Talk:African Americans/Archive 4

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6 Archive 10

What happened here?

I've noticed that there is a lot of repitition in the introduction and definition sections of this article. Also, if the term is so disputed as to who is included, we should probably delete the census info in the opening paragraph, or explain who the census bureau considered African American. But all in all the additions made in the article has made it a confusing and repetitive mess.Ramsquire 21:24, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I know it's a mess. I've been saying it's a mess. Even the discussion is a mess. No argument out of me, IMO it's a mess. Quill 22:05, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Lot's of the discussion on this page refers to things that are no longer in the article and sometimes people add to a comment about a resolved issue. I think that's one reason the talk page is so messy. I kinda wish the talk pages worked more like usenet. As for the article itself I think it's pretty good now. It's an understatement to say race in the United States is a mess and therefore I expect an article about anything having to do with race to look and feel messy. When I do any editing I try to pretend that I'm explaining it to someone from another country or that someone hundreds of years in the future is reading it. --Gbleem 04:36, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I never realized that black American has never been an accepted term. I use it to identify myself all the time. I find it more accurate, since I am black and American, and have almost no connection to African culture or history. Well I guess that's why Wiki is important. Ramsquire 22:21, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Does "foodways" include agricultural methods. I vaguely remember reading about african rice and rice farming techniques in a book on South Carolina. Should you add "crops and agricultural methods" or something like that? --Gbleem 10:56, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Good point. Actually, no, it doesn't. You might want to add it. Most definitely. African slaves were responsible for the tremendous success of rice cultivation in the South -- which had failed dismally before they brought their expertise to bear. Also, my edits are really kind of quickie things in response to things that jumped out at me as being off. I haven't finished reading the synopses. I'm hoping others will also take a good look at them. deeceevoice 14:17, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

African American History/Emancipation Proclamation

As far as I know it was the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery and not the Emancipation Proclamation. I think it is erroneaous to keep stating that Lincoln (Emancipation Proclamation) freed the slaves when in fact it was an act of Congress that accomplished that. How could Lincoln have freed the slaves in the south when the north did not have control of the southern states at the time the proclamation was enacted? I think this statement needs to be changed.


Just because opinions are 'shouted down' doesn't mean the underlying issues have been resolved. Replacing NPOV message. Quill 00:29, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Quill, I remember only one concern being raised in the past w/regard to POV in this piece. I assumed it had been resolved, since the notice had been removed. The business about white South Africans is absurd on its face. What issues remain outstanding? deeceevoice 01:02, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Hi Deecee,
I do not have the time or inclination to pick out every issue that every person might find contentious in terms of neutrality, but here are some that jump out at me. Some could be fixed by a sentence tweak, I think, some are more problematic:
  • First and last sentences of article are oppositional
  • African American, black and, to a lesser extent, Afro-American, are used interchangeably today but often incorrectly. This reads as POV unless explained.
  • What are African citizens living in or naturalized in US properly called if not ‘African American’ and who says?
  • A minority of African Americans reject the term.
  • Sentence tweak needed: Persistent social problems for African Americans include inadequate health care delivery; institutional racism and discrimination in housing, policing, criminal justice and employment; crime; and substance abuse.
  • This is not completely true: Previous terms used to identify American blacks were conferred upon the group by whites and were included in the wording of various laws and legal decisions which became tools of white supremacy. Negro, e.g. has been a term of choice in times past.
  • I just don’t think this is true: The descriptive term Black American has never been common in the US. The second part of that final sentence is probably true today.
  • This is unsubstantiated and just plain offensive: In the last decade, a growing movement has developed, spearheaded mostly by white mothers of African-American children, towards the adoption and acceptance of the term bi-racial.
  • Misplaced: For many, African-American is more than a name expressive of cultural and historical roots. The term expresses black pride and a sense of kinship and solidarity with others of the black African diaspora -- an embracing of the notion of pan-Africanism earlier enunciated by prominent black thinkers such as Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Dubois and, later, George Padmore.
In general, though, I think the whole thing is much improved. I'm not embarrassed to link here now.
Just MHO, since you asked.
Quill 07:47, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Quill, thanks for your lengthy response. I haven't read this piece or contributed to it substantially in ages in its entirety, and it's undergone all kinds of changes since. When I have time, I'll go back through it and read it again -- and then I'll go back and read your criticisms in their entirety. (Right now, I'm crunching a deadline.) I skimmed as far down the list to the business about the use of biracial. (That's the one section I do recall as having previously been flagged for being POV, but I don't remember how or when that little icon was removed.) I don't know why you find it offensive; it's a fact. The movement for the adoption of the term was started by white mothers of black children. If you'd like substantiation, I'm sure I can dig some up. Anyway, like I said, I'll return to this piece when I have more time. deeceevoice 11:25, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yes, well--you're not expected to drop everything and single-handedly fix this.
To answer your specific question--I don't think that white mothers have black children--to me, that's eugenics and inherently racist and I reject it. The only white mothers I have read of in this context call their children 'black'--Hettie Jones springs to mind, and it seems her attitude had a deleterious effect, from Lisa Jones's writing the poor girl was messed up for a while--hope she's gotten it together since. I don't think I've ever discussed the matter with any black fathers of white children ;). I have heard support for the term from white fathers, actually, and stong support for 'multiracial' or 'multiethnic' and the like from black persons (i.e. people identifying themselves as such) who, while not rejecting their blackness, nevertheless want their whole identity recognized.
Interestingly, I agree the use of the term 'biracial' is problematic--is it merely the recognition of having two heritages or does it smack of not wanting to be identified as 'black'--but that's another discussion.
Quill 23:11, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Well, regardless of what you think [echoes of the exchange with the no-name guy below who wants to classify white South Africans as African Americans], I've got to advise a reality check. This is not about what should be; the fact of the matter is in the context of the legal racial classification of peoples in this nation (and the customary black acceptance of "mixed-race" individuals as our own and their customary rejection by whites), white mothers (and white fathers) do, indeed, have black children! And it was white mothers who made, I suppose understandably, a big deal out of forcing/lobbying for the use of "biracial" when referring to children of mixed black/white parentage. That's simply fact -- and is correct as so stated. If changing the "black" to "mulatto" or some other such term would make it less offensive to you, then fine. But it's certainly historically accurate. This from the Internet:

It took a lot of angry mommas to force the U.S. Bureau of the Census to deal with reality: Some people are white. Some people are black. Some are Hispanic or Asian or Native American. And some are a mix of two or more ethnic backgrounds.

