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Correct terminology - Page 2

post #21 of 36
The PC thing only comes into it when it is being put forth that it is The Inoffensive Term -- something that the mere existence of the terminology does not do.

My children's father may have been African and I American as well, but that doesn't make them African American in American parlance any more than nightshade is so named for casting shadows in the moonlight. There are a lot of inexact compound words and terminology in literal English -- it's just silly to pick out a sensitive one and object to it on the grounds of its inexact nature.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by kriket View Post
Sorry you feel that way,

People can call themselves whatever they like. I'm not making that choice for them. I just prefer not to be around people who want to get into a semantics battle of something so silly. I don't care if you're purple and think you are a Martian-American, I can't keep up with all the PC terms and have stopped many years ago.
It is not silly. It's not about being PC. It is about respect. And one of the most dismissive statements to bring into a discussion about race and racism is using "purple", or "orange" or "polka-dotted" etc...to make a point about how open-minded one is because it immediately ignores the very real experiences of those who are affected by race and racism daily.
post #23 of 36
I would certainly call someone African American if that is what he prefers, inexact or not. I just wonder what was the problem in the first place with "black" and "white." Is it something specific to the US?

In light of the original topic, I wonder where the burden of courtesy lies, if someone accustomed to using "African American" visits the UK or Canada, where they usually say "black." Whose terminology overrules whose?
post #24 of 36
Thread Starter 
This is very interesting to me. I also read some of the black and white thread in TAO. I didn't know that African American really referred to black Americans who had lived there for several generations. It seems to me that the term AA is used incorrectly a lot and should only be used when you know the person's heritage. If you know that that is how they self identify it is even better. It would be pretty presumptuous to refer to a pale skinned, blue eyed, dark haired person as Irish American based only on their looks.
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
I just wonder what was the problem in the first place with "black" and "white." Is it something specific to the US?
honestly, I think its specific to WHITE people in the US. I have never had a black person say anything, but I seem to find white people view me as racist when I say 'black'

and I've never had this issue, white or black, while living in Canada. Which brings me back to my original statement, Canadians just don't put the emphasis on race like American do. Americans seem to think if you don't acknowledge a persons race you are serving them some variety of disrespect.
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boot View Post
It would be pretty presumptuous to refer to a pale skinned, blue eyed, dark haired person as Irish American based only on their looks.
Having dated redhaired pale not irish-american guys, this is true. As a redhaired pale and irish-american gal, I also find the asumption of it kind of annoying eventhough it happens to be correct. It is only marginally better than "hey red!"

However, the catagorization of pale redheads as being "white" or "european-american" isn't quite the same. Those are broader more inclusive catagories, which do have relavence to our day to day experience.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by kriket View Post
honestly, I think its specific to WHITE people in the US. I have never had a black person say anything, but I seem to find white people view me as racist when I say 'black'

and I've never had this issue, white or black, while living in Canada. Which brings me back to my original statement, Canadians just don't put the emphasis on race like American do. Americans seem to think if you don't acknowledge a persons race you are serving them some variety of disrespect.
My race is an essential part of me, so yes, by refusing to acknowledge it, you are indeed being disrespectful. Part of why I have experienced things in my life differently than you is due to my race. I am proud of my heritage & it is an integral part of my life as I live it & has greatly shaped who I am in the context of my community.
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by davi View Post
My race is an essential part of me, so yes, by refusing to acknowledge it, you are indeed being disrespectful. Part of why I have experienced things in my life differently than you is due to my race. I am proud of my heritage & it is an integral part of my life as I live it & has greatly shaped who I am in the context of my community.
The U.S. and Canada (and maybe other nations) might simply have different ways of looking at this. I was brought up with the idea that it is disrespectful to pay too much attention to outward things like race, sex, age, or physical condition. (Not that avoiding undue emphasis on race is the same thing as refusing to acknowledge it.)
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
I was brought up with the idea that it is disrespectful to pay too much attention to outward things like race, sex, age, or physical condition. (Not that avoiding undue emphasis on race is the same thing as refusing to acknowledge it.)
thanks, better said then I have been able to say! I'm really pregnant these days!
post #30 of 36
But it is far more disrespectful to willfully ignore how someone chooses to self-identify because you don't like the term.
post #31 of 36
I'm not sure what's worse, people pretending they can't see your color or people who pointedly ask you about your color or complimenting you on your hair (regardless of said hair's state).

