politicially neutral term for describing a native born person in the United States who happens to have dark skin, and whose ancestors were brought to the US as slaves.

Ironically, its reported origin is exactly the opposite of what it currently means. "African-American" was supposed to mean a native born African who had become an American, rather than a dark skinned native born American.

One of the funniest examples of why reporters are idiots, I've heard over a dozen times over the last month my local news channel refer to various African people who actually live in Africa as African-Americans.

Isn't it great when Political correctness and self-censorship destroy a mind?

Hm, to construct a word like this one, I would be a "European-African". Sounds stupid, doesn't it?

However I must point out that even if (as I am) you were born locally and so are your parents, the feeling that you stand out, that your identity is hyphenated does not go away. It is all over your skin.

In response to comparison of the term African-American (continent instead of nation -specific) with Irish-American or Mexican-American (nation-specific): We must remember, dearest beloveds, that our American siblings descendent from African slaves have not the advantage of knowing just where in Africa their ancestors were kidnapped from.

The U.S. has the distinction of being the only nation that systematically broke down the family and cultural structure of Africans enslaved. African slaves who attempted to teach their children native language, religion, custom, and history were routinely punished for doing so(ranging from a "good-talking-to" to having family members sold off).

It is a basic human psychological need to identify with your "roots," and only those deprived know how damaging is this deprivation.

What term is politically correct? I don't know. But, I suspect an underlying love and respect for one's fellow man supercedes terminology. The best answer to the "which is correct" question I've heard yet was when my former coworker Alex, (a black man) was asked, "What do you prefer to be called?" he replied, "Oh, I like 'Alex.'"

A misnomer, IMO. Not that I dislike political correctness. I'm actually PC when it comes to words and phrases, generally. The thing I take exception to is the notion that all blacks in this country are from Africa (or in their recent heritage anyway - yes, I know we're most likely all from Africa originally). You see this represented all the time in polls and statistics and everything else. For example, say we have a poll that's about high tech jobs. The poll might say "African-American - 10%, White - 60%, Asian - 20%, etc..." (note, I am totally pulling these numbers out of the air, just to illustrate my point). But what about people who don't fit the "criteria" of being African-American? E.g., Australian Aboriginal blacks living in the U.S., or South American blacks, or Jamaicans, etc. And I can't remember again just why it is that we're supposed to use this term now. Is it because the word "black" is offensive? If so, then how do we refer to blacks living outside of the U.S.? Maybe someone can clear this up for me (no, the previous writeups in this node don't help).

I like the writeup about the coworker who likes to be referred to as "Alex". I also don't like to categorize unique, individual people into groups, but if you're going to do this, and you don't like the term "black", then we need something else, because, as I see it, "African-American" just doesn't fit the bill. Yes, I understand the need to feel in touch with your heritage. In that case, you may refer to yourself as African-American if it pleases you. More power to you. But I don't think the rest of the country should be referring to blacks living in the U.S. this way, as a sweeping categorization.

P.S. There's going to be some questions and (maybe) accusations, so I'll tell you: Yes, I am white. No, I don't consider myself to be racist. I think you would find that everyone I know would say the same thing about me. I just don't like overboard political correctness, especially when the word or phrase doesn't seem appropriate.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.