In 2000, for the first time, the forms distributed by the Bureau of the Census to millions of households across America gave biracial and multiracial individuals the option of marking more than one category under the section of the survey marked "Race."

This was seen as a major victory for both biracial persons and the white mothers of biracial children, who had lobbied for years for separate categories on census and other state and federal documents [emphasis added]. But it didn't address underlying issues of how biracial men and women choose their individual racial identities or how they deal with a society that wants to pigeon hole individuals as either one thing or the other.

deeceevoice 23:25, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

And, since you mention it, there are so many more horror stories of children whose heads have been screwed sideways by inept white mothers who haven't had a clue about raising whole, healthy, black children (who often end up raising their mixed children alone for various reasons), who've told them, in effect, "You aren't black" -- even when, by all outward appearances, they clearly are of African ancestry and may not appear to have any "white blood" at all; they've got brown skin, nappy hair and African features -- or simply look like millions of other African-Americans who have two predominantly black parents, but who have white or Native American ancestry somewhere along the line. Try that one on for size! Or, these misguided women tell their confused offspring, "You're not a member of the black race or the white race; you're a member of the human race." In a world where ethnic affiliations are important to apparently everyone but these mothers of biracial children, and in a society such as ours deeply polarized along racial lines, this is sheer nonsense -- and downright irresponsible parenting. Just about any black person you may encounter can recount more than a few of those, myself included. I must admit I don't have a clue who the people who mention are. I don't spend much time mulling over the angst of mixed black folks (not to suggest you do, either). One person of mixed parentage does immediately come to mind, though, who appears to be fairly healthy, who readily identifies herself as a black woman: Halle Berry. deeceevoice 00:07, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)'fairly healthy' Halle Berry (even Ms. Berry isn't sure--her words) has a white mother, doesn't she?
Plenty of black parents have screwed up their children, black, mixed, undecided and clueless, WRT race. There are black parents who tell their children they're not black, they're black but they're not black, black; they're not 'that kind of black'; they've got 'bad hair', 'good hair', they're too dark, too light.
Well, we can debate that one over coffee sometime but meanwhile, good edits!
Quill 00:04, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Well, uh, yes. Halle Berry has a white mother (duh) -- who, apparently understanding the dynamics of race and racism in American society, raised her daughter to recognize herself as a black woman, recognizing that that is how she would be seen by people. Unlike the examples I gave of some idiotic white mothers I've known (and known of) who taught their (obviously) black children to deny their blackness. Sad and pathetic -- and the eventual cause of all kinds of problems with the kids.

And, yes, just as some white parents get it right and wrong, some black parents get it right and wrong. The thing about the sickness of racism/white supremacy (both projected outward and internalized as self-loathing) is that it can cripple whites and blacks and make them equally incompetent as parents, equally incapable of raising whole, healthy, loving human beings.

About the edits, yes, I thought mine useful. I wish I could say the same for your tweaking. Frankly, I thought it somewhat superfluous. I don't agree that the original wording said the black middle class was a new phenomenon. You (and, possibly, others) may have read it that way, but that's not what it says. But since, apparently, there may have been room for misinterpretation, I've got no real problem with it.

The movement for the use of "biracial" was in supremely predominant part a movement of white mothers. Interesting you wrote you'd never had a similar discussion about terminology with black fathers. There's a good reason for that. Black fathers generally weren't egaging the issue at all. As I said earlier, black folks have lived -- and continue to live -- with the understanding that being black in this nation is to be a "mongrel." It's hardly a news flash. What was new was that white mothers were becoming less and less stigmatized by their relationships with black men (or simply less cowed by that stigmatization) and the resulting offspring. For the most part, they were (are) the ones left to raise the children on their own and, for various reasons (some reasonably legitimate from their perspective, some for purely racist or just off-the-wall), didn't want their "black" children classified in such a manner. And, no. If you find your wording less "offensive," even though it is substantially less accurate/more misleading (at least as misleading as the passage about the black middle class that you felt compelled to change), then I'm not gonna make a big deal about it. I feel I've substantiated my original wording. I'm sure if I searched further, I'd find even more evidence. I simply don't have the inclination. deeceevoice 13:52, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Now, with regard to the POV caveat, are there any remaining concerns that need to be addressed? (I still haven't read the present article in its entirety.) Otherwise, the blurb can be disappeared. deeceevoice 14:15, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)

A small point: I'm wondering one would phrase this: The term African-American refers only to United States citizens, but is often applied to black residents who are not citizens. to include the practice of referring to people outside the US as African-American, as there have been several reports of people complaining about being described that way (For instance, Trevor McDonald), as they don't want to be referred to as American. Is it worth including this? SimonFr 10:56, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Page title change?

From my perspective the term “African-American” is someone who was born in Africa and moved to America gaining U.S citizenship. This could apply to ANYONE (Black, White, Asian, etc.) who was BORN in Africa. If I’m born in Japan and move to America am I a Japanese American? Yes, and in ignorance terms, no. Yes, if I’m born in Japan I’m a Japanese citizen. If you say Japanese means Asian then that is ignorance because all Asians are not from Japan. All Black people are not from Africa so in reality “African-American” only applies to a small group of people with citizenship in an African nation. Which would make them Nigerian-American, or Sudanese-American, etc. Unlike our light-bulb bright President, we all know that Africa is a continent and not a country. So what are we to do? Do we go with 1. (Continent of origin)-American, 2. (Country of origin)-American, or 3. (Race Group)-American? If we go with (1) then we need to have Wiki pages for South America, Europe, Asia, hell even Antarctican-Americans, regardless of race. We could “Native” Americans and just call “Indians” Americans since everyone else migrated (or were slave traded here). If we go with (2) then we have hundreds of (country of choice)-Americans regardless of race. Or we can go with (3) which would be calling all spades “spades” regardless of where you come from. I can take this a little bit deeper since there are no literally “black” people, hell black isn’t even a color. So I think it’s up to “Brown” people to decide what “Black” people are going to call ourselves and quit letting “White (pink)” people give us these pacifying, hypocrisy filled labels.

