The term African-American is one of the worst pc terms to come into popular use. I never use it, unless someone actually says to me "I don't like being called black. Please call me African-American."
I have good reason for this. Most black people aren't actually from Africa. They were born here, right in the good old USA. So they are Americans. Not anything else. If I meet someone who moved here from Africa, I would probably say they are an African-American. But everyone else is American.
I think it's kind of sad that people seperate themselves this way. I think many blacks complain about the seperation of the races, and yet insist on calling themselves a name that completely removes them from the general population. We teach our children to be color-blind, but we force them to notice color by saying "African-American."
robwicks - I agree. You are right in saying that black leaders are responsible for the term's continued usage. None of my black friends go by African-American either... which brings up an interesting idea: From now on, don't use the term African-American. Just see if it upsets anyone. In my experience, it doesn't, but maybe other people know more sensitive blacks than i do.