Most Black people have no clue about their ancestors back in Africa. Going back to your oldest living relative usually only leads you to slaves in America.
BY KUSH AZRAEL
Some people just don’t like being called Black.
That’s the case with Sophia White of Washington D.C who recently launched an organization to get rid of the term.
The American Legacy Movement, after appointing regional leaders and collecting suggestions, seeks to propose legislation to end the use of racial terms.
“Using ‘Black and White’ to define 2012 Americans is no more than modern day segregation and should be outlawed going forward,” said White.
In looking at the family tree of early Americans, there were many Black Americans with more White than Black in their ancestry, but were identified as “colored,” based on the fact that their skin contained color (or the “one drop rule”), scientifically known as melanin.
The “one drop rule” is a term that was used inAmericafor the social classification of people whose blood contained even one drop of Black blood.
The “one drop rule” was not adopted as law until the 20th century, such asVirginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924 that followed the passage of similar laws in other states.
“American Blacks do not benefit from being placed in this so-called bucket of ‘Who’s Black in America.’ It may sound like a fun label, solely based on the beauty of skin color and media innocence, but you would have a drastically different outlook on being labeled ‘Black’ if your family was actually forced to survive in a different mindset, many of whom are arrested or even killed everyday,” said White.
According to White, African Americans migrated, but American Blacks were invented as a byproduct of legalized slavery and subsequent segregation. She said our nationality, other than American, is not documented.
African American denotes ethnicity (not race) and is equivalent to Hispanic American and is used to designate the population descended from enslaved Africans inAmerica.
The choice to identify as African American has nothing to do with nationality or race, but with a cultural heritage that developed in theUS.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson is widely credited with taking African American to the mainstream in 1988, before his second presidential run.
However not everyone today prefers to be called African American.
According to a2011 Wall StreetJournal poll, 42 percent of respondents said they preferred being called Black, compared to 35 percent who preferred African American and 13 percent who just didn’t care.
There are complexities beyond those who don’t feel a connection toAfrica. It must be noted that there are White people fromAfrica. If they come to theUSwill they be African American too?
In 2003, the great artist Smokey Robinson recited his poem about being Black – he says don’t call him anything else.
Many Clevelanders share the same sentiment. They prefer not to be called African American mostly because they feel no ties toAfrica.
Most Black people have no clue about their ancestors back inAfrica. Going back to your oldest living relative usually only leads you to slaves inAmerica.
“I’m Black with a capital B,” said Robert Wiggins, a 40 year old Clevelander. “I’ve never been to Africa, and I have no idea where my family came from over there, so I don’t consider myself an African American.”