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View Diary: "Y-Chromosomal Adam" possibly farther back in time than thought (237 comments)

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  •  I believe in calling people (28+ / 0-)

    what they would like to be called. I don't like white-knighting around on behalf of people who are entirely capable of speaking for themselves and evaluating the implications of their self-labels.

    That said, as a Canadian, I habitually use "First Nations" instead of "Native Americans."

    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

    by kyril on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:33:13 AM PDT

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    •  black usually suffices for me (18+ / 0-)

      although I'm fine with African-American.

      hyphens don't bother me, specially since history and the present day isn't exactly kind to people of the Diaspora.

    •  Point taken but... (6+ / 0-)

      I'm not necessarily white knighting around here.

      It is a problem with how we identify ourselves and it effects me just as much as it affects any other group.

      I was adopted at birth.  I have known my biological mother's ancestry (sort of) for the last fifteen years but I have no idea about my biological father's.  The first question I was asked when I called her for the first time was "What color are you?"

      I have always considered myself native American.  I was born here making me a native and of all of the ethnic backgrounds I have been raised to appreciate, American indian is the most cultural history I have learned.  

      As a white skinned male, I hear what people say when there are no "dark skinned" people around.  Things like "Send them back to Africa" and references to African animals are common.  I do not like that the label "African American" puts African ahead of what they are, American.  I am not saying that as a "White Knight", I am saying it as a human being that does not like hearing my friends and co-workers treated as if they were less than.  If you were born here, you are American, period.  Cultural history and demographics have their place and I believe that racial bigotry has created an inequality that must be rectified but anybody born in this country is just as much an American as anyone else and entitled to the same rights and respect.  

      I agree that I try to call people what they would like to be called but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  If a man of African decent is born in Canada, what do you call him?  African Canadian?

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:58:22 AM PDT

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      •  Usually "black", if a generic term is needed (8+ / 0-)
        If a man of African decent is born in Canada, what do you call him?  African Canadian?
        but it's also common for Canadians to specify based on ethnic group or country of familial origin (e.g. "Bantu" or "Jamaican").

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 11:37:39 AM PDT

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        •  Just trying to make the point that (7+ / 0-)

          he is Canadian.  No need for African Canadian unless he happens to be from Africa or Jamaica or somewhere.

          We also refer to people as Irish or Italian if it is obvious by their physical features and their name gives them away but it is always a secondary description and they are American first and foremost.

          I just believe that by calling someone who has never been to Africa (and probably their parents or grandparents neither) African American, it makes them seem as if they are not "as" American as everyone else.

          I do not know of any other country in the world that calls someone born in their country by a name of another continent first and we do it with 'Mexican Americans" and "Asian Americans" but never "European Americans"  I guess it is supposed to imply (as Sara Palin would say) they are the "Real" Americans.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:27:17 PM PDT

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          •  Brits do--at least the ones i've known have. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril

            although they usually know their country of origin since many are 2nd generation immigrants to the UK (Black is also an official census category there.)

            I'm not really understanding your objection. Rectifying the wrongs of the past won't happen by erasing where those people came from by dropping what you refer to as the labels.

            •  My objection is that we are identifying people... (0+ / 0-)

              by their skin color and assuming we know where they come from.  As a poster down thread said, his ancestry has been here since the 1700's.  At what point do they become just American?

              I absolutely agree that I will refer to someone anyway in which they want to be referred to out of respect for that person.  However, can you see my point that when you see someone with dark skin and assume they are African, it kind of suggests they are not American (or at least not entirely American)?

              Look how Republicans have used President Obama's heritage against him.  If Ted Cruz, the tea party darling from Texas, runs for President, he will not face the kind of scrutiny that President Obama has faced and he was actually born in Canada.  

              Africa brings to mind jungle, primative, wild, savage.  It fits with the image of monkees and cannibals.  That the only sophistication in Africa are the white men with big mustaches and big guns wearing khaki shorts and a hat.  I am not saying I agree with that image because I would love to go to Africa but the image is widely shared throughout this country from years of movies and television representation.

