Falling From Favor: The Term 'African American'

Changing tastes have many preferring 'black'—or just 'American'

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 5, 2012 1:29 PM CST
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(Newser) – African Americans are increasingly shunning, well, the very term "African American," with many just preferring "black" amid increasingly complex origins and loyalties, reports the AP. "African American" rose to popularity in the 1980s, thanks in large part of Jesse Jackson's 1988 run for the presidency, but it's America that looms larger for many. "Africa was a long time ago," said a Miami entrepreneur who started the Facebook page "Don't call me African American" (now with more than 800 likes). "Are we always going to be tethered to Africa? Spiritually, I'm American. When the war starts, I'm fighting for America."

And then there are the white Americans who were also born in Africa, like one man who's suing his medical school after he was suspended over a debate whether he could call himself African American. And with almost one in 10 black people in America born abroad, more and more do not feel connected to the same history as those who have been living in America for generations. "It just sort of screams this political correctness," says a Nigerian-born woman who grew up in England and became a US citizen last year. "Or it's a word that people who aren't black use to describe black people."

Gibre George started a Facebook page called 'Don't Call Me African-American, in Hollywood, Fla.
Gibre George started a Facebook page called 'Don't Call Me African-American," in Hollywood, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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