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African American or black - Page 2

post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post


I think "oriental" is generally considered offensive. It is hard. I heard that older black Americans asked that the term "negro" be put back on the census, because they had positive associations with it. I guess it changes!



 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post


Asian = people

oriental = things

At least, that's how I understood it.

 



 



Yup.  Rugs are Oriental, people are not.  :)

 

post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissinNYC View Post

Interesting. My son, who was adopted, is half white and half black, and I have no idea what his ethnic or cultural background is. He looks, to most people, Hispanic, but many people think he is white, or biracial, or even Arab. He can pass for almost anything. It's going to be hard for him, I think, to find a comfortable racial term or expression, because to so many he just looks white, but I don't want him to feel like he has to deny any part of himself. I am already nervous because my DD's school had them do a project on someone who matches their cultural background, and I can't imagine what my son will do for this project one day. :(


That's about how my son looks.  I have had people guess hispanic too.  I was thinking maybe you could head this off with DS's teachers when the time comes by opening it up to doing a project about someone your DS admires or someone famous who was adopted.  That's his culture too... it's not just about color.

 

I think if my DS had to do a project like that someday, he could pick someone who is biracial.  It doesn't have to be someone who has his exact skin tone.  Or, since he had black and white in his heritage, he simply has a wider field of choices, since he could pick someone who is black, someone who is white, or someone who is both.

 

I really hope I can help my DS form a healthy racial identity.  I want him to be proud to be black.  Sometimes I worry that he won't be recognized as being black, since we are white, but last Sunday a little black girl came up to me at church and said, "he looks just like my little brother.  He is so cute!"  That made me feel better.  :)

 

post #23 of 27
Quote:

 

I really hope I can help my DS form a healthy racial identity.  I want him to be proud to be black.  Sometimes I worry that he won't be recognized as being black, since we are white, but last Sunday a little black girl came up to me at church and said, "he looks just like my little brother.  He is so cute!"  That made me feel better.  :)

 


This is a concern of mine with one of my boys (his picture is the one in my profile)...when my daughter was visiting and then moved in (in june) she was insistent that i gave birth to him and then when she finally accepted he was adopted too, she said he was "not black, not really"...she and my other son (her bio brother) both have very dark skin, and my son calls himself "brown" or now with the influence of his sister "black"...but thinks Keegan is "white, like mommy"...i told him Keegan's birthmommy was just as brown as his own birthmommy (though they dont really get the whole adopted/birthmom thing yet)...K was listed as "African American" and i have no information whatsoever that his father is white (i suspect maybe the bfather is biracial?) but everyone had always seemed to assume he is biracial and thus my bio child, when we are out. It just bothers me that even within our family he is going to get the "you're not REALLY black" thing. And since i dont know "what" he is, i dont know what to say. I dont want to assume he is BR if he is not.

 

post #24 of 27

I would suggest going to the site of Love Isn't Enough to get some great advice. I adopted transracially and found this site to be the most informative on raising a child who does and will have racial issues that I have never experienced myself. There are really thought provoking conversations on this site :)

http://loveisntenough.com/

post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by excitedtobeamom View Post

Our new son is half African American.  I was told that African American was the pc term these days but I get the feeling that black might be more common or correct.  I truely don't know but I was wondering what others had to say. 

 

First of all, big congrats on your new son!! :)

My children aren't adopted but they are biracial (I am white/dh is black). When people ask I just say my kids are biracial (I don't really like the word "mixed"). My dh's family (who are black) doesn't even use the word African American and prefer to be called black.

I would honestly just say he is biracial instead of saying "half" this or that. People can be curious but be prepared to let someone gently know when what they are saying is making you uncomfortable! I know people mean well when they say it, but I really dislike when people say "Oohhhh, mixed kids are the cutest!" like my kids are some strange exotic fruit. Be prepared for that too. And remember, you aren't required to explain your son's genetic makeup to every person you meet... it's none of their business. Somehow people seem to think it is their business and that can be downright annoying. If someone's question makes you uncomfortable, just smile and walk away. That's what I do.

 

post #26 of 27

Whenever I read African American books or magazines, Black is usually capitalized when it refers to race.  It is an easy thing to do to show respect.

post #27 of 27

 

I noticed this thread in New Posts and thought you might be interested in this article about racial terminology by Lawrence Hill. He wrote the bestselling novel, originally titled The Book of Negroes, about a slave who eventually obtains her freedom. The title refers to an actual historic document, still available for review and study, recording former slaves emigrating from the U.S. into Canada with British Loyalists after the War of Independence. It was re-titled for the American market as Someone Knows My Name. He's received some criticism about the title, most recently in the Netherlands where there's a protest and possible book burning. Mr. Hill is well aware of the issues involved, given that his father was the former chair of a human rights organization. 

 

Anyway, I thought he made some interesting observations, including: 

 

 

Racial terminology will always fail, because it is absurd to try to define a person by race. In North America we have witnessed a kaleidoscopic evolution of racial terminology over the last 50 years.

and 

And our own grandchildren are sure to laugh at the terms currently in use, such as Black and African Canadian. When they are running the country, they’ll bring their own terms into play. I like to imagine what people will be saying, instead of “Negro”, “Black” or “African-Canadian”, in 50 years.

and 
 
I tell my own children that no single word is entirely out of bounds. One must simply know the heft of each word, and use it appropriately. 
 
I think it's a healthy reminder that while we should always strive to use language respectfully, we should be cognizant and understanding of the fact that language evolves. I have a mixed heritage and look mostly Asian, but I'm not too bothered if I hear someone say "Oriental" - a term even my white DH occasionally used, until he was reminded otherwise. 

 

 

 

Edited by ollyoxenfree - 6/21/11 at 7:53am
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