I had an elderly client describe me as the "young curly haired girl". I'm in my mid-30s, obviously "black" with kinky hair. I found it somewhat irritating and amusing at the same time. I think it spoke to her own discomfort with people of color.

I'm an immigrant. In a perfect world, I'd like to be identified by my country of origin. Africa is the second largest continent in the world. Just as we distinguish between Mexicans and Canadians, it would be nice for me to have my own country's identity.... One can only dream. Vent over.
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil103 View Post
I'm an immigrant. In a perfect world, I'd like to be identified by my country of origin. Africa is the second largest continent in the world. Just as we distinguish between Mexicans and Canadians, it would be nice for me to have my own country's identity.... One can only dream. Vent over.
An interesting point. It may make sense to call someone, for example, Ethiopian-Canadian or Nigerian-Canadian, which is parallel to being Irish-Canadian or Japanese-Canadian. "African-Canadian" implies that an entire continent of sixty-something nations and countless languages is just an undifferentiated mass, significant only for its racial demographics. Or so it could be interpreted.
post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boot View Post
Sorry if I sound really ignorant but I have a question and I'm not sure where else to ask it. How do you refer to people of colour who are Canadian? Does the term African American encompass The Americas or just the States. I am from the UK and the term used there is usually simply 'black'. I have the feel that is not acceptable here (Canada). Where I live there are not many people of African origin so this doesn't really come up. Can anyone gently point me in the right direction? TIA

PS - this question came up in relation to a mixed race family that I saw which is why I posted it here. I hope that's OK.
I live in Toronto, where roughly half our population consists of visible minorities, so this comes up. IME, it really varies. However, if I had to make generalizations, I would say that heritage is typically denoted by country, whereas race is by colour/continent.

I've occasionally heard African-Canadian or Afro-Canadian, but it's unusual. FTMP, people are just Canadian if you're talking about their nationality, sometimes Canadian of [insert heritage] origin, sometimes [heritage]-Canadian.

E.g. these are some examples of roughly what I would expect to hear as descriptors:

heritage/race
Jamaican/black
Chinese/asian
Pakistani/south asian (sometimes brown, though usually only among friends)
Dutch/white
Cree/first nations
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
An interesting point. It may make sense to call someone, for example, Ethiopian-Canadian or Nigerian-Canadian, which is parallel to being Irish-Canadian or Japanese-Canadian. "African-Canadian" implies that an entire continent of sixty-something nations and countless languages is just an undifferentiated mass, significant only for its racial demographics. Or so it could be interpreted.
That is, actually, part of the point of the term "African-American" as I understand it. The idea being that people whose ancestors were brought over as slaves, don't necessarily have the opportunity to know which country those ancestors came from exactly, but at least the continent is known. Sometimes more specific information is available, but there is no guarantee.

It still is considered acceptable in the US to call someone African-American if his or her ancestral country is known (the current president being a case in point), but someone in that situation might very well call him- or herself Kenyan-American or Nigerian-American, depending on individual preference.

ETA: if I gave any wrong info above, someone please feel free to correct me!
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil103 View Post
I'm not sure what's worse, people pretending they can't see your color or people who pointedly ask you about your color or complimenting you on your hair (regardless of said hair's state).
Could you explain why a compliment on your hair is offensive? I know I've complimented black women on some complex braids in the past, and I'm wondering if I said something offensive without knowing it...?
post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by futurmama8 View Post
I have always thought the same thing. Why is that the U.S has the monopoly on the term American. Great point
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Louise* View Post
Personally I hate that the US monopolized the term American, people from Canada are Americans same with people from the Caribbean. We are all living in the Americas, some in North America some some in south America and some in Central AMerica.

You may want to use some of the alternative terms for people of the United States. There are quite a few that have been proposed - they just need to be popularized. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alterna...s_for_American

For the OP: As a Canadian, I would never use the term "African-American" to describe a Canadian. I also don't think you will see this term used in Canadian media (newspaper, television, radio) to describe a Canadian resident. I might use the term "African-Canadian" or "black".
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