This point really has been discussed adequately. Have you read the above discussions? I really think the overwhelming majority understands the term 'African American' as being the latest and preferred term for persons of African descent born in the US. Whether or not it should properly be applied to African citizens living or naturalized in the US is touched upon in the article, and could probably be expanded upon. Quill 07:05, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Hey, no-name. You clearly haven't read the discussion regarding this matter. And though your opinion may be strongly held, you're most certainly not in the majority on this one. White folks are NOT African Americans. lol The notion is utterly ridiculous. Further, the term is one of self-designation. Black folks chose the term. Were you even around when the discussion about the term was going on 30 or so years ago? If you were, then you most certainly missed it. Get a clue. And, no, let's not take this to "there are no literally 'black' people.'" It's been done, and it's pointless. deeceevoice 11:30, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Some coments on deeceevoice's comments

I was interested in some comments from deeceevoice, which underline the cultural differences between being White English and African American.

deeceevoice said:

And, since you mention it, there are so many more horror stories of children whose heads have been screwed sideways by inept white mothers who haven't had a clue about raising whole, healthy, black children (who often end up raising their mixed children alone for various reasons), who've told them, in effect, "You aren't black" -- even when all, by outward appearances, they clearly are and may not appear to have any "white blood" at all; they've got brown skin, nappy hair and African features -- or simply look like millions of other African-Americans who have two black parents, but who have white or Native American ancestry somewhere along the line.

I was wondering whether you would hold the view in the opposite situation, where a child of mixed race appeared to be white, would it be wrong for the parent's to tell them they are not white? This is of particular interest to me, because I have a grand-parent of middle-eastern origin, and it was never suggested to either me or my father that we were anything other than "White English". I think there may also be a UK/US difference here, because in the UK if someone who appeared white has a black ancestor we would refer to them as white, whereas in the US, despite their obvious appearance I think many people would refer to them as black. (I have a Texan wife, and I was very confused when she once told me that she had "discovered" that a work colleague was black!).

deeceevoice said:

...Or, these misguided women tell their confused offspring, "You're not a member of the black race or the white race; you're a member of the human race." In a world where ethnic affiliations are important to apparently everyone but these mothers of biracial children, and in a society such as ours deeply polarized along racial lines, this is sheer nonsenses -- and downright irresponsible parenting.

As a white person I find it interesting that in a white family the same thing would be seen as positive and progressive. I *do* tell my kids that they, and all people, are members of the human race. If someone were to say "you are a member of the white race, not just the human race" to their child I would see that as racist. Of course I can see that the situation is very different if you are not a member of the majority culture, and don't have the luxury of being able to "assume" your cultural identity as the default. -- Chris Q 07:44, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Ugh. So many typos in my original comments! But my opinions, of course, are "colored" by my own cultural and historical experience in an American society. And, no. I don't believe it would've been wrong for the same parent/s to tell their child he/she was not white. He/she wouldn't be. That same child could grow up, marry and bear offspring with very Africanoid features. It might be nappy hair only. It might be dark skin only. It might be a broad nose and full lips features only. Or it might be a combination of any two or more. And then what do you say to that child, who may have grown up with no contact whatsoever with the black side of their family and, believing they were, in fact, white, married white? And what do you say to the (likely) mortified in-laws? "White" in this society means white. "Black" in this society can mean any combination of ethnicities, as long as there is a fairly predominant (even if not necessarily obvious at first glance) African bloodline.
Now, as to whether one stance or the other is "racist," that depends entirely upon the rationale behind the tag. White folks observing the one-drop rule generally did so for racist reasons. Black folks, on the other hand, did it as a matter of acceptance of the reality that, no matter if they were "light, bright, almost white," "yellow and mellow," "brown and could stick around" or "black and had to get back," we were all "knee-grows" and, thus, subject to the same discrimination, the same violence, the same indignities and injustices. And in that common oppression was common cause, was a solidarity and strength -- nd, because of segregation, more times than not, shared cultural experiences (in addition to historical ones). It had nothing to do with accepting that bullshyt about any "white" being tainted by "inferior black blood" being somehow unfit to be a member of the white race. One rule, yes -- but radically different reasons for accepting it. deeceevoice 14:06, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I had to return to add the most obvious and powerful rationales for the one-drop rule: economics and power. It amplified and consolidated white power. If one owned slaves, the one-drop rule made it easier for one to add to one's wealth. Typical language in bills of sale for female slaves (much as that in contracts conveying livestock, which is pretty much what we often were considered) was that the woman "and her increase [offspring]" were conveyed. A philandering, rapist crakkka son-of-a-bitch could get a two-fer: a fun-filled night forcing himself on his "black/nigger wenches," and then he got to work and bullwhip the "increase" -- his own progeny -- from can't see to can't see. The South's "gentleman planters" and other whites of privilege were not threatened by the growing numbers of mulattoes and "'roons"; they were enriched by them. Even out of slavery, the numbers of human beings who could be kept functionally illiterate, ragged and poor, used as fieldhands/sharecroppers, manual laborers and domestics, and terrorized for sport based on race was far vaster under the one-drop rule --a windfall for a system based on white power and privilege and black disadvantage and oppression. And although free or dirt-cheap black labor competed with poor whites, even white trash could gain some satisfaction/comfort from the fact that, although they were destitute, illiterate and hungry, too, "at least we ain't nigruhs." deeceevoice 12:57, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

And about being a "member of the human race." As far as I'm concerned, that's a given and need not be stated -- unless, of course, someone was raised by wolves, barks like a dog and howls at the moon. Embracing the universal does not mean one need repudiate the specific. One can be African-American, or Serbian, or Japanese, or Afghan, or Inuit and still find kinship with other humans of different ethnic backgrounds. Those things needn't be ignored or devalued as though they somehow get in the way of being human; indeed, such diverse ethnicities are the threads that comprise the fabric of humanity. The particulars of ethnicity, of culture, of human experience are what give that fabric depth and richness, and what also form the foundation of human family/community. It is only by embracing the individual, the self, that one can embrace the whole; that one sees the universal. Otherwise, there is no meaningful thread connecting one to another/others. The connection is superficial/shallow/cerebral rather than visceral/spiritual; it is a sham. Aime Cesare recognized this in his enunciation of negritude. Connection to small, like groupings -- community -- is a basic human need. Approached without hatred and suspicion, accepted without shame, claimed without chauvinism or a sense of entitlement, ethnicity defines, roots and grounds us. IMO, one cannot be a true citizen of the world without a clear understanding and appreciation of the history of one's people and the burdens, blessings and responsibilities that go with that unique history. I think we lie to ourselves when we pretend otherwise -- not to mention rob our progeny of a rich legacy that is their birthright. deeceevoice 06:58, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Might makes right

