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CHAT: PC terminology

From:list James E. Hopkins <espero9@...>
Date:Friday, December 25, 1998, 12:45
Nik wrote concerning "African-American" as incorrect as many African-Americans
have never been to Africa.

I am an Irish-American (that is an American citizen of Irish descent). I have
never been to Ireland but my heritage is important to me and I have no
objection to the term :Irish-American.

In fact "African-American" would apply to any American of African descent if
they so chose (for example of South African descent). Most American citizens
of African descent who are not black however, identify themselves by their
ethnicity (for example Egyptian-Americans most often [not always] identify
themselves as "Arab-Americans").

There is however a greater rationale for the adoption of the term "African-
American". After several hundred years of being belittled and considered of no
account whatsoever many "Black" Americans felt that it was time to avoid being
identified by skin color and instead (as other Americans do) use a term that
indicates place and/or ethnicity of origin.  As slaves brought to North
America the family and ethnic/linguistic ties were deliberately broken by the
slave owners and handlers. For this reason most African-Americans are not sure
of the ethnic background/tribe/language/religion that their forbears
possessed. This is in stark contrast to the situation of European-Americans
who were able to retain these ties.
These ties are important to African-Americans but were taken away from them
against their will.

In order to re-connect with the high order of the various African cultures,
religions, customs and languages the term and thereby regain some pride and
connectedness with their roots the term "African-American" came into use. It
is unfortunately a rather "generic" term like calling all "White" Americans
"European-Americans" but many feel that it is better than being identified by
skin color alone

Jim H