Talk:African American

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So what's with the hyphen? weaseLOIdWeaselly.jpg~ 18:21, 7 October 2008 (EDT)

Ever hear of hyphenated-Americans? I dunno, isn't it correct usage? ħumanUser talk:Human 18:46, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
I think African American is more common (at least that's what's on Wikipedia & most other literature I've seen), but then I am not American so not best placed to judge. For now I've redirected the non-hyphen variants to here, but it would only take a moment's work to change the redirects if it gets moved. Let the Mob decide. weaseLOIdWeaselly.jpg~ 18:49, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
To me you always put in the hyphen, except in Native American, because Native is not a nationality, it is a descriptor. I have no idea hy I was taught to do it this way.@Human Benn (talk) 10:47, 5 May 2018 (UTC)
On things like that I am usually happy to defer to what WP decided to do, since they probably spent a month arguing about it, and drew on copious resources. I just didn't bother to check there before leaving my comment. Shall we let it be so...? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:40, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
I'm moving it! WP has it unhyphenated. Google searching it shows about 90% of the sites in the top few pages use it unhyphenated. Unhyphenated seems to be the much more common way to write it. weaseLOIdWeaselly.jpg~ 13:57, 10 October 2008 (EDT)


Speaking as an ignorant foreigner, are African-Americans happy with the term? I mean do they describe themselves as African American, or as black?

I'm asking, because using the former, almost negates the implication of the latter. Speaking from my side of the world, we don't describe ourselves as European Africans, I've lived here most of my life, I see myself as an African. That said, our laws have also moved backwards in the naming convention, from Africans, to Bantu, to (thankfully briefly) "Plurals" - as in the National Party's Minister for Plural Development, finally to Black. Legislation in this country to do with redressing the wrongs of apartheid, specifically still breaks down the population into classes by colour - Caucasian, Coloured, Indian, Asian and Black. I think a black person in our country would be somewhat offended to be called an African, in describing his demographic. Make sense? --PsyGremlinHable! 19:01, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

But aren't every people in your country who aren't recent immigrants, well, "African"? I got lost in your question a bit. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:49, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
That'll teach me post when tired :) Um, simple form, are black Americans happy to be called African American, as a demographic? Just wondering, because even after all our past nonsense, people here are still referred to as black or white South Africans. --PsyGremlinTala! 07:03, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
I believe that since "African American" is the politically correct term, black people are pretty much never offended by it, but most people I know, regardless of race, just say "black". I guess this term came about to shift focus to the culture of black people, and to shift focus away from identifying them by physical attributes (especially as many "African Americans" don't have particularly dark skin). Now, though, I think "African American" is just a code word that politically-minded folks use to signal "I'm not talking colloquially." or "I'm sensitive to racial issues."
I will note, however, that "colored" is not an acceptable term here anymore (except in the name of the NAACP). Partly because it was a snarl word used by some racists, partly because it was the term commonly used during segregation here, and partly because it just means "non-white", which is not a very specific feature by which to categorize someone. And partly just because the euphemism treadmill threw off pretty much every term except the wildly PC "African American" and the flatly descriptive "black". --Quantheory (talk) 08:16, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that! Clears it up nicely. What makes it funny tho, is that if I were to move to the States, I could call myself African American and really screw things up! It's also funny how things differ - as you say "colored" is unacceptable, whereas here, we'll talk about the "Coloured Community," in this case referring to descendants of the results of the early settlers "mingling" with the local population, as well as Malay slaves. --PsyGremlinKhuluma! 08:27, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, racial politics are strange. Here, I am allowed to mark myself on forms as Native American, white, multiracial, or Hispanic (which is sometimes a separate question from "race"). Most of my family does not look remotely white, but I'm (sort of) blond, (fairly) white, and green-eyed. This has lead to some awkward moments for my brother (much whiter and blue-eyed), who honestly fills out "multiracial Hispanic" on forms, and has a Spanish last name, and then shows up as a total guerro. He works at a Mexican restaurant where the owner actually told him "I didn't expect you to be white!" upon their first meeting.
Unbeknownst to me, I was automatically signed up for the "minority" version of my college's orientation/counseling program, because I'd put down "mixed" as my race on some application. It wasn't really awkward, but it did surprise me when I went in for orientation, somehow failed to notice that I was the second-palest person in a group of engineers, and had some faculty member come in to talk about the "Minority Engineering Program". Since I fit in with the white majority, but my family is not white, I can usually get away with thinking of myself as not having a specific race, which always makes those kinds of situations surreal. It's even weirder when white racists complain to me about Mexicans and black people. --Quantheory (talk) 09:07, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
"I didn't expect you to be white!" On more than one occasion when travelling overseas, the reaction to my saying I'm from Africa is, "You can't be! You're white." Oh and not to mention, "Hey, I know a John in Nairobi. Maybe you've met him?" --PsyGremlinPrata! 09:18, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
(EC)As a British white, middle class, middle aged man I get completely confused about all this. My nephew who is half "black" African and half Chinese is hardly black - he's a beautiful cafe-au-lait. And then all my Asian friends, many of whom are paler than I am after a spell in the sun - black, I don't think so. Personally I'd like to get to the point where, to quote Bob Marley, the colour of a man's skin is no more important than the colour of his eyes but, as a "white" Brit (I'm no more white than my nephew is black) that may be easy for me to say, I've never suffered the prejudice. In the mean time the terms "black" and "white" seem to me to be false and divisive. As for coloured, we're ALL coloured and I rejoice in the variety. Jack Hughes (talk) 09:21, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
I encounter a similar bizarre dichotomy with respect to sexual orientation, actually. I've had both straight (non-fundie) and gay people try to "claim" me for their side, or keep me away from the other, (to the extent of "reminding" me what I "really" am). I can't understand this behavior at all. Why would anyone (who doesn't want to date me) care? --Quantheory (talk) 10:08, 24 September 2010 (UTC)