Apparently this has turned into a "those who shout loudest shall win" discussion. I'm not going to keep pushing the same point, if the only response is going to be "Revolver, this was discussed and settled long ago." The simple verifiable fact is that "African American" is a contested term. Evidence for this fact is the fact about a recent controversy over whether Obama is "African American", among other things. The whole notion of the term is self-contradictory. The term, as I understand it by the above discussion, is meant to encompass black Africans living in America descended from slaves. The term ends up getting applied to most blacks, regardless of whether anything is known in particular about their geneology. The culture of blacks whose ancestors have lived in the US since the 1700s owes far more to their time in the US since the 1700s then to any African origins before this. Anyone who denies this is just blind. The fallacy of the reasoning is apparent when considering "European Americans" (a term I don't normally use, but what the heck...) By the same logic, if one is allowed or required to stretch so far back in one's ancestry, the demographic wave of "Hispanics" and "Latinos" should more accurately be called "Spanish Americans", because after all, this is their ultimate origin. Yet this is not the case, because Spain is in Europe, not Africa, and so it is not politically correct to point out that Hispanics ultimately trace their culture to Spain. This is the fundamental contradiction of the Afrocentrism driving the term – one is only authentic to the extent that one can distinguish oneself from European culture. Since black Americans trace their geneology ultimately back to Africa, they can start there because this is distinct. Yet, Hispanics are not allowed to trace an equal amount back in time, because to do so would fail to distinguish them from European culture. The moment they split from European culture, they are authentic and deserve a new name for themselves.

The continued assertion that "African American" is simply a neutral term arrived at, just masks its inherently politically charged essence. Similar comments go for "Native American", another misnomer. ("Native Americans" migrated from Russia. In any case, the term "native" should refer to any person born in America. Again, the term serves as a PC point of reference to mark a divergence from European culture.)

I would suggest the collective authors of this article travel outside the U.S. Most black Africans (and all Africans) are startled and perplexed by the term, and even take offense at it. I still say, for the record, that was is missing from this article is any mention of the fact that the usage of the term given is only rarely recognised outside the U.S. (I get the impression from the article that there is no world outside the U.S.) The fact that the term has been "chosen" by those who use it does not erase its fundamental contradictions and politically charged nature.

Revolver 23:54, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I don't know about the entire world, but I can certainly tell you that in some parts of it outside the US, the "African-{foo}" terminology is in fact catching on. E.g. I'm from Bermuda, which having had (like the Caribbean islands) substantial importation of slaves, now has a majority black population, and the preferred formal term these days for black Bermudians is "African-Bermudian". True, Bermudian culture is heavily influence by the US, but they aren't clones by any means, and have long had some negative feelings about their large neighbour (e.g. I was there during 9/11, and was astounded to meet people who expressed satisfaction at the attacks). Noel (talk) 14:24, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Copied from Hispanic:

  • In the US some people consider Hispanic to be too general as a label, while others consider it offensive, often preferring to use the term Latino, which is viewed as a self-chosen label. The preference of Latino over Hispanic is partly because it more clearly indicates that those it is referring to are the people from Latin America, and not Spain.*** (my emphasis)

Precisely! One is authentic and deserves a new name the moment one can distinguish oneself from European culture. Revolver 00:06, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Aw, man. You're so full of it, your eyes are brown! lol. First of all, the contradictions inherent in the use of the term already have been noted. Second, regarding your assertion, "The culture of blacks whose ancestors have lived in the US since the 1700s owes far more to their time in the US since the 1700s then to any African origins before this": I suppose the same can be said for Italian-Americans, too -- many of whom, incidentally, who are generations removed from Europe still refer to their families as "Italian." As I stated in "A simple, commonsense explanation of the term," such simply has been the custom in this nation of immigrants. Further, it is undeniable that there are a great many things about African-American culture that are not "American," or "European," per se, but distinctly African in origin. We are not simply darker Americans. And "anyone who denies this is just blind!" IMO, the label is fitting and proper. Further -- one mo' gin :-p -- none of your assertions changes the fact that the term is one of self-designation, as opposed to one having been selected for us by white America, as you originally charged.
Second, your point about the use of "Latino" versus "Hispanic" rings hollow. "Hispanic" simply means of or pertaining to Spain." The term is technically correct for only some Latinos, given that Brazilenos' European heritage is Portuguese. "Latino" is actually short for "latinoamericano." And guess what? "Latin" is a dead language spoken by mostly white folks. Does that also somehow make the label invalid? I don't think so. What gives the name "Latino" legitimacy is the fact that it is a term of self-assertion, of self-designation. And, yes, as someone who's spent time on MiGente, there is still considerable debate and confusion over these terms in the Latino community, as well.
"...the demographic wave of "Hispanics" and "Latinos" should more accurately be called 'Spanish Americans', because after all, this is their ultimate origin." That contention is ridiculous on its face. Whose screwy version of history have you been reading? Most Latinos are Indio-Latinos and Afro-Latinos -- not blancos. Indio-Latinos, who comprise the majority of Latinos are indigenous to the Americas -- not Europe. Further, not only is it "not politically correct to point out that Hispanics ultimately trace their culture to Spain," it is also not historically correct. Yes, there are distinct European influences in Latino culture, but just as Africans had their own culture when they arrived here in holds of slave ships, so, too, did -- and do -- Indio and Afro-Latinos have distinct and rich cultural heritages that have been retained and strengthened and that pervade the whole of Latin American culture. I'm sure Dominicanos (who are almost all Afro-Latino) and aficionados of bachata, merengue, perico ripiao would be surprised to read they, their music and other aspects of their culture are the result of "European" origins. By the same token, I'm sure Indio and Afro-Latinos -- who, again, comprise the majority populations of Latin America -- would be greatly amused find they owe their origins to some white folks across the ocean. I bet you also believe Christopher Columbus "discovered" America, too, huh? (Bwoi, what you been smokin'? :-p)
Another false argument is your so-called "fundamental contradiction of the Afrocentrism." You've simply erected a strawman. A people and the way they choose to identify themselves are not somehow magically rendered "authentic" because they suddenly decide to distinguish themselves from Europeans (or any other group). They are already cuturally, historically and existentially distinct. The name change is simply an outward manifestation of an internal self-identification process that naturally occurs/evolves once a degree of self-empowerment and self-determination have come to the fore. In these populations, the felt necessity to define oneself as separate from those who have subjugated/oppressed them is particularly strong and, IMO, particularly and pointedly legitimate/authentic.
And this isn't about what people are "allowed" to do. This is not about being granted permission to call oneself something. This is about, again, self-designation, people who traditionally have been defined/named by an external culture appropriating/crafting terminology which they find acceptable in order to define themselves. "Afro-centrism"? I would wage that most everyday black folks who use the term African-American or Afro-American (IMO, unfortunately) have not even considered the political implications of the term. It is merely an expression of pride in one's culture, in one's heritage -- no different from "Polish-American," "Italian-American," etc.
If you've read the previous discussion to which you repeatedly have been referred, you would recognize that the political nature of the term African-American is evident; it has been discussed in the archived section -- and, again, in my comments herein.
And, "Most black Africans (and all Africans) are startled and perplexed by the term, and even take offense at it" [emphasis added]? I don't know. I haven't polled "most" black Africans, but none of my African friends or acquaintances has expressed any puzzlement or offense at the use of "African-American" by previously so-called "American Negroes," or "black Americans." And, dang, bwoi! You must have taken the Armstrong Williams-Whoopi Goldberg excursion to Africa. Wrong. Again. I've never been, but friends of mine who have tell me that those Africans on the continent who initially may be confused by the term, once it is explained to them, embrace it wholeheartedly. They see us as long, lost "cousins." ("Omowale," or "the one who has returned to us," is a common name given by Nigerians to brothers who make the trip "home to Africa.") But one thing is important here and must be noted: for a term of self-designation to have legitimacy, the only requirement is that it be widely accepted by the population to which it refers. And that means we don't need the imprimatur of folks like Whoopi Goldberg, or white folks, or even native black Africans. Hell, we can call ourselves "Moonpies," if we want, and cain't nobody say a mumblin' word (that has any significance or import). deeceevoice 07:09, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Black American Ancestry

