First let me start off by saying that I am an American. I have dark skin and am of African ancestry but I was born in the U.S. When I refer to African American I don't mean an African person turned American. Last year I found out what the term African American really meant.

My parents moved fairly often when I was younger and so I ended up going to different schools every year from first to fourth grade. In second grade I attended a catholic school in suburbian Baltimore County. I had to speak and dress conservatively all the while developing emotionally and mentally in a friendly, religious environment. The student population was predominantly white but I don't remember all too well probably because at the time it didn't matter. Families weren't filthy rich but could afford housing in decent neighborhoods. Now that I think about it I was probably happier in that environment than I've ever been in any other.

Nevertheless, the following year I attended a public school in another part of Baltimore County. The school was predominantly black. There was one white kid there...his name was Joey. They spoke differently, they handled their arguments differently, they dressed differently...Every single, little thing about my new school was opposite from that of my old one. I got teased and bullied and couldn't figure out why. How was I suppose to know that doing your homework or participating in class was frowned upon and worthy of a beating? I was told that I wasn't black which baffled me because my skin was the same color as theirs if not darker. For fourth grade to eighth grade I went to another catholic school that was predominantly white. And then I went on to a public high school that was very diverse where I made white friends. It wasn't that I discriminated against the black students but simply that they never talked to me until that one day...

A group of about four or five black students followed me to the lunch room. They were talking to each other. Something about "acting white" and "she ain't black" and "don't you hate it when black people try and act white". Then I turn around and one of them looks me straight in the eye and says "Oreo". Days later I asked one of them what I was if not black. African American. That was a thorough mindfuck right there. I must've spent hours trying to figure out the difference between the two.

Well black refers to all people with dark skin because not all people with dark skin are African Americans..Maybe I'm not dark enough or African enough..

I put much too much effort into it. From what I gathered being "black" or "African American" is a state of mind.

Being or acting "black" means wearing F.U.B.U., speaking ebonics, and having "black" friends. And I'm guessing being "African American" or anything else means...not doing what "black" people do which I think includes not using the n-dash-dash-dash-dash-dash word.

There are supposedly several more differences between "blacks" and "African Americans" but I'm still confused about it all. The lot of us at my old high school were born in America which, I thought, made us just plain Americans.