Saturday, January 29, 2011

Red and Yellow, "African American" and "Caucasian"... or something like that.

When you have to fill in that race bubble on tests and stuff you only get a few choices, "Caucasian" "African American" "Asian or Pacific Islander" or "Other". This has always bothered me.

I never understood why we, as white people, have to refer to black people as "African American". For one thing, not all of them come from Africa. There are Black people in Asia, Europe, South America, North America... pretty much every where. So, if someone emigrated from India to the U.S., why are they still considered African American? Maybe I am just missing some fact, but it has never made sense to me. Also, most of America's black population has been born and raised in the U.S. and were not immigrants, nor were their parents or grand parents... and their heritage is just as muddled up as most white Americans.

I just recently learned that the term "Caucasian" stems from the Caucasus Mountain region of the Middle East."It comes from the idea that the inhabitants of the Caucasus displayed the ideal human features. Therefore, the inference was made that this region was the birthplace of mankind. This is all based on the inherently racist idea that white people exhibit the best human characteristics!" ( This is a completely Racist ideology. Besides, I did not come from the Caucasus Mountains, did you? And, weather you believe in the Bible or not, science has proved that the humans stem from Africa, not Europe.

So if we are going to be calling black Americans "African Americans" shouldn't we be calling ALL Americans "African Americans"? In which case, we need to use a completely different set of vocabulary to make the distinction between "Black people" and "White people" (and don't tell me that we don't need to make a distinction... you use the word "brunette" or "blonde" or "red head" to describe different people, you NEED to have a word to describe someone's skin color as well. If God did not want us to be different, he would not have made different races of people... duh) I think the best word to describe "White people" is "White" or "Peach" if you want to be more specific. (or tan, or lobster... lol) And the best word to describe "Black people" is "Black" or "Brown" or "Light Brown" or... You are describing the color of their skin, not their ancestry.

Now, if you ARE talking about their ancestry, then YES you need to be specific. But for the most part, when you hear people use the term "African American" or "Afro-American" they are usually generalizing the term and referring to the person's outside appearance, not their heritage.

Please forgive me if you think I am being ignorant. I have ZERO intention to offend anyone. And if you think I am wrong, please feel free to correct me. HOWEVER, please do so in a manner that is respectful. I have a huge thing against people stating their opinions in a way which disrespects the beliefs of others. We can be civil and still have differing opinions.

yeah, that's about it.

1 comment:

  1. In education, we are learning that it is not good to be "color blind" to race. The reason for this is that a person's race is one element that makes them who they are, and by ignoring it, we are sending the message that it does not matter. Consciously or subconsciously, whites often send the message that other races need to be more like ours, and that our race and culture are superior. We look down on dialects as being "improper grammar" or "poorly educated."

    Survey questions about a person's race perpetuate racism by categorizing race in heterogeneous groups. Often, a category will be as broad as "White/European/Middle Eastern" or "Asian/Indian." Within these groups, there are pretty big differences in the cultural background that makes up the person. I guess a solution would be to have a write-in line for people to identify themselves as they wish to, rather than be required to make a choice between categories. Especially with the increase in blended races. Regardless, as individuals, we really need to evaluate our behaviors and language as we interact with the many people in our diverse world, and work to rid ourselves of racist qualities. Throughout this recent diversity training I am involved in, I am learning that there are so many things white people do every day without even realizing we are exhibiting racism, or showing favoritism to our race. It's a tough world every day for minorities.