"Many African Americans also claim European, Native American, or Asian ancestors."

The the last time I checked Blacks were just European, Native American, and African. That is what composes the modern Black American. So where did this Asian part come from?


My guess would be that the author was (rightly) including African Americans of Caribbean and Latin American descent, a number of whom have Chinese and/or indian ancestry. And/Or the author might have been considering American Indians as being of Asian orgin. Quill 22:48, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

What? You've never heard/don't know of any of black men having children with Asian women? These offspring are also African-American. deeceevoice 02:37, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think your talking about Blacks have kids with Asian recently. I'm talk about the large scale mixing of African, Europeans, and Native Americans to form the collective gene pool that is the modern Black American. Asians were not included in this process. Asians haven't even been in this country that long to have contributed anything the development of Blacks. And West Indians are not African American. It doesn't matter that a couple of folks did out West I'm talking about the people as a whole.

Sorry, but you don't have a clue. Asians helped build the nation's railroads. They've been in this country in significant numbers since the 1800's. And, particularly black GI's have been marrying/having kids with Asian women (Japanese, Korean, Cambodian -- you name it) for decades. What? You don't know any black-Asian folks? Tiger Woods ain't the only one. Further, the article doesn't say anything about who has or who hasn't "contributed anything [in] the development of blacks," vis-a-vis this issue. This is simply about who is and who isn't African-American. And the folks I know who have Asian ancestry (including some of my cousins) are most definitely African-American. deeceevoice 10:51, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I seem to recall reading somewhere (sorry, no idea where, now) that many of the "Buffalo soldiers" (African-American soldiers in segregated regiments, used in wars against the Plains Indians) took up with Chinese or Native American partners while out there. So the Asian mixture started quite a while back (although my guess would be that it has accelerated post-WWII, for the reasons you mention - also add Filipinos). Certainly the Chinese immigration to the West started quite a long time ago - they were already there on the ground in large numbers when the Southern Pacific started recruiting them to build the SPRR, during the 1860's (Chinese labourers did much of the tunneling and other rock work to get over/through the Sierra Nevada). (And in fact white Californians were so worried over Chinese immigration that restrictions on their immigration were put in place in the late 1800's - don't recall when, alas, should be easy to research, though.) Noel (talk) 14:12, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I hadn't addressed the Native American thing, because Quill already mentioned it. But blacks and Native Americans have been "mixing"/intermarrying since the beginning. NA's often took in runaway slaves. There is a long and interesting history about blacks and Native Americans coming together to fight white folks and of blacks joining NA tribes. The Seminoles, Choctaw, Creek and Chickasaw are notable in this regard. Cherokees, too -- though some held black slaves after the Confederacy offered some tribes the right to hold black slaves as a quid pro quo for strategic access to Indian land during the Civil War. Many Native Americans despised the white man for his treatment not only of their own people, but because of slavery. One notable chief (whose name escapes me) essentially said that African slavery was a true sign that whites were despicable and morally bankrupt, that they could not be trusted or respected.

Blacks were respected members of Indian nations, some becoming tribal leaders: e.g., John Horse was one of Seminole chief Osceola's closest lieutenants. In fact, Andrew Jackson's brutal forced march of southeastern tribes to the West was a calculated attempt to dismantle the alliances between Africans and NA's, because they were killing too many white folks. Together, blacks and NA's were formidable opponents to white territorial expansion, NA genocide and slavery. Lots of "black Indians" went West on the Trail of Tears, and there are lots of them still out in Oklahoma, Kansas and thereabouts. Also, there was tremendous debate in some NA tribes/communities who had black tribal members regarding the Civil War. Out West, notably some Choctaw and Chickasaw voted to join the War and fight for the Union because of slavery. The issue of slavery and the Civil War split the tribes. As the article states, in the 1970s, the Amsterdam News reported that blacks w/Native American ancestry numbered in the upper 80th percentile. My people are from Louisiana, and I myself am Caddo and Cherokee on both sides of my family, with my "Mama Jane" (my paternal great-grandmother) being a "full blood" (Cherokee). So, "racially" speaking, I'm Asian, too. And I'm as African-American (culturally and politically) as we come. deeceevoice 14:52, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I only mentioned the Native American connection in passing in my comments above because I was mostly commenting on the Asian connection (but didn't want to leave the mistaken impression that the Buffalo Soldiers only took up with Asian women). I did know of the long-standing connection between African-Americans and Native Americans, but some of your details are new to me - the thing with the Civil War splitting the tribes was very interesting. Noel (talk) 15:26, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

