How do you identify yourself- African American or Black?

How you identify yourself in this country is one of the most personal, yet one of the most publicly discussed issues. While many of us frown on the idea of labeling and being labeled, society has an innate need to do just that.

So recently I had a very interesting conversation with a co-worker regarding whether I identify myself as “African American” or “Black”. Now, depending on who I’m around and what setting I’m in will determine whether I will use African American or Black. For me, the term African American at one time seemed like the perfect fit. I’m American obviously being born in California, but at the same time I had the desire to give honor to my African Ancestors. So what better term to use than that?

Well… once I realized that anyone who was born in Africa, (including “White” Africans) who moved to America could also use the term African American, it took some of the specialness away from the label. It was no longer just for us Black Americans who didn’t vibe with the label “Black American”.

Those of us who are descendants of slaves have been called more names than I care to list here, but for me I have always embraced the “Black is Beautiful” movement and although it is a color which clearly doesn’t represent a race of people, I view it as an homage to our rich culture and the rich color of brown in our skin.

The term African American for me is more of a political term now and I will use it as such. But in everyday talk, I’m a Black woman, with Black children, dealing with a society that continues to oppress Black people, and speaking on issues that effect my Black community.

3 Replies to “How do you identify yourself- African American or Black?”

  1. I consider myself to be a “black” woman..I never like “African american” because i feel i have so many nationalities running through my blood that it wasn’t fair…that i choose to be the race that people most disliked……my children like to be called “brown” they attend a predominantly white schools because of the area we are in….when they talk about themselves..they’re are “brown” because that’s the color of their skin….so in Silverdale there’s a movement and the “brown” people are setting everyone straight….also

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, I always felt African-American was a mouthful, just like my name. I prefer black, but I also understand there are times when African-American may be more “appropriate” (for lack of a better term). I had a professor at Tuskegee, scariest teacher I’d had since my fourth grade teacher, who asked us how we identified ourselves. Then when someone answered African-American, he told them to come to front of the room and show him Africa-America on the map. Eventually, he told us that he identifies as Alkebulan. Even though he was intimidating, his course really made us think about who we were and why we should take pride in ourselves as black people.

    Liked by 1 person

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