African-American vs. Black

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by orangetea, Oct 14, 2013.

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  1. Ms.SLS

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    I have heard from my theatre friends that many female actors prefer the term "actor" over "actress" for the same reason. I have no idea about waitress.
     
  2. TeacherGroupie

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    You would certainly have latitude that I as a white don't. That's not the circumstance that I was addressing, however.
     
  3. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    But we do have an umbrella term, but some would be offended.
     
  4. Ted

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    Interesting! Okay, thanks for the clarification. :)

    I am curious why (not to derail this thread too much), however. I would think that women would want separation from their male counterparts...but I may be wrong.

    Of course, the Academy/Emmy/Tony Awards, still make the distinction. *shrug* But then I realize they would have to, for categorical purposes.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In my experience, most women prefer gender non-specific terms.
     
  6. AdamnJakesMommy

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    I choose to say "black" and never African-American because it's rather presumptuous of me to *assume* someone is an American citizen. It hit me one day when I asked myself, "hey, what do I call a black Romanian--African American? I think not."

    We have plenty of black tourists, black immigrants, etc. who are NOT American citizens. To call them American when they identify with a different nationality is rude--and not surprisingly American-centric.

    I'm not sure about the history of the term caucasion (spell), but assume it is derived from the Caucuses of eastern Europe? Again, if so, it's another highly presumptuous term.

    Black/White, while not very accurate--because who really have BLACK skin and who really has WHITE skin? Most of us white people are not pasty and most black people are not dark as coal. Still, it's not presumptuous and rude like assuming someone's nationality. You can clearly see someone's skin color, not their nationality.
     
  7. waterfall

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    I've always felt awkward saying "african american" for reasons stated previously in this thread (we don't call people german-americans, etc) but then I'm not always comfortable saying "black" either because it's viewed as not PC or even racist by some. I think sometimes people say the "wrong" thing because they're trying to be too PC. For example, everyone on my team except for me last year was Latino/Mexican. I would have felt that I should say "hispanic" since that's what I usually hear as the PC term. My teammates told me that they hate it when someone calls them hispanic because they're not from Spain.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

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    No, not at all: that would be your students telling you that what you think is an umbrella term, isn't. And since they're the bearers of the term, their choice trumps yours, or should.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

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    What it is, is that at no point in human history has "authoress" reliably connoted 'a skilled writer who happens to be female'; at its best, it might be 'a lady who writes nearly as well as a man', though it is much likelier to be 'a woman who thinks she writes, though we men know better'.
     
  10. kpa1b2

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    My daughter and her co-workers, both male and female prefer server.

    We've had this discussion numerous times at my school, as up until this year, you could count the number of white students on 1 hand. Some of the staff prefer African-American, most prefer Black. My para, a Black man, told me that he was not from Africa, his family name is German. He preferred American.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

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    "Black", interestingly, has a long history worldwide as a term for 'people whose skin is darker than that of the speaker'. To the British, even as late as the 1980s in my experience, "Asians" (people from India, including the paler peoples to the north) could be called "black"; the aborigines in Australia have been called "black"; and South Africa and Brazil distinguish "black" or "negro" from "coloured" or "Pardo" from white.
     
  12. Ted

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    I assure you I meant nothing disparaging.

    I meant the "older" definition - "a female writer".
     
  13. PinkCupcake

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    I am not African American, I'm quite simply American. If you wanna get technical, I'm not black either. I'll settle for a lovely shade of cocoa. Cocoa reminds me of a good mug of delicious hot chocolate. :) Of course I'm being a smarty pants and joking, but seriously will we ever get to the point of just seeing each other as human?
     
  14. Ted

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    Well darn! Now you're having me crave hot chocolate!

    (Just wish the weather in California would get cold enough to warrant it! ;) )
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

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    Hugs, Ted. I didn't think YOU meant anything disparaging - but disparagement, there certainly has been, and that's why terms like "authoress" and "poetess" are in bad odor.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

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    I'm afraid I'm not counting on it before the Second Coming, PinkCupcake, but I keep hoping - and, I will note with cheerful irony, conversations like this ARE part of the process. As is the listening.

    In the meantime, I'd love to share hot cocoa with you and Ted!
     
  17. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Well, I figure if WHITE marshmallows could work so well with hot CHOCOLATE, then maybe there is a chance for some harmony in this world. ;)

    One thing I love about teaching in California...is that my students look at each other and see friends/classmates. They don't see: Indians, Koreans, Whites, Jews, Japanese. They see buddies who can beat them at tetherball and who can help them out with the latest math Problem of the Month.

    So that is ONE blessing I consider teaching in California.

    And I do my part in having families of various cultures come in and discuss their traditions, music, etc.

