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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Azizi BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'! (170* d) RE: BS: PC Spanish Class- No 'black'! 01 Jun 13

I'm going to go back on a vow that I would NEVER again involve myself in a Racism 101* or a Race In America 101* discussion at Mudcat.

*"101" is the term used in the USA for basic college/university level courses.

However, because I choose to, I want to expand on a statement that was made about me & expand on comments about racial referents for Black people in the USA. And because I choose not to, I won't make any comment about anything else in this thread.

I refer to myself as Black (informally), African American (formally) and a Person (a Woman) of Color when I wish to acknowledge my unity with other non-White people (Women).

I capitalize the first letter of the racial referents "Black" & "White" because I choose to. However, I recognize that either capitalizing or not capitalizing the first letter of those two racial referents is perfectly acceptable usage. But, it is NOT acceptable usage to spell "African American" with lower case beginning "a"s.

Furthermore, I'm aware that the referent "Black" refers to more people than "African American" - meaning there are far more Black people than there are African Americans, and a person can be Black but not African American, even in the USA. Yes, it's complicated and somewhat contradictory. But such is life.

As to "Negro" & "Colored" as referents for the population now called African Americans/Black Americans, those two terms have been long retired, in spite of the fact that the Civil Rights organization NAACP retains the "Colored People in their name. Again, such is life.

As to why we [Black Americans] turned decided to choose other referents for ourselves, well, that's a long story.And, granted, there was a transition period when various other racial referents -such as Afro-American, and Afra-American-were being tried out. And granted, because of past history & older connotations of those terms, and for other reasons, some Black Americans, particularly older Black Americans don't like to be called "Black" or "African Americans". It bes that way sometime.

Also, the term "negro" with a lower case "n" is sometimes used by African Americans in writing & in speech as a pejorative. A "negro" (lower case) is a male or female who puts his or her interests ahead of other members of his racial group. He is an "Uncle Tom". She is an Aunt Jemima. [Racism 101; Race In America 101]

I choose not to use or even completely spell what is now called "the n word". I don't accept the notion of re-claiming that word and REALLY don't like it when anyone regardless of his or her race/ethnicity uses it. [By the way, there are multiple Black ethnicities, but that may be beyond Race in America 101]

For those who may be interested, here's a link to a post on my cultural blog entitled "Why We Call Ourselves African American"

That post is a slightly revised version of a post that I wrote on Mudcat in 2005.

Also for those who may be interested, here's a link to my latest [to date] post on that blog: "Eleven Non-Racist Product Commercials That Include Black People"

The comments I wrote on that post about being "color blind" might be enlightening to some people here.   

Best wishes,

Azizi Powell

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