Today I really wasn’t in the mood to go into any detail regarding race. It’s not that I am in a bad mood or not feeling well, but I’m just physically tired and rather try to answer these questions when I am not as tired. But being the only Negro around 🙂 it seems I have to get the “I’m oblivious about race” questions.
A brief discussion of race & culture was being discussed this morning, specifically, the U.S. Census. I wasn’t even trying to participate until I was curiously asked this question. “Why do Black people called themselves African-American if they’re not from Africa?”
My Initial Thought: “Dude, I’m just trying to eat my muffin, drink my peach tea and check my emails. Leave me alone, I really don’t care.”
I wanted to just give a smart-ass response, but could tell the question was sincere so I do what so many minorities are forced to do that those in the present majority seem to excuse themselves from, I tried to answer their question since I represented the race to them. (The Black Friend)
Before I could even respond the guy interrupted and said that he was part German and something else. Then another guy said he was part Italian and something else.
I’m thinking… OK?
So I asked them a simple question, “What do you check on applications or the census?”
They both said White.
Then I asked, “Why do you distinguish yourself in words, but not on paper?”
If you’re part German, Italian or whatever it may be, then why not claim in on paper? It’s about heritage, not hate right?
They got quiet and looked confused.
Then I continued by saying that I can’t answer for all Black people, but not all people who classify themselves as African-American can say that with absolute confidence. To be an African-American in America is to be categorized as Black all the time, not just in words or on paper, but in all that has been attached to it in social perceptions.
Needless to say they shut up and left me alone. I got to finish my muffin and emails. I told you I was tired. I don’t know why you want to trip, because I gave you a raw answer. Were you expecting me to pretty it up today? 😀
I do not believe they got what I was saying, for the most part due to not seeing themselves as a minority. Also knowing the history of America outside from what they tell you in schoolbooks. Far too often, to be part something in America means you’re not fully American. You only need to listen to the language of a person speaking about this issue over time. Anyone will say what’s socially acceptable when confronted, but measure what they say with their action. But does that only apply to African-American, Asian-American, Arab, Americans, Hispanic-Americans?
Why is it that we just can’t be American?
Perhaps I should have just said, I see myself as an American who is Black. I could have been funny and said that I was part this or that, but I can’t say that, can I? The fact is that slave records were kept and reported as well as Enron kept its accounting records. So I may be like many other American Blacks and be a descendant from South America instead of Africa.
But the point is if someone can explain what some people (not all) don’t, won’t or can’t comprehend regarding this issue then I would be grateful. If you’re part something, then claim that on paper and be counted for it.
What reason would someone have to claim something that they’re not if they’re not trying to pass? You only try to pass for something you’re not if you’re going to be privileged by it in some way.
So be the same as you are on paper that you are in words?