Friday, July 30, 2010


Colored people.





Those are the words that at one time or another were the "correct" term used to refer to Blacks in the U.S. during my lifetime. These words were used by Black, Whites, and others. Rural people. City people. News broadcasters. Newspapers. Everybody.

Today, African-American is the "correct" term, even though it's a stupid term. Stupid because it only applies to Americans.

What about a Black who's from Canada? African-American-Canadian? That's stupid. African-Canadian? Stupid.

Or from Britain? African-American-Briton? That's stupid. African-Briton? Stupid.

Or a country in Africa? African-American-African? I mean, African could mean someone like Graeme Smith (the cricketer), couldn't it? He's from Africa, after all. And White. So, a Black from an African nation? African-African? Stupid.

No, the "African-American" label is ... wait for it ... jingoism. If it's important to reference the race of someone, and they're from the US, African-American is a stupid phrase.

The trick is ... is it important to reference the race of someone? Well, yes, sometimes, it is. But not often.

But, when it is, we need to have some sense about what we say. Negro is actually correct. Just like calling me a Caucasian is correct. But some don't like it. Okay. Fine. Come up with a better term. Black works. Calling me White is fine, so Black makes sense to me.

But, someone might not like that. Fine. Like I said, come up with a better term. But do put some thought into it. Don't come up with something stupid. Like African-American. Come up with a phrase that doesn't exclude non-Americans.

After all, people in other countries are people too.

Most of them, anyway.


  1. Well, according to His Hiney, "Mongrel Americans" ought to do it.

  2. Come on, Basil, you didn't like hearing "South African Americans" during the World Kickball Championships?


  3. My new bumper sticker:

    I not African American. I'm just a frickin' American.


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