It's 2008 and there are BLACK people in America! - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-24-2008, 03:07 AM   #1
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It's 2008 and there are BLACK people in America!

I knew my cable t v subscription would pay off, eventually



http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2008/black.in.america/
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:32 AM   #2
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Personally, I always considered the term "African-American" (or indeed ANY prefix) to be extremely offensive. To remind a black person that his origins were in Africa and that his forefathers were brought to America in chains is more degrading and insulting than referring to him as black or a negro (which is the scientific classification).

You don't see a white person protest or get angry if someone calls him "Caucasion"(SP?), right? That's why I don't see why blacks should be offended if someone refers to them as Negros - which is what they are.

I don't think that there should be ANY prefix before the term American - because EVERYONE is an American - either by birth or naturalization and the origin doesn't matter. Just like I'm an Israeli and not a Canadian-Israeli (because I was born in Canada).

Am I making sense? I hope so. And I hope I haven't offended anyone.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:45 AM   #3
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That's rather arrogant to be deciding on behalf of black people what is and isn't offensive to them. Why not let them figure it out?

I think an analogous situation is sports teams- particularly the Cleveland Indians' mascot and Washington Redskins' name. I think they're offensive, but I've heard that many Indians, er, Native Americans think that they're fine. So who am I to disagree with them?
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Old 07-24-2008, 05:35 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by AchtungBono View Post
Personally, I always considered the term "African-American" (or indeed ANY prefix) to be extremely offensive. To remind a black person that his origins were in Africa and that his forefathers were brought to America in chains is more degrading and insulting than referring to him as black or a negro (which is the scientific classification).

You don't see a white person protest or get angry if someone calls him "Caucasion"(SP?), right? That's why I don't see why blacks should be offended if someone refers to them as Negros - which is what they are.

I don't think that there should be ANY prefix before the term American - because EVERYONE is an American - either by birth or naturalization and the origin doesn't matter. Just like I'm an Israeli and not a Canadian-Israeli (because I was born in Canada).

Am I making sense? I hope so. And I hope I haven't offended anyone.
I'm not offended. . .mainly because I think you are speaking from ignorance about the nature of the unique racial issues between black and white in the United States. You're perspective makes sense theoretically, but in actual practice is way, way, WAY off base.

The short version is that both Negro and black have had negative connotations associated with them historically which is why many blacks in America prefer to be called African Americans. The term "black" is still relatively acceptable as well. I'm not sure why the term "Negro" fell out of fashion among the vast majority of blacks in America but it most DEFINITELY did. I might speculate that the term Negro was one that originated with white people and perhaps there was among many blacks to self-define rather than have those in the power structure be the ones "deciding" what they should be called.

And so-called "scientific" names don't mean squat when it comes to race. I don't think you'll hear too many Asians clamoring to be known as Mongoloid.

Finally, I would never presume to tell, say an Israeli, that they should be known as Isrealites or Hebrews or Jews or what have you. . .I don't have the cultural knowledge to be any kind of authority on that. Likewise, I don't think you really have the authority to make these kinds of calls for African Americans.
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:18 AM   #5
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I think the term "Negro" has certain connotations that have been attached to it over the years. You don't hear it used in familiar speech all that much, and when you do it's generally on the same level as "colored"...in other words, a "nice way" to say n*****. In fact I've often heard it pronounced such that the speaker might as well be saying n***** - something like "niggra".
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:23 AM   #6
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i think "negro" has the historical weight of patronization, it's not quite as overtly hateful as the N-word, but "negro" is certainly an antiquated term here in the US, much like calling someone an "oriental" or a "fairy" for Asians and gays.

it might be technically correct, but contextually, and historically, it's now a degrading term.
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:45 AM   #7
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All people just want to be treated with respect and dignity.
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:17 PM   #8
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All people just want to be treated with respect and dignity.
Yes I would say so.

I don't see what's wrong with anyone calling themselves Irish American, Italian American, African American- whatever. Doesn't make you any less American and that's one thing we supposedly stand for.

