When I heard that Raven-Symoné said on Oprah’s Where Are They Now that she isn’t African-American, I didn’t give it any thought, in fact, I still haven’t seen the episode or read about the news reporting it. I blew it off because I’ve been saying that same thing for years!
I will probably watch the show to see why she said it but if you’ve read any of my CEDitorials over the years, you will never see me using the term African-American, I always refer to myself as Black or to my peoples as Blacks. And yes, I capitalize Blacks all the time! When I’ve written for other publications, the editors always ‘de capitalize’ the B, I have no control over that, but, on this site it will always be a capital B! I see that editors capitalize other ethnicities such as Asian and I figure why can’t I capitalize my race?
But, getting back to African-American and my refusal to call myself and my peoples that. I’ve been called unconventional and rebellious and other adjectives that places me on the outside of ‘average’ and/or normal and I’m ok with that. I say this in preparation of people who will try to say me using Black or not saying African-American slights my ancestors who are from the great continent of Africa and I’m never gonna be swayed to use that word to honor that. No, it’s not that at all! We don’t say Latinos slight their heritage when they refer to themselves as Latinos. I’ve never heard anyone cop an attitude with a Japanese who doesn’t refer to themselves as a Japanese-American so why should people feel a way about me not wanting to refer to myself as an African-American?
I know Africans who live here who DON’T and refuse to call themselves African-American and in theory, they ARE, by definition, by living here. And I know that white people have origins in Europe but when was the last time you heard of a European-American?