Negro, N*gger, and African- American. What do these words have in common? If you neglect the third word, the other two words are demeaning, racist and should no longer be the social norm to address a Black American. The belief that the word “African-American” is the politically correct way to address a Black American has become a shared ideology by all ethnic groups in American society. Yet how many have analyzed the power and the true meaning of the word to the extent where it may also be considered racist? Judging by its excessive use, a handful maybe.
“African” means one who hails from the continent of Africa and “American” means one who hails from America, or more specifically The United States of America. Great. But where’s the issue with that?
It’s a shame that American society, including people of colour, have simply adopted the word African-American to label a Black American. Africa is an extremely diverse continent consisting of over 50 countries, over 1 billion people and an innumerable amount of languages and tribes. How can labeling someone as an “African” truly identify who they are, what they are or where they originate from? Simply stating, it cannot. This word was concocted solely to establish a faceless individual who possibly, on a slim chance and with no empirical proof, hails from Africa. If one’s parents hails from Gabon, for example, then the word is appropriately used but label a Black American as African-American without having a clear understanding of their heredity and there is no justice given to the face of that individual. To elucidate, when was the word “European-American” last used to describe a White American in the media? When was the phrase “North Americans” used to describe Americans for example? Never, simply for the fact that these words are broad generalizations of vast continents which cannot possibly identify a group of people who are extremely diverse. European-American? From where? Poland, England, Germany or Spain? Last time I checked these nations spoke four different languages. Some of them even went to war against one another. North American? From? Mexico or Canada? Don’t they speak two different languages? Isn’t the Caribbean taken into equation too? With consideration of these words which are seldom used, does the word “African-American” truly mean anything? Does it truly identify anyone? African American is a word is hidden amongst the countless variables which narrow America’s chance of race equality. The word’s nuance may erect, not shatter, the barriers of race that have divided “the best nation in the world” for far too long due to its excessive and inconsiderate utilization.
Dissect the word a little further and it is apparent it has little regard for history. African nations, for example the recently divided Sudan now Sudans, often wish not to associate themselves with other nations due to war or at times tribal issues. Using the word African-American indicates how American society has little, if any, consideration or respect towards the events which have transpired in Africa’s rich and complex history. In fact, it establishes the face that is American hypocrisy. Americans would label one as an African-American with little concern, however label an American as a North American and be sure to here assertive reassurance that they hail from The United States of America.
A further autopsy of the word is not needed to demonstrate how racist or politically incorrect it is. The true face of the word African-American is understood within its first precise, careful and considerate incisions. If you truly want America or the globe in that matter to move towards equality in all fields, look not solely to the inequities of salaries but to the inconspicuous; to the 21st century words which mean much more underneath the surface.