              If people want to be called African American then that is what I will call them but I will not assume that someone is from Africa because of their skin color.  If they speak American English and appear to be from America then I will assume they are all American until they tell me differently.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:33:34 AM PDT

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      •  It's "African" because most do not know where (7+ / 0-)

        ...they came originated in Africa. It's easy to say "Irish", or 'Italian" if you know that is where you folks left to come to America. Not so much the case if your ancestors came chained in the bottom of a ship with sewage floating around.

        As for Native Americans, they aren't "Indian" and they are native to land though many seem to forget that little fact.

        I still don't get why these things bother people, usually those of European extraction though not exclusively by any measure?

        To me, calling people "black", when their skin color is brown or lighter, seems inappropriate but far less offensive than "Negro"(for those of recent generations), or other labels.

        "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

        by sebastianguy99 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:33:32 PM PDT

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        •  I agree that it is difficult to put a label... (5+ / 0-)

          on people.  What am I?  I'm not white and I do not even know what caucasian means.  I have no known paternal history so that makes me a light, tannish color skinned person of unknown origin.  

          I do know this though, I was born in Columbus Ohio and that makes me a citizen of the United States of American (also simply called an American).  I also know that my friend Kieth was born in West Virginia and he too is an American even though his skin pigmentation is slightly darker than mine.  Neither one of us have ever been to Africa or Europe.  I realize that Native Americans who descended from the great tribes that inhabited this continent prior to the European invasion are not Indians.  Most have never been to India and there are special rights that they rightfully have in this country but if I am not a native here then where exactly do I belong?

          Words matter and if we are going to put labels on people we have to understand that they will end up segragating people from others with different labels.  

          I think we should abandon the labels.  If we want to differentiate at all, we could describe the color of skin in the same manner we describe hair color or reference a place of origin that he or she appears to be descended from but it should not be the first and foremost label we use for someone.  We should not be defined by our skin color nor should we be segregated by the birthplace of our ancestors.  

          Our cultures, our heritage, our roots are all important but like religion, it is personal and should not be a mold in which we are supposed to fit.  If we stop trying to figure out how to label our differences, maybe we will start seeing one another as more alike and share empathy and compassion with one another.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 12:57:33 PM PDT

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          •  Second generation American born here (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Buckeye Nut Schell

            I think there's a natural curiosity inherent in that status and less of a tendency to take many things for granted.

            Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

            by Just Bob on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 04:54:36 PM PDT

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          •  "if we are going to put labels on people" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Buckeye Nut Schell

            pretty much many Americans use the label that the people in the group choose
            First it was Negro, then Black, then African American (roughtly)

            I call people what they want to be called, how they catagorize themself. If you dont' want to be personally catagorized as it seems, that's fine. But why'd you (seemlingly) object to how someone else wants to be labeled?

            Group identity is natural to human beings and it often feels good. For example, Irish Americans are Americans first but Irish is an adjective that modifies American...ie it's a KIND of American. Americans who's ancestors were from Ireland choose to wear the Irish American label with pride and a sense of belonging.

            It feels like you have a thing for all labels for everyone (not just you) because of your own individual personal experience not knowing who your biological father was and it not being obvious what particular group you might group yourself in, for sure (?)

            It's valid to feel that way but numerous other people feel differently and they are equally right to want to and enjoy being part of, ,say, the African American community..

            Maybe if you thought of it as it really is: African is a modifier of American. We have tall Americans short Americans old Americans young American Irish Americans and African Americans. In English adjectives precede the noun they describe.
            It's just a subset, a KIND of American.

        •  I know many American Indians (4+ / 0-)

          I am married to one. Most of them called themselves Indian or American Indian, not Native American.  Have you actually talked to people whose ancestry is different from yours and asked them how they want to be described?

    •  I didn't know my people (7+ / 0-)

      (Cherokee) were called First Nations anywhere. It is cool to learn these things.

      Admit it, you've tried to control things with the power of your mind.

      by magicsister on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 04:32:39 PM PDT

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