It is degrading only to the slave holders that Africans were brought here and enslaved. It's degrading to us that this is part of our history. Is calling someone a rape survivor degrading to them? The rape happened to them- the slavery happened to them. Their history is in Africa, and no one really has the right to tell them what term they can use to describe their heritage.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:12 PM   #9
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I don't either. I think many people are proud of their heritage, even if there was some horrible history. When, I think of Africa. I see in my mind's eye. A beautiful place filled with wonderful music and culture. And I also think, when Americans refer to a black person as African American is always done out of respect. Their culture is very important to rest of us.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:11 PM   #10
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Speaking from a South African perspective here, I personally feel that the "Black vs. African American" debate is a little bit...well, difficult to understand. Where I come from, the term African is not exclusively synonymous with the term Black.

Like the US, South Africa is a multi-racial country. Like the US, South Africa has had a long history of slavery, segregation and racial tension. Unlike the US, South Africans don't bat an eyelid if someone says "black." It is considered perfectly normal and acceptable by members of all races in SA to refer to one another as black, white, etc. These words are mostly used as descriptors, not as insults (SA's racially insulting terms are seldom based upon words that describe colour - k****r, for instance, is taken from an Arabic word that means "heathen.") There is no such thing as an African South African or a European South African anymore. We are all equally African, regardless of the amount of melanin we have in our skin. Usually, the only people who disagree with this are radical whites or radical blacks who have refused to accept the fact that South Africa has been a racially united country for the past fourteen years.

Anyway, the reason why I bring this up - aside from the discussion in this thread - is that I recently witnessed (via a YouTube comment) a black American telling a white South African that she was "more African" than he was, simply because she was black. The statement struck me as completely and utterly bizarre. You can only claim to be African if you were born and raised in Africa, or if you are a legal citizen of an African country. It would be like me telling a black British man that I am "more British" than he is, because my Great Great Great Great Grandpa was a white man from Essex and his Great Great Great Great Grandpa was a black man from Harare. Really, her statement made no sense whatsoever. I know her opinion isn't representative of the entire African American community, but it did bring me to this question - if I were to renounce my South African citizenship and become a US citizen, would I be thought of as an African American? Even though I am white? I really don't know.

Getting back to the main point now... I realise, of course, that the word "black" has negative connotations in the US that date back a long way. I avoid using the term around African Americans for this very reason, unless they indicate to me that they are okay with it. However, I sometimes wonder if all the worrying over its usage is actually worth it in this day and age, considering that it isn't really a big deal in certain African countries that have had similar (if not worse) racial conflict. I know it probably isn't my place to say that, and I really hope I haven't offended anyone by suggesting that it shouldn't be a taboo word...but I just thought I'd throw it out there.
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Old 07-26-2008, 12:45 AM   #11
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That's why I never call people "mexican". Its just so offensive.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:18 AM   #12
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I don't understand the original post - or the ones following it. Is there something wrong with the show? Sorry, I haven't seen it, and the link went to a brief description, but judging from the title and synapsis it's a documentary on black single mothers....is that bad - I don't follow. Also how did it lead to a "black" vs "african american" conversation?

I've also noticed that the term "african american" is generally only used in mixed or formal company. When people are just talking socially and comfortably I think the word "black" is used almost exclusively - by everyone - in front of each other.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:20 AM   #13
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Ooooh, I'm married to a Cuban. I'm gonna have to call you out on that. Sorry man, but there's rules and all that.


Quote:
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"mexican".
^ OFFENSIVE.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:22 AM   #14
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That's why I never call people "mexican". Its just so offensive.
Michael Scott completely agrees.
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:43 AM   #15
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I don't understand the original post - or the ones following it. Is there something wrong with the show? Sorry, I haven't seen it, and the link went to a brief description, but judging from the title and synapsis it's a documentary on black single mothers....is that bad - I don't follow. Also how did it lead to a "black" vs "african american" conversation?

I've also noticed that the term "african american" is generally only used in mixed or formal company. When people are just talking socially and comfortably I think the word "black" is used almost exclusively - by everyone - in front of each other.
Yeah, I don't really know what the original post was getting at either. It somehow evolved (or devolved, if you will) into a thread about which term is more socially acceptable to use - probably because deep placed emphasis on "black" in the thread title. I've noticed adverts for the CNN special on TV a couple of times now, and haven't really thought much about it. As you say, it's a documentary about what it means to be a black single mother in America. Nothing scandalous or unusual about that. Maybe deep should clarify.
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