No, you didn't give that impression. I'm counting Native Americas as, technically, ("racially") "Asian." But I did suspect that someone reading your comments might think that Buffalo soldiers were the first Africans to intermarry w/Native Americans. Just wanted to put the black-NA interface in historical perspective. 'S all. deeceevoice 15:45, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

There are 36 million Black Americans in the United States and only 2 million claim some sort of other heritage. Your arguement are invalid because to be valid they have to go back hundreds of years not decades and have to apply to the Black population at large. There have never been enough Black out West for a long enough time to make Asian important to the development of Black Americans. Just because your family is mixed like that doesn't mean it applies to all Black people and does mean your scenario applies to everyone. The modern Black American is African, European, and Native American and this can be traced back to the early history of America. Native Americans are not Asians in any form. I know all about the "Five Civilized Tribes" and how the Cherokee and other owned slaves and treat them just as badly as whites did. I know about the Seminoles and how they took in runaway slaves. These are the root of the NA mixture in Black heritage. But you can't just write whatever you think is right in your mind they page is subject to the opinions of other and the majority of people don't think Native Americans are Asian and not enough Black people are mixed to have the passage "Most African Americans also have other ancestry such as European, Native American or Asian ancestry." 2 million isn't most Black people and the fact that Black by default are African, European, and Native American makes its irrelevant. -Eurytus

What's with you? The article simply says "most" have ancestors other than indigenous Africans. And that's accurate. A website AncestrybyDNA says: "High levels of admixture are highly characteristic of recent admixture events and various populations show systematic types of admixtures. The average African American shows 20% European admixture..." One needn't resort to DNA testing to verify that African-Americans are a bunch of mongrels. Just look at us. How many mahogany brown brothers and sisters do you come across -- especially above the Mason-Dixon Line and out West? And I know personally many more black folks with Native American ancestors than white ones. What does that tell you about the percentage of African Americans with NA ancestry (and keep in mind the article in the 1970s in the black newspaper the New York New Amsterdam New, which mentioned numbers in the upper 80th percentile). YOur objections to the statement are not grounded in fact. The majority of African-Americans in this nation ARE, indeed, mixed with other ethnic groups. There are precious few, if any, pure Africans in this nation whose ancestors survived the Middle Passage. deeceevoice 01:35, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'm saying its inaccurate to say Black people are only one when we are all three. Black people have interbred with one another to the point whereall of us have European and Native American. I just wanted to have it hcanged to something like "The majority of African Americans are of an African, European, and Native American mixed ancestry." Since you seem to be big on facts like that I figured you agree. Black people didn't just mix with Indians or white and go there seperate ways they jump back in the gene pool hand down these treats the the rest of us. You just make it seem like we're suppose to be pure African when its this distinct ethnic cocktail that makes us a seperate ethnic group from Jamaicans or Mau Mau. I didn't delete it I altered it. -Eurytus

I tweaked it ever so slightly. It works for me. Far better than simply just repeatedly deleting something you don't like. :-) deeceevoice 07:08, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Bias dressed up

The sections you're trying to delete from African American -- U.S. Lexicon are a legitimate discussion of the history of black and white relations in the United States, and it's not appropriate to delete these valid paragraphs. RickK 07:28, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

It is NOT legitimate for non-AA's to comment on slang used for a minority in an encyclopedia. This is not scholarship, but bias dressed up. When the European American page starts getting edited by Quill, RRick and the other biased, fanatically oriented watch-list based posters (not authors), then I'll believe you. objective 07:36, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC) ....actually posted not by "objective" but by Gearle0521

Well as expected, two administrators, RRick and Gadfium, staff engineers in Silicon Valley have started using their deleting power on a newbie. Because they have to make sure African Americans are constantly denegrated and under attack, they will maintain their unbelievable attention to this stupid page, which only race oriented people would use ask their definition guide! 08:17, 2005 Jan 26 forgot to add four twiddles to that comment.

Gearle, you're way off the mark. How the hell do you know who's an AA and who isn't? Besides, the passages you've tried to expunge are, indeed, valid. Your deletion of the discussion page is vandalism, plain and simple -- and you're in violation of the three-revert role. Get a grip. Thanks, by the way, to RickK for restoring the talk page via a redirect.deeceevoice 09:25, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I don't know where Gearle got the impression that I'm a staff engineer in Silicon Valley. It's not true, but even if it were, so what? RickK 23:47, Jan 29, 2005 (UTC)

What on earth are you talking about? Please do not simply chuck my name about out of context, particularly not slinging unfounded insults--what on earth does this mean "...biased, fanatically oriented watch-list based posters (not authors)...."?? Quill 01:41, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)


I made an edit of the ancestry in the beginning to explain what I meant. deeceevoice had confused me with the Asian part. So I changed it to reflect the the African, European, and Native ancestry instead of dee's European or Native. The Asian he put in there through me off. Just wanted to clear that up.

Non-African blacks, non-black Africans

How can there be NO comment in this article on the fact that African American is used as a blanket term for black people? I don't see one. Colin Powell, it may shock some to know, is not directly of African descent; his family is Jamaican. Yet most people still erroneously refer to him as African American. (Are black Jamaicans descended from Africans? Based on the minor mention on the Jamaica article, yes. If my family moved from Italy to Spain, had a child, that child married, moved to America and had me, am I Italian-American or Spanish-American? And what if that first child's family spent several generations in Spain before coming to America?)

This was all humorously summed up an exchange on a forum. The topic was "ridiculous things you've heard in class." One of the ones submitted was "Someone in my literature class called Othello 'African American'".

Someone then responded to the thread, "uh, he was african american."

It took some replies to point out how instantly we Americans link "black" and "African American". To that, the politically correct forces have succeeded. It's also important in the way that it has affected our thinking. "African American", as a term, may be inaccurate, but it is what we instantly use for anyone who is black, whether it is geographically or chronologically accurate.

