I was going to do a post on this once I got the time, but the Black Snob has tackled it. She asks if people identify as black or African-American. Here is the comment I left:
I identify as black, sometimes black-American. Not every black person in America is African-American, and not every African-American is black. I also think the term African-American helps feed into ignorant people’s notion that Africa is a country, not a continent.
Yes, we have an ugly history in this country, but like Snob said, most of us are so removed from our African ancestry, we don’t have any relatives that we know of where we can track what country they came from. My grandmother is Bahamian-American, and that branch came from mixed black-white-native ancestry….but that’s only one sliver of my ancestry that I happen to know. I do not identify with the term African-American…..it’s all socially constructed anyway, but I am black-American.
So how do YOU identify? This question is not just for Americans. If you are black and live in Europe, how do you identify? If you are bi-racial, how do you identify? If you are Asian, do you identify as Asian, or as Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean-American, etc.? How about Hispanic (which is totally a made-up category amongst made-up categories, but that’s another post)?