I consider myself a POW
     
  5. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    i rather devote my time toward not getting shot.......
     
  6. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This was settled in the 60s. Black and proud! :10200:





    .
    happy now?


    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  7. Enki

    Enki The Evolved Amphibian STAFF

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    Blacks have been labeled every since we were brought here as slaves. What we originally were, and was called was taken away. Blacks have been "color struck" (that means blacks that have contempt for other blacks based on skin tone) every since a difference was made between the light skinned slave, and the dark skinned slave. We saw this in full force with president Obama, his identity has been contested from all sides. I know you may not know this but there was a time when blacks complained, and was assured that a black would never be president. But now that we have one, he's not black enough.

    You have a gem that you may not see and that is you know who and what you are? For millions of blacks like me, who ancestors were brought here as slaves, don't have that luxury. You can say that you are Nigerian, I can't. So don't overlook that gift searching for something that is trivial.

    IMO, call yourself what every makes you feel comfortable, because trust me, someone somewhere is going to have a problem with it.

    Peace!
     
  8. KingSango

    KingSango Banned MEMBER

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    Why call yourself an American at all? Does it matter African (Africa another made up name)American, Black American.

    I am Yoruba because its better to pick an African tribe that suits you, visit there establish connections with them, learn your culture, and be who you are which is African. Sooner or later large groups of African-American, Black American a 100 years from now will be heading the direction of reclaiming their African names and cultural heritage.

    I believe Obama's failure as President towards AAs has been disasterous. This change of events with the police executing AA men in high number we are under attack more than ever. Unemployment of Black Youth is high and some no way to technical training or higher education. We must form treasury period. We must build institutions to answer this crisis. We must build industry to prosper.
     
  9. RAPTOR

    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    To be physically born in america, though being a descended of the many peoples from afrika
    kidnapped and brought here hundreds of years ago.


    So your position is, if you can't trace back to a particular village,
    then disregard the fact that you are from the motherland at all?
    Afrikan heritages is developed shaped/reshaped every where afrikan
    people go. Culture is not (or should not) be stagnant. I evolves and
    devolves. Do you know that even on the motherland peoples where
    quite nomadic? The society, your father is from in nigeria is not the
    same society of people 3 hundred, or so years ago. Societies split up
    and combine with other societies often. Are you familiar with the
    phrase 'exogamy'? This took place a whole bunch on the motherland.

    If afrika is as far as many can go, then that is fine. The afrikan on the
    continent today is not the same as the one of yesteryear. And through
    chistrianity and islam, many people on the continent are culturally
    having their memories erased. Forfeiting their language culture and
    'god' concept.

    Have you brought this conundrum to your parents? If so, what did they say?

    Then by that logic native born black nigerians, should just call themselves nigerian americans?
    Do you know, there are folks who refer to afrika as "black afrika"?
    Nobody calls europe "white europe"....

    When you hear the term 'native american', what does it mean?

    Foreigners upon arrival to another country are often
    confused. And then they get the hang of it.

    That is your definition and you are entitled to it. That is not much anyone can say to this; that is how you feel.

    Again, what does native amrican mean to you?

    Well, tell your friend to come over to Destee.com and maybe someone(s) can
    help her out.

    The fact that you use the term afrikan in regards to afrikan americans or black folk, shows that at least you know where
    a particular people in this country come from even if its general.

    I wish you and your mother to best of luck should you both decide to separate from the realm of cluelessness.

    Ultimately, you are gonna have to go on that quest, should you
    choose and determine where you stand and ride with it to the
    end...
     
  10. RAPTOR

    RAPTOR Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The first minute and a half, prof. smalls breaks down
    the 'illness' that afrikans even on the continent
    are faced with just as well:

     
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