#TBT Podcast: Black or African American?

In this throwback to season 1 of the podcast series Breaking Down Racism, millenials ask: Why do some people prefer the term Black or African American do define their racial identity?

Produced by Javarius Jones
Executive Producer/Series Creator Robin J. Hayes, PhD
Directed by Dante Bailey
Written by Danielle Tascone

pictured actress/talk show host Raven-Symone who prefers to be identified as “American” rather than African American.

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2 Comments

  1. Xinwei Dang

     /  September 23, 2016

    Six years ago, before I came to the United States, my English teacher told me never to call people “black”, but African American (although people who are not originated in Africa may feel offended, as the radio indicated). He taught us that it was inappropriate to identify people by their color of skin in America.
    This ideology sounds strange in China because Chinese people refer Asian as “yellow” without any aspect of discrimination, but with a sense of proud. Because Yellow River is the biggest stream in China, “yellow” means the people that are raised by Yellow River. The color of yellow represents Chinese culture.
    Similarly, in the podcast, the students indicated that “black” refers to his culture. The place he was raised in, the people around him, and his way of life are all included in “black.” He does not feel anything negative being categorized in “black” because that is how he is.
    I am very curious about since when white, and other light colors are considered as decent colors whereas darker colors are the opposite. As we have discussed at class, the reason for this ideology is the domination of Capitalism, where people with more surplus own the power of judge others. We are, unfortunately, not able to change the society as a whole. However, we can make colored people feel more comfortable, by starting asking, “How would you like to be identified” as the example in the podcast. I appreciate this method because every culture deserves to be respected. Identifying people in the way they want to be identified and proud of is a method to eliminate cultural imperialism.

    Xinwei
    The New School

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  2. Lesley

     /  September 28, 2016

    I am BLACK! I don’t use the term African-American. I believe it’s too broad and very blanketing. In it’s simplest form when you consider other “hyphenated” cultural groups; Irish-Americans, Nigerian-Americans, Chinese-Americans, etc., this typically represents groups that have recently immigrated to the United States within 1-2 recent generations and have strong cultural bonds with their homeland nations. That is not the same for African-Americans. I am proud to be apart of the African diaspora but most “African-Americans” like myself don’t have enough knowledge of culture from the African continent or any of it’s 50+ nations to feel a direct connection. Also, the inclusion of “American” denotes nationality not race. Caucasians aren’t called Euro-Americans and when they are maybe i’ll consider acknowledging African-American.

    Lesley = Black in America (with Latin & Caribbean spices lol)

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