Saturday, February 21, 2004

New Terms

I don't mean to come across as insensitive but is there any chance of replacing "African American" with anything else? In my experience, "African American" is more a term that white people use to show how understanding they are. The vast majority of people I know who are African American/Black/whatever, use "Black." Is this the media's attempt to avoid monosyllabic words?

I just had a student write a paper on Bessie Head's "The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses" which is set in South Africa during apartheid. She refers to the Native Africans (is this a real term yet?) as "African Americans." I also knew a guy from Egypt who is whiter than me but described himself as "African American" (and technically he was right).

How embedded is "African American?" Doesn't "Black" just sound inherently cooler?

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