Black vs. African American – Cut the PC Crap

It’s always great when your college professor teaches you something they didn’t intend to, especially when it involves them making a complete idiot of themselves in the process. That happened about 2 years ago and some recent media events brought back that memory to my consciousness.

The class was a modern literature evening course, Junior level at USF, with a professor with tenure leading the charge every Tuesday night from 6pm-9:50pm. Great times, as you can imagine! The current assignment was Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The main topics of the book were racism and imperialism in the British Empire in Africa back in the 1800s, which is always a great topic in a racially mixed class because some are “over it,” some are listening intently to a history lesson, some people are racists, and some people just want to get along and sing Kumbaya naked around a campfire.

In some strange shift of normal diversification (I guess bussing doesn’t work for college), there was only one lone black person: an older woman of about 45-50 who dressed and carried herself as an office or cubicle worker of some sort who was just getting off work like half of the rest of the class who doesn’t sleep until 2pm and come in their sweats and PJs.

The professor constantly looked over her way every time she mentioned something about how “African Americans” or “Africans” think, feel, remember, anything having to do with what was clearly being distinguished as “you/them” to the only person of significant skin coloring in the room. She was the de-facto black person to consult, of course, right?

Hehe!

After about 90 minutes of this crap, the professor finally posed one of her factual statements as a question by ending it with, “is that about right?” to our de-facto black person. After taking a second from her note-taking to realize the talking had stopped because the prof was looking at her, she responded in a thick accent, “I’m Jamaican. I am not like all of these people with these feelings of retribution. I am not “African American” nor do I identify myself with any racial movement by Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton.”

BOO-YEAH!

I’d love to see what she puts down on demographic surveys where the options are Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Latino. I hope she throws the book at them every time. I’ll bet Peruvian immigrants feel the same getting blasted by Mexican stereotypes.

I know I sure as heck don’t call myself “German-American” because 5-6 generations ago my people came over on a ship. The only people who can say that are the first or second generations coming over for each given family. Who’s my leader of the German descendants in the US?

There’s a little food for thought for your Tuesday.

  • s. boyd

    DUDe..i just got in this argument today! im in hawaii, half black and half white. Homeboy was half black half Japanese. He stated that it was interesting that black in the US still use the term even though it is the term that the white conquers used to describe their slaves. I got pissed! His whole argument was that black was a negative term and those that use it are ignorant.
    I told homeboy that id be damned if i referred to myself as African-America. No one in my family can trace thier line to a Umbutu Ungaha of Ethiopia. I also said that I was pretty damn sure that not everyone that lives on the African Continent consider themselves African, rather the country, state, village, tribal group, or family group they were from. Why should i be ashamed to consider myself black based solely on that it is a term dubbed by the whiteman? In this country I can call myself what i ever want. So black is not a real ethnic group, you wouldnt call an Asian yellow (unless you wanted to be viewed as an ass). Also white isnt really true is it? More of a pinkish, peach, or fleshy color? saying something like Anglo-American, Euro-American, French-American, and alil bit of Dutch-American would be alil retarded. I use Caucasian (common use), white (less common but used nonetheless), whiteman (its use is always in the negative).

    Black may have been used as a negative, but we have made it our own. I perfer it over AA anyday, and would argue for hours on end with anyone over the use…but beware the rambles, rhetoric, and symantics!

  • s. boyd

    DUDe..i just got in this argument today! im in hawaii, half black and half white. Homeboy was half black half Japanese. He stated that it was interesting that black in the US still use the term even though it is the term that the white conquers used to describe their slaves. I got pissed! His whole argument was that black was a negative term and those that use it are ignorant.
    I told homeboy that id be damned if i referred to myself as African-America. No one in my family can trace thier line to a Umbutu Ungaha of Ethiopia. I also said that I was pretty damn sure that not everyone that lives on the African Continent consider themselves African, rather the country, state, village, tribal group, or family group they were from. Why should i be ashamed to consider myself black based solely on that it is a term dubbed by the whiteman? In this country I can call myself what i ever want. So black is not a real ethnic group, you wouldnt call an Asian yellow (unless you wanted to be viewed as an ass). Also white isnt really true is it? More of a pinkish, peach, or fleshy color? saying something like Anglo-American, Euro-American, French-American, and alil bit of Dutch-American would be alil retarded. I use Caucasian (common use), white (less common but used nonetheless), whiteman (its use is always in the negative).

    Black may have been used as a negative, but we have made it our own. I perfer it over AA anyday, and would argue for hours on end with anyone over the use…but beware the rambles, rhetoric, and symantics!