Thursday, April 19, 2007

African American or can it just be American??


The current Essay I am working on is challenging the writings of W.E. DuBois essay on Our Spiritual Survival. This was the man who had a big part in forming the NAACP and this essay is a very beautiful piece of literature with much of it that I agree with. My challenge comes in with wondering can you be truly African and American at the same time. I don't know many Italians or Irish that go around saying I am Italian American or Irish American. The only race of people who I think this kind of thinking makes sense with are the Native Americans because they were truly the Native Americans. I am all for representing and teaching others of our original heritage and therefore keeping it alive, but I like so many others who have greatgrandparents who immagrated from another country don't go around saying that I am Italian American.
SO my question to the bloggers out there( brave enough to jump in this ring) is do you think you can be African American or shouldn't you just be American and know that with that title comes the knowledge that we are all from different original soils, cultures, and histories??

8 comments:

David said...

Well, first off, I'm a native American, as is anyone else who was born here.

I was talking with a black colleague (I am only saying that because he teaches at UNR too, not because I think I am black) and I asked him what he thought about that. His explanation made sense to me:

He asked me why I would call myself Jewish when I really am Russian. I said it defines more about my heritage. He simply replied, "I think you answered your own question."

I still say "Black"; I don't have time to say 6 more syllables beyond that.

JayBird said...

I would feel a bit awkward in telling people that I'm Scottish-American. WRT African-Americans, I think this clinging onto this particular distinction is related to slavery and the effects it had on their people (as a whole). I think it's a clinging onto a distinction that they can be proud of. People will take what they can get-- when it comes to be different/valued; however, I'm not mad about how England treated my incestors. My .02

JayBird said...

Oh, man, please change "incestors" to "ancestors." Would that be considered a Freudian Slip? oh, brother.

noel said...

david- very good thoghts as always :) i suppose its true that anyone born here could say they are native american,and i agree with your colleague that we identify more sometimes with some part of who we are rather than the whole of who we are. i have irish, french and hungarian in my blood but i only claim the italian because that is the heritage i identify with the most even though i have never even been to italy. it is also the high percentage running through my veins(thats a sidenote) but i still don't go around saying i am italian american.

noel said...

jay- i think that a large part of why black people do hold onto that african title is because of the begining of their history here in america was not good at all and so then i guess they would want to claim another country first before claiming this one , maybe? maybe it is attention or as you say a way to be different, maybe? i think the problem comes in when you want to be different but the same AT THE SAME TIME!!

JayBird said...

By different, I mean that stating they're "African-American" is a way of remembering where they were taken from. They did not come here voluntarily. In a way, I think it's the current generation's way of giving respect to their ancestors.

TPluckyT said...

When we are in heaven, Jesus is going to give us a new name. Some theologians theorize that that name will describe exactly who we are. When others hear that name, they will truly "know" us.

A weird way to say that I don't see anything wrong with people describing themselves however they want.

My only concern about nationalism is that I would rather be with the sheeps than the goats.

noel said...

Tim-baa baa baa!!!

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