    But maybe TG is right...maybe we won't see it before the Second Coming... but I sure like to think that He wants us to keep working at creating the harmony... maybe that's why He made hot chocolate taste so good with marshmallows, after all. ;)
     
  18. a2z

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    No, TeacherGroupie. The umbrella term in black. When referring to a black person in history or current events, I will use the term black when I have a mix of students. I will not let the more vocal or the majority of students insist I use a term that more segregates the group into categories because the more vocal kids like it better. I just won't do it.
     
  19. Upsadaisy

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    PinkCupcake, I thought you were going to say, "I'll settle for a lovely shade of"... pink!
     
  20. PinkCupcake

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    Ohhh yes of course pink!
     
  21. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I found out the origins of the word Caucasian in a class I took in college about racism and education. :) Here's an article that explains it. Basically, a man thought women from the Caucus region of the world were the most beautiful. (light skin, etc.)

    http://www.jehsmith.com/1/2012/05/its-time-to-scrap-caucasian.html
    http://raaw.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/caucasian/

    I also don't like it since certain people who are not white are Caucasian, such as Indians. A Sikh man fought the US back in the 1930's for citizenship, on the grounds that he too was Caucasian, but the US didn't give him citizenship. The US won the case, and then new applicants from India were denied citizenship. (And I think even some Indians who had citizenship got it taken away...can anyone confirm this?) There was also a Japanese man who fought for citizenship on the grounds that his skin was white too and that race shouldn't play a role based in citizenship, but he lost as well. These had lasting effects on what it means to be American, as did other acts against new immigrants. I dislike how Caucasian now only include white people but still excludes those who are Caucasian like in the 1930's.
     
  22. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I definitely do agree with respecting each student's preference. (However, I can't think of too many instances where I would refer to a students race/ethnicity.)

    I think the problem comes in when bringing in outside information. If I want to talk about a famous African-American/Black scientist, and my students prefer different things...which do I say? I would probably say both, but that still leaves room for offense. As a non-black teacher, it's important that I choose the rights words because I do want to say the right things to my students.

    One thing I dislike about having an umbrella term is that it boxes in a diverse group of people. In the last census form, Asians were able to choose from Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, etc. but black people only had black. This is one thing that my students were dissatisfied by since some are Caribbean and some trace their ancestry to different parts of Africa.

    I also understand the sentiment that many African-Americans aren't from Africa, but what about Asian-Americans? Latino/Latina-Americans? Arab-Americans? Many of the individuals in these groups are also not from other countries. Should we move to also saying European-Americans? I think it's important that we don't completely erase race because there are still major racial inequalities in the world.
     
  23. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Hmm that's interesting.

    I think I was thinking about a video that I saw about how the only biological differences between different races are the genes that make skin color, eye color, etc. But if you compare the genes of a black and white student, they could be more similar than the genes of two white students. Is this true?

    I do think race has a major socially constructed aspect to it. Looking at the census forms over the years, it's amazing how many more races have been added and will probably continue to be added!
     
  24. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Thank you for the links. I really had no idea. I'm curious then why on many types of paperwork, the only choice for myself has been to choose 'Caucasian'. I don't mind choosing 'white' either. To me, it really is not a big deal.
     
  25. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I didn't know either! I have no idea why we still use Caucasian...
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

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    The next time you object to being identified as part of a group from which you prefer to hold yourself apart, it might be wise to think about this.
     
  27. a2z

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    No matter how much I may or may not want to be part of the race that I am, I am. No matter how much you may not want to be the race you are, you are that race. Using the term for that race or using that term to indicate the race of another should be acceptable. No one should have to tiptoe around it. I'm not talking about using derogatory terms, but at some point this PC crud must stop. If someone is black, they are black. If someone is white, they are white.
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

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    Exactly.
    Yes, certainly, depending on their ancestries.
    Because it's there and nobody's bothered to change it, mostly.

    I suspect that "Caucasian" came about in part because one wanted a polysyllabic something to contrast with "Negroid", "Mongoloid", and assorted other labels associated with places - "white" wouldn't have done, because it didn't sound sufficiently scientific. In addition, by the time these labels were being bandied about as though they had content, it was clear that nobody who was anybody in western Europe was truly indigenous - that is, the Germanic peoples had moved in and displaced the Celts, and the Celts had moved in and displaced the people before them, and so on - so one needed a homeland outside western Europe but somewhere that wasn't Africa and wasn't Asia.
     
  29. orangetea

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    This!! This has happened to me and it is frustrating...
    As a South Asian, on many forms, I am supposed to check Asian for my race. Except, Asian usually refers to East Asians, so I hate having to check Asian because I don't identify with it. It's annoying and I wouldn't want to do the same to my students. And to add, I have a student whose parents are from Ghana. She doesn't really identify with African-American or Black because the terms seem to refer to people not like her.
     
