someone who doesn't understand >that context may just as >easily assume the speaker's use >of "Africans" refers solely to >the current inhabitants of the >mother continent. yet another >self-described African American may feel >some need to distinguish himself >from a recent immigrant from >Nigeria (would that Nigerian then >be African African American, or >a Nigerian-African-American?).
I understand the hypotheticals that you're talking about, but I'm much more interested in self-definition. I self-identify as an African not to negate my own specific cultural roots, but to affirm my commonality with all those who look like me and who share those cultural roots. Black, in my mind, does not connote the sense of cultural unity that the word "African" does, and that's why I use it. I don't want us to be side-tracked about what terms others may prefer; they'll weigh in when they want. I would like to keep it as personal as possible.
>even more intriguing, to me, are >the descendants of white (English, >Boer, whatever) colonists who've enjoyed >the fruits of centuries of >exploitation and now call themselves >Africans. like the landowners in >Zimbabwe who don't want to >address the sins of the >father...
I think you give them too much credit. They're trying to strip every last vestige of cultural identity from us "kaffirs", and transform what it means to be "African". It's like Masons co-opting Egyptian paraphenalia and trying to pass themselves off as heirs to a heritage they have nothing to do with.
> >>I have no quibble with >>Africa, whether the term is >>indigenous or not ("Black" is >>not an "African" word, as >>far as I'm aware). > >i have no quibble with Africa >either, (i'm a proud African), >just pointing out that the >vast differences in peoples understanding >of who is African (due >to the influence of education >from Western Civilization) further complicate >the already complicated issue of >self-identity for people who've >already been confused for centuries.
I don't see how the term "Black" alleviates this on-going identity confusion, though.
>*aargh* that's not where i was >going with that statement, which >is why i qualified it >with "its cool to the >extent..." what i was addressing >was the mainstream mindstate, under >so-called 'western civilization', which differentiates >and affirms Culture, Nationality, History, >etc, only when dealing with >European people, but insists upon >dealing with others in the >most broad and generic sense. > Indians are not Sioux >or Dakota or Chocktaw. Asians >are not Korean or Vietnamese >or Chinese. Hispanics are >not Venezuelan, Peruvian, Chilean. they >are a bunch of folks >who just fit into a >big fuzzy groups of other-ness, >to be discussed when there's >nothing going on in the >Balkans. > >i consider myself pan-africanist and black >nationalist, and certainly wouldn't be >contradicting Lumumba, Nkrumah or Malcolm. > but an acknowledgement of >our (Black people's) similarities across >the diaspora needs to be >accompanied with a knowledge of >self which is largely absent >among the 30 million or >so of us trying to >figure out what to call >ourselves. and the assumption that >i make in answering this >post is that we're discussing >what the masses should call >their/our-selves, and why.
This, perhaps, is the root of our disagreement. I believe that identity is the most personal decision we make in our lives, so I would have thought that this forum should focus on the idiocyncracies of that decision, not on a general prescription for the untutored masses. I'm just interested in you and what you call yourself; everybody else can speak for themselves. I think people of African descent who are native speakers of Spanish should immediately jettison the term "Latino" or the infinitely worse "Hispanic", as it is akin to African Americans calling themselves "Anglic". I don't make the decisions, though, so I go with what people prefer to be called.
intelligentsia and >academics (not necessarily the same) >are going to have their >favorite terminology regardless, the issue >is really what most of >us should call ourselves, and >why. and that said, i >still feel that Black is >more universal than African American >(Black vs. African would be >a different discussion).
Ah, but the thread is named "African vs. or African American", two terms that I think are complementary, and much more descriptive than "Black", which I also use.
>"y'all" is not you or me, >individually. "y'all" is us, the >masses of folks in this >country who consider ourselves Black >and/or African American. americans can't >even find our own shit >on the map, and our >education in "western civilization" has >made pretty sure most of >us (and i'm confident in >that generalization), have been taught >not to view black folks >on the same plane as >white folks. witness the use >in the news and media >of terms like ethnic vs. >tribal. spiritual vs. animist.
In complete agreement. I hate the use of "tribe" especially.
>> >> reasoning, >>>i used to think it >>>was aight as a synonym, >>>at the least, and could >>>be useful in awakening some >>>type of pan-african consciousness. but >>>what quickly ensued is that >>>you had folks loving it >>>because it allowed them to >>>affirm and emphasize the "American" >>>part (after 400 years, if >>>muhfuckas haven't caught on to >>>the fact that we're 'american', >>>they really ain't gonna get >>>it no matter what we >>>call ourselves). others of >>>us quickly coopted the symbols >>>and trappings of africana, without >>>any deeper analysis or understanding >>>-- so it is that >>>we got preachers that drape >>>a little kente cloth around >>>the same ol' king james >>>shit they been talking for >>>years.
