Is African Black (Part 2)

November 15, 2007

On job applications and other materials containing statistical data on race sometimes get me confused. Some of these data could spell out the Black race in a column and at other times would interchange it with African-American.

It leaves me wondering if Black is the same with African-American. I am not sure what criteria were used in rating them both as the same, but I am pretty sure that it is considered to be the same for some reason.

I recall my first few months in America on every job application I fill; I get confused what to declare as my race, and whether to be marked out as an African-American or a Black.

This is because in my own understanding, being African-American means I was either born here in America or something while being an African incorporates a fine cultural background, strong ethics and moral values of a common people, well defined structural traditional values which make a huge difference.

Therefore, when I don’t see AFRICAN on race columns, I feel unease and tempted to put own column.

Blacks notwithstanding is a broad term used to describe a people who are of a Black origin? The question then becomes, who is an African? An African could be someone born in Africa or who is of African descendant. African Americans have a dual-identity. This is because they are Americans and also of the African origin.

One of my Asian friends said to me one day that it is very difficult for him to differentiate between “real” Africans and Blacks. When I asked him what he meant by “real” in his statement, he says he understands that the Blacks that are born in this country are not “real” Africans because of the significant differences he sees between “real” Africans and them.

These differences to him are; the accent, dressing patterns/styles, the kinds of food, facial structure, tribes, family structure, areas of interest, academic performance etc.

I was really perplexed with his findings because I have never really sat down to elaborate on these differences to understand if there is any truth to it.

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