  30. DizneeTeachR

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    I had to laugh at this because I had a conversation with a girl in my class that is Black (or African American). I knew I could talk candidly and get a straight answer from her. I told her I have a friend who is of Indian (India) descent, but lives in South Africa, so if she moved here wouldn't she be African American(even though she in many people's mind doesn't "look" it)? My friend said she would be more African than myself. She said I don't use African American because I'm not from Africa...I may have heritage from there, but me personally I'm American. LOL!!! It was nice to have a talk with someone who wouldn't get offended because that wasn't my intent, it was just to see what she thought of it.
     
  31. ChristyF

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    It was interesting to see this (and good to see how civil it's going). We were reading about different cultures had become established in our country and focusing on Louisiana. The passage referred to "whites" and "blacks". I heard some interesting conversations among the kids before having one ask if it should say "African American". Another student pointed out that many people had come in from Haiti, not Africa, so we couldn't call them African Am. Because they weren't from Africa. They never really settled on an agreement, but it was interesting to hear them discuss it.
     
  32. 2ndTimeAround

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    Well, we ALL came from Africa. Not sure why those with darker skin would have the label when the rest of us don't.

    I had a black student that moved from Ireland. I had a white student that moved from Kenya. I really hate the term African American because it just isn't accurate in its description.
     
  33. EdEd

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    You know I think this is the most important of all - just having honest conversation where we're willing to hear the other side without immediately jumping to becoming offensive.
     
  34. scholarteacher

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    Most "blacks" are really brown. "Whites" are really peach color. And in the title NAACP, the C stands for colored. I say to-may-to, to-mah-to. We're all members of one race--the human race! :)
     
  35. Ted

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    Interestingly, I sometimes feel like I'm a member of the rat race! ;)
     
  36. PinkCupcake

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    Let's all be members of the cocoa race. :)
     
  37. Cerek

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    Sorry, but that rationale doesn't work. Just because I may not like how some parts of a group act doesn't mean I can change the fact I can also be defined by the same group label.

    I'm with a2z on this one. If you have darker skin, you're black. You can't change that (although I agree "black" isn't the most accurate descriptive term).

    Orangetea IS Asian, but doesn't like being identified as Asian. Sorry. That can't be changed. If you're from Asia, then you are - by definition - Asian.

    I'm an American. Even if I don't like the way some other countries may perceive America as a whole or specific subsets, I can't change the fact that I AM an American and the label still applies to me.

    I'm also a Southerner and a Southern Baptist. Despite negative stereotypes some have towards Southerners, I couldn't say "Don't call me a Southerner" even if I wanted to because I AM from the South. Same is true with the Southern Baptist label. While I certainly don't condone or agree with Phelps and his Westboro Church antics, I'm not gonna tell people "Don't call me a Southern Baptist because I'm not like Fred Phelps." Instead, I will point out (or at least try to point out) that Phelps and his family are NOT representative of the larger group as a whole. Some people will still insist on painting the entire group with that brush anyway and that's their choice. It's a choice of willful ignorance, in my opinion, and as such, there isn't much I can do about it. But I'm not gonna demand they use a different label for me because I will always consider myself a Southern Baptist.

    I'm sure there are other labels that may have a negative connotation to some, but I see that as their problem, not mine.

    It's just like your previous example of "authoress". To be blunt, I can't help it if you perceive it to be in "bad odor" because of past uses. According to Merriam-Webster, the term means "a woman or girl who is an author". It does NOT mean "a woman or girl who writes, but not as well as her male counterparts". So, as long as I am using the term accurately (to describe a woman or girl who writes books or stories), then I am not using the term incorrectly, despite any negative perceptions some may have of the term.
     
  38. Cerek

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    I don't like the term "African-American" because I think it is a perfect example of our ridiculous "P.C. Culture" taken too far. There is nothing wrong with simply being "American". We ALL have historical roots in other countries, but most of us also were actually born and raised in America, so that makes us Americans.

    It doesn't dismiss or diminish our individual cultural history, but it does accurately address OUR country of origin.

    I'm glad to learn the term "black" is not considered offensive (by most). Even though it isn't the most accurate term, it IS far more accurate than the term "African-American".
     
  39. a2z

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    That is a theory. It may possibly be true. With current evidence, it is supported. However, we have no real proof this is accurate.

    We also thought the earliest society with writing stared in a certain time frame, but they have found much older evidence in Turkey dating about 9,000 years earlier than the timeframe.

    So, to claim we all came from Africa is just stating a theory that will probably be disproven some day.
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

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    So if a woman who is an author asks you not to call her an authoress - and points to the multitude of dictionaries in which the pejorative reading is recorded - you're going to keep calling her an authoress anyway? How arrogant and tone-deaf.
     
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