And then there is, of course, the fact that "African American" doesn't apply to a large portion of African Americans - those of Arab descent from northern Africa, and those of European descent from the southern countries, South Africa in particular. (Is Charlize Theron the second African American woman to win the best actress oscar? If not, why? What makes her, born in Africa, less African from Halle Berry, who is many generations removed from her African heritage, AND THEN only on one side of her family?)

I am shocked that there is no mention of this intellectual divide in this article. I'd add it myself, except I don't know how best to express it. Maybe we can chat about it. --Golbez 21:38, Feb 8, 2005 (UTC)

This has all been discussed before ad nauseam. And just because white Americans refer to all black folks as African-Americans, that doesn't make it correct. Peruse the discussion threads (some archived) for more info. deeceevoice 21:52, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I don't care what discussion says - I care that there is no mention of this whatsoever in the article. Even a cursory mention of this would be sufficient. Are you saying the discussion, ad nauseam, came to the conclusion that people shouldn't be told about this, and that they should have to browse through archives of discussion to find any mention of it? --Golbez 02:02, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)
"I don't care what discussion says"--then you need to rethink your attitude.
There are no archives and I just browsed through. I see few civil arguments about anything. --Golbez 08:54, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)
"Are you saying the discussion..." No, I think s/he's pointing out that Wikipedia etiquette is to read the discussion on controversial articles before demanding or making changes. This article has quite a history, including NPOV messages several times. I also think s/he might be saying that Wikipedian authors and editors are not necessarily going to monitor every article and repeat every thought they've ever had for the benefit of people who have just discovered the issue. Sometimes, of course, the former discussions were so long ago that the original players have moved on, in which case you can rehash away..... Quill 08:43, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Do you have any idea how difficult that discussion is to read? :P --Golbez 08:54, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, actually, I do--having had to wade through much of it myself (and giving up on the most incoherent bits). I also know how intolerant and unreasonable some of the contributors are. You have my sympathy. Quill 20:59, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Several comments.

  1. Etymology is not necessarily definition. Just like "anti-semitism" means being opposed to Jews, not to Semites, "African American" is a social construct and does not simply mean that a person happens to be of African descent and live in America. It would be odd to call Charlize Theron "African American"; it is unlikely that someone would do so other than polemically.
  2. For what it's worth, yes, Jamaican descendants of slaves (and Brazilian, and Peruvian, etc.) have ancestry from essentially the same parts of Africa as African Americans. The degree to which a person of African descent living in the U.S. would be called "African American" would ty[ically reflect the degree of that person's assimilation into the African American community and identity. Yes, I think it is appropriate to call Colin Powell an African American, but there are other people of Jamaican descent in the U.S. where this would be a misleading term.
  3. Similarly, many relatively recent immigrants from Ethiopia, Eritrea, etc., and even their children born in the U.S., do not generally identify as "African American"; they may identify as "Ethiopian American", "Eritrean American", etc. (1) Their immigration was, unlike the descendants of slaves, voluntary and recent; (2) they retain strong and direct cultural ties to a specific African country; and (3) Their descent is not from the same African ethic groups that make up the ancestry of most African Americans. Note that all of these statements would apply equally to Charlize Theron.

-- Jmabel | Talk 07:05, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)

As I've already said, every point you've raised (including bringing up white African citizens) already has been discussed, and the article you see before you is the result of pages and pages of such give and take. The definition of "African-American" is precisely that stated in the article. It does not include people of other nationalities -- any more than "Italian" includes Swedes or Chinese. Addressing people's ignorant, misguided, or intentionally provocative and often equally silly misnomers for all the people not included in the category of people under discussion apparently became a casualty of editing; it simply is not central/critical to the subject at hand. (The article was far too long and has been edited and split up into various subcategories as a result.) After all, it is certainly more effective and useful to define what something is than what it is not, the space better allocated to dealing with the subject at hand than those who are irrelevant to it. Presumably, there are articles in Wikipedia on other related (or unrelated) groups who are not strictly included in the category "African-American." If not, perhaps someone will author one. (Note the links at the bottom of the page.)

There is a reference to people's various misconceptions regarding the term: "The term African-American refers only to United States citizens, but is often applied to black residents who are not citizens."

That has been deemed sufficient.

If, after reading the discussion regarding this matter, you still feel strongly about whatever it is you may feel strongly about, then have at it -- and we'll see what sticks. deeceevoice 08:33, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Done. Also, y'all might want to know that there's a page doubling up there. --Golbez 08:54, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)
Nasty, nasty page doubling at that. Perhaps it's time to archive this and move on. Also, you'll note I don't have the moronic view that there should be articles on "white american", etc - I know African American is a widespread, valid term - but one that, on its face, is used perhaps inaccurately at times. It was that disconnect between the words and the meaning that I wanted to express, and I think I have. However, thanks to our short chat here, and the article itself, I have withdrawn all associated objections and questions. However, I still think that clause, in some form, needs to remain. It's there; what happens now is up to y'all. --Golbez 09:06, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)

Golbez, I appreciate your attempt to address this issue, but, unfortunately ... deleted:

"Many Americans who are not of directly African descent (for instance, from Jamaica) are called African Americans, and many Africans who come to America (Arabs from north Africa and European descendants from various nations in Sub-Saharan Africa) are not typically called African American. Many recent emigres, particularly from east Africa, identify more with their home country than with the continent as a whole. Therefore, the term should be considered a label, rather than a descriptor. The previously favored terms, like black, were both labels and descriptions."

