Wednesday, April 05, 2006

African-American But Not European-American?

I can't stand the term "African-American" used for American blacks. The term is flawed in so many places and it is not at all accurate, and you wonder why whites are not called European-Americans. It is also inconsistent and racist and don't worry, I will explain how and why.

For one, the term "African-American" is something black nationalists came up with in an attempt to try find their true identity. The descendent of blacks are from Africa so therefore, these people thought why not call ourselves "African-American". There is a problem, African-American is not just being treated as an ethnic group but a race, and African is not a race.

Here is an example: when filling out an application, you will see white, hispanic, asian, other and then you see "African-American/black". For one, if you are not American but you are black, checking the box where it says African-American is not something that would accurately describe your ethnic background. I remember giving out a survey on a college campus in Baltimore and I will never forget the several Jamaicans who filled out the survey. Instead of checking the "African-American/black" box, they check "other" and explained that they are "Jamaican" not "African-American".

Also, MOST blacks in America are not purely African. Because of slavery, many blacks have white ancestors. Furthermore, relationships with American Indians and other ethnic groups have made black people less black, that's why many blacks claim to have some "Indian" in them, especially when explaining why they got "nice hair".

I am mixed myself, with black, Persian (aka "Iranian"), white (because of a slavemaster), American Indian, and also Turkish. Now how can I call myself "African-American" without calling myself all these other ethnic groups?

Now to the white part. Whites are NEVER called European Americans. Sometimes whites are called caucasian or anglo but never European-American, despite the fact that they are mostly purely European and their descendents of course come from Europe. So why the inconsistency?

Maybe because of racism, non-whites are always trying to figure out who they are. Even Hispanics have been called Spanish to now Latino. Asians have been called Orientals. For Asians, calling them "Asian-American" is more politically correct than calling them Orientals (they are not rugs as someone once made clear to me), but is also accurate because Asian (or as scientists will say Mongoloid) is a race and most Asians are pure Asians.

We can't deny that there exists various ethnic groups and so-called races. But true identity should not lie in race. If you were to ask me what I am, I will say Muslim. Identifying yourself by a belief that defines who you are is something truely unique to humans, because animals don't bond on beliefs, they bond on species and the human equivalent to species is race. Last time I checked, we are better than animals so why not bond and identify yourself by a belief?

Many biracial people who are half black have decided to call themselves as only black (aka American-American). Because of peer pressure and a need to "fit in", these people have in a sense negated half of who they are. It is because of nationalism that made them do this. I remember one famous celebrity who is half black and half white explaining why she calls herself black and not anything else (like biracial). She said it is because society shes her as black so she calls herself black. What a weak excuse. The same society at one point regarded blacks are 3/5th of a human being. Would she back then regard herself as less than fully human? Of course not. What is society thought that all blacks were dumb, would she call herself dumb because society sees her that way? Of course not, so why call yourself something that is not accurate, just because society sees you that why?

And this nonsense of "one drop of black blood makes you black" is PURELY RACIST and scientifically inaccurate as well. It's funny that white racists use this idea to say how black blood makes you racially impure while black nationalists will use the same idea to say how black blood is racially superior and dominant. How racists and nationalists from thing alike without even knowing it!

Without Islam, I would of have been a lost person. Lost about everything, including racial identity. On Sunday when church services are held, it is the most racially segegrated hour in America. Blacks go to their churches, whites go to their churchs, Asians and Hispanics go to their respective churchs, and so on. On the other hand, Friday where Jumu`ah (Muslim congegration prayers on Friday) are held, it is the most racially INTEGRATED hour in the world. People of all races attending the same mosques is an amazing thing.

Now that's the cure to racism and "racial identity confusion"....


At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

right on, thinking brother! I too check off the OTHER box, because I'm African, but not American. I found your discussion on the issue very insightful. And you are quite right about the multiculturalism found in mosques.

At 3:24 AM, Blogger ~*Sabrun Jamil*~ said...

MashaAlhah brother really like your posts, jazakAllahu khairan. Alhamdulillah makes u think :)

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Charming Damascus said...

You are right. It´s all about self image psychology.

At 3:04 AM, Blogger Khadiijah said...

The most excellent article I've read in a while on the issue.
Good stuff.


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