True, true. But are you telling me that you think this is all due to the adoption of the term "African American"? Preachers with kente-cloth sashes and cheap medallions made in China wouldn't exist without our Black folks in this country identifying themselves as African Americans? >> >>>besides, like the race names of >>>many other non-white peoples, the >>>term African is not indigenous. >>>we never called ourselves Africans >>>in antiquity (i've read in >>>several places that as far >>>as historians can tell, the >>>word originated centuries ago with >>>a slave named Leo Africanus...). >> >>This is wrong. If you want >>a detailed explanation, I can >>give it to you, but >>I don't want to hold >>up this thread. >> > >cool. show and prove. like i >said, i saw it cited >in several places, but now >with enough evidence behind it >for me to take it >and present it as fact.
Check this link: http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/30/140.html. The article above traces it to the Afers of North Africa (it neglects to mention that they're also in the Horn of East Africa), and also the biblical country "Ofir". More than likely, Africa is a corruption of an autochthonous term, like many of our appelations (Moor and Guinea spring to mind).
>>This is also wrong. "Black" is >>not at all an exaggerated >>physical description. > >semantics.
Not at all. You said we are not literally "Black". I said that we are. Perhaps not all, but some are. And our ancestors were. So I have no beef with it as a description. It drags the discussion into the realm of academe to call that a "semantic" argument.
its a phenotypical description. yes, >some of us still fit >the literal description perfectly well, >i put the word in >there as a hedge in >case somebody replied to say, >"not me, i'm high yella".
Africans range in color from "high yella" Khoi-san with Asian-looking eyes to tawny-shaded Imazighen (the name that "Berbers" call themselves"), to the perfectly jet-Black Noba. That's Africa for you. "Black" on the other hand, would be a fairly strange identity for a brown-skinned Dominican to claim. When they see that they look like Imazighen or Eritreans or Cabo Verdeans, it makes sense to identify themselves as Africans who were born in the Dominican Republic, not dark-skinned Spanish people who just happen to eat, dance, pray and talk like Africans.
>due to circumstances i don't >need to discuss, we don't >all fit the physical description >anymore, but the term still >signifies a mindstate and a >genetic and cultural link. adam >clayton powell was black. Clarence >Thomas look black, but he >somethin else.
I like your comparisons.
>I don't know >>about you, but I'm "Black." >>Several of my relatives are >>Black. And millions of people >>across the face of the >>earth answer to that description >>too. "Aeigyptos" does not mean >>land of the sun-burnt people. >>That's Aethiopia. > >got me. again, i didn't have >time to dig out "Civilization >Or Barbarism" when replying to >your post, and yes, Aethiops >is actually the land of >the sun-burnt people. Kemet, >or Kmt, does however mean >land of the blacks.
Minor quibble, but I tend to go with the "Black land" translation, rather than the "Land of the Blacks" one. Reason being? Africa is a Black country, and Kmt was a nation surrounded by Black folks. Why would they need to call themselves "Black" on top of that? Now if you look at the Sumerians, who were neither Semitic or Indo-European people, their ethnic name was "the Black-headed people". I believe that they chose to distinguish themselves ethnically from their neighbors, but it would have been wierd for the folks of Kmt to call themselves "Black" in order to clarify that they're not Nubians. You get my drift? The "Black land" was in reference to the color of the Nile's banks when it overflowed every year. Its fertile deposit of silt is what made Kmt's civilization possible, so I think they commemorated the importance of the soil in the name of their land. Osiris is also the "Lord of the Perfect Black", in relation to his role as the rejuvinating fertility god. > >> >> unlike the appellations, "colored", >>>"negro", and "nigger", we actually >>>gave ourselves "Black", and it >>>turns out to be the >>>most historically appropriate way to >>>address each other without excluding >>>huge sections of our extended >>>family tree from the discourse. >> >>We DIDN'T give ourselves the appelation >>"Black". Why do you say >>this? > >yes, i'm fully aware that the >word "black" itself is English, >and no more indigenous than >the etymology of "African" -
To quote Kris, "You Must LEARN" (even though that song is type suspect).
>i was merely pointing out >that we do have some >history of self-identification by phenotype, >so there's nothing wrong with >the concept of us unified >in "blackness". (the negative connotations >of "blackness" in english and >other european languages is a >whole 'nother post).
Thanks for a really thought-provoking post, X. It's folk like you that keep me constantly re-evaluating my position. Peace.