Black Caribbean-Americans are already included in the definition of "African-American" as presented in the article, because they are decendants of indigenous sub-Saharan/West Africans. North Africans (even though some are clearly Afro-Semitic) are not from West or sub-Saharan Africa and are automatically excluded from the definition, so there is no conflict there. Europeans are automatically excluded, because they are not. The only people indigenous to these portions of Africa (and, incidentally, I would argue, indigenous to the entire African continent) are blacks. Further, your comments certainly do not belong under "Political Implications" (or whatever that subhead is). At one time, there was some commentary on African emigres, and your point about their customary identification with specific country-of-origin has been duly noted in earlier discussion; but the fact is that emigres from Africa often do both. And while I personally confine the use of the term to those blacks whose ancestors (historically American or from the Caribbean) who survived the Middle Passage, if you're black and you're an American citizen, you're generally considered an African American. Peace. That's the way the U.S. government sees it. That's the way, I think, most people see it. deeceevoice 10:17, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The US government says a lot of things, so do most people, that doesn't make them right. :P I will not challenge the deletion; the header, I suppose, includes enough information, if in a vague fashion. ("The majority of African Americans are of African, European and Native American ancestry." Yet there is only one future mention of blacks with a European ancestry later on in the article, and then only in the context of explaining mulatto) I still think a mention of the disconnect between the words and the meaning should be mentioned, but I won't force the issue. I am a considerate chap, after all. :) I've already reverted my changes to a couple other articles. Your arguments are persuasive.
In the meantime, that doubling really must be fixed. I'm going to take a stab at it, don't take it personally if I somehow screw up. :) --Golbez 17:53, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)
My favourite in this regard: I heard an American speaker explain the significance of Soweto by calling it a place where "the African Americans rioted against the ruling apartheid regime". See how many things you can find wrong with that one sentence. DJ Clayworth 18:03, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Perhapse it would be appropriate to have an article Who is an African American?, parallel to Who is a Jew?. -- Jmabel | Talk 22:53, Feb 9, 2005 (UTC)

Why is it that the term can't just be the descendents of American Slaves? That inlcudes Blacks in America, some in Canada, and you could also say Americo-Liberians. However everyone insist on grouping us in with Africans, West Indians, and Latin American Blacks. How do we differentiate between a Black in the United States that is the descendent of American slaves and a pure African or some guy that just got off the boat from Jamaica. Is there something wrong with being our own people or something? -Eurytus

The term could be just about anything, but the point is the term is what it is. Many black folks, including myself, would object to a term such as "decendants of American slaves -- first, because it uses our subjugation as a primary identifier. (How 'bout calling Native Americans "descendants of indigenous Americans who got their land snatched out from under them"?) Besides, your suggested tag is just too damned long! :-p
Personally, I use the term African-American to refer only to those whose descendants survived the Middle Passage; that was the way the term originally was intended, as a more dignified term containing a geographic marker as a manifestation of ethnic pride in our blackness and in our African roots, as one that parallels the titles other ethnic groups in this nation -- the salient, defining characteristic of which is that it traditionally has been comprised by peoples from all over the world -- traditionally meant to replace "American Negro." But language being what it is, traditions of use also change the meaning of words over time. But I draw the line at people's ignorance or purposeful obtuseness or just plain silly arguments for the hell of it: e.g., white people. I don't care if their families have been in Africa for centuries. They cannot be African-Americans. Traditionally in this country -- as I explained months ago in "A commonsense explanation of the term" -- the "American" part of a what used to be called a "hyphenated American," because the words commonly were hyphenated (e.g., "Italian-American," "Irish-American," etc.), is a function of nationality. We are American citizens. The specific country preceding "American" referred to country of origin. Because of the circumstances of our ancestors' arrival in this nation, specificity in that regard was impossible. So, we did the next best thing and claimed the whole damned continent! I got no problem with that. IMO, it's fitting and proper. Much of our cultural expression, who we are, is suffused with Mother Africa; we are not simply darker versions of white southerners or white Americans, generally. No one familiar with our history or who truly understands the nature of African-American culture would dare say such an absurdly wrong-headed thing. What separates us from our Caribbean brothers and sisters is the use of "Caribbean-American" (which I just don't hear), or simply the use of the name of the island from whence they originated. People are "Jamaicans," "Bajans," etc. -- or, again, according to American custom, "Jamaican-American" and such -- which I also rarely hear. The same goes for people from the continent. They are "Ethiopian" or "Nigerian" -- never Nigerian-American, etc. (though that would be proper). I never hear them referring to themselves as "African-American." That's generally something ignorant white folks do; to them we're pretty much all the same, anyway. They tend not to attach any importance to our specific nations of origin; we're often just "those black people." IMO, such ignorant lumping together of everyone black into an amorphous mass is a product of our (blacks' and whites') distance from one another, of a society which remains, still, heavily segregated -- not to mention polarized -- along the lines of "race." As well, it is a product of just garden-variety, "ugly American" ignorance about anything other than America. I don't think the average American could name ten African nations if their life depended on it. deeceevoice 08:05, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Hear, hear. (100% endorsement of the above) -- Jmabel | Talk 20:40, Feb 13, 2005 (UTC)

Pure nonsense

This argument is spiraling into pure nonsense,charlize theron cannot claim african american,she does not posses direct genetic material relating to the indigenious african population,colin powell can because 1.he does posses the genetic heritage and 2.NEWS FLASH! AMERICA IS A CONTINENT! NOT A COUNTRY! Any african decendant born and raised in the continent of america is African American.AND JAMACIA IS A PART OF THE CONTINENT OF AMERICA!This is the genius of Malcolm X it was a perfect description of african peoples who were kidnapped from their homeland and bought to american shores, therefore you can be african descent, born in peru and still be considered African American,it is a phrase designed to denote all of the unique characteristics of the native born american peoples of african decent,especially the racial diversity of African Americans,and the cultural diversity,all of these variables of this particular segment of the African disporea are concisly contained in the phrase "African American".Other african peoples may not appreciate or understand this term but they are not "African Americans" therefore their opinion is of no consequense.We as a people possess diffrent experiences than our african brethren.A diffrent culture but still related.It is an homage to our ancestors and family in africa and our awknowlegment and cultural distinction of our american experince.We are proud Africans and proud Americans.Now as far as who can be considered "african" lets look at this scientifically it takes approximatly 10000 yrs for a genetic mutation to occur.the first modern man was an African Bushman,his descendants left africa 60000 yrs ago to colonize the world,once settled or (sometimes stranded as in the case of the europeans). in other areas of the world and his environment mutated his genetic stucture from the original african template,they became removed from their direct african heritage,so to be african your people have to have a majority lineage native to the african continent dating back to the original group that prospered and settled in the african continent,now as far as north africans some are european some are african however, they are generally "mixed" peoples they do not possess the ability to quantify their racial distiction as caucasian or negro or even semetic due to the high level of interbreeding they are a mix of all much like the puerto rican or cuban the majority of the population posess genetic markers of multiple races. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 7 Sept 2005. (long after this page was archived)