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This has annoyed me for awhile - many of my friends are called 'African-Americans' when they can trace their ancestry back 300 years in America. My German friend (who has a STRONG German accent) is immediately called and considered American. If anything, shouldn't 'Native Americans' be called Americans and the rest of us should have a prefix? No I don't think people should be identified by their color, we should all just be Americans.
LaraS11 LaraS11 26-30, F 35 Answers Sep 4, 2012 in EP

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I read a book about this. It really stems from people natrually grouping themselves into categories. People do it by nature in most cases. Many of them actually like it. It gives them their own sense of identity which can be helpful when growing up or associating with others in the world. A commonality that they share, perhaps a shared expirience they have in common. Where it becomes an issue is when the second or third generations come onto the scene. They only know that they are American, they don't identify with their parents roots. However, they still have the enternal pressure to code swithc between their American identity and their cultural indentity. Most people, even second generations and on, have a hard time letting go of their roots. They try but it doesn't work. As for "white" people being considered American. That is because they have had the dominant role in the countries history. The name falls to them by default and in actuality, many minority groups do it as well. It's become the cultural norm. It becomes mostly a way to identify with one another. You may be one of those rare few who sees no need to do so. That's why it annoys you. I agree it's a strange reality.

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Thank you so much, what a well-reasoned answer. I was wondering how it developed. One of my friends always tells me that he's only seen Africa on a map. People get very confused with my appearance (I'm white/maybe mediterranean looking in the winter and darker in the summer). I got called African-American the other day, even though I have no African ancestry. It is a very strange reality we live in.

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What is your ancestry?

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The whites who founded the original states didn't consider anyone who wasn't white American. THEY named the country, they named the people they found already living here when they arrived ("Indians"), and they named the people they brought here by force to work the fields ("Negroes"). Fast forward to about 35 years ago, "Roots" started everyone researching their lineage and using hyphens: Polish-American, Mexican-American, German-American, Italian-American, etc. Native American and African-American (no way to trace a specific African tribe or country 200+ years later) evolved through that.

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This should be a thing of the past by now though. Why is this such a slow process??? (rhetorical question/frustration). I'm afraid it's not going to happen in my life time. I was hoping that there would be an argument from someone who liked being called African-American (just to see the other side), but I guess not.

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Do you think that it is getting better though?

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It was getting better, but lately I've seen attitudes getting worse, because there is still a privileged class, and they want to celebrate the country's "accomplishments" while glossing over the fact that it was on the backs of other people. They want to forget about those injustices. It's like being the children of thieves and resenting the suggestion that the children of those stolen from might be happy if you'd at least consider sharing, if not returning, their possessions

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I COMPLETELY agree with that analogy. I think times might also be getting worse because of the financial crisis. If it isn't resolved soon, people will go back to the time of blaming other races for their lack of jobs and lives (Chicago 1919). Hopefully not, otherwise scary times ahead.

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Your immigrant friend from Germany is just plain "American" mainly because as a white European, he or she not considered a member of an oppressed minority that the politicians can easily pander to. But don't worry, if they can figure out a way to convince your friend that the government owes him or her some taxpayer-funded schnitzel and a good pilsner beer to make up for the wrongs done to his ancestors, they will crown your friend as a "German-American" so they can try to buy your friend's vote. That's how they think these days!<br />
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I disagree that people always naturally group themselves with their "own kind," as determined by the press. One's "kind" is who we decide in our minds. I read somewhere that many people whose family come from say, Cuba, or Mexico, or Chile for example, actually consider themselves Cuban, or Mexican, or Chilean. It's only politicians and the media that label them as "Latinos" or "Hispanics."<br />
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Even among those same people in my example, they may identify as something OTHER than by where they originally hail from. A Chilean artist who lives in the US might feel he has more in common with other artists from diverse places like France, the US, and Japan, than he does with every other person originally from Chile.<br />
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It's really kind of small-minded to identify yourself strictly by your family's ethnic background or geographic location. If we all got past thinking only in those terms, we'd be a more peaceful and productive species.

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I totally agree. Most black Americans could trace their roots back to the early 1800s or earlier before finding a link to Africa.<br />
I've had the random thought that it would be hilarious if everyone adopted this policy. I would be Scottish-American. My white friends would be Irish-American, German-American, etc.

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Love it. Mind you, I'd have too many in front of mine, so I'd just have to be multi-American.

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Heinz 57-American. lmao

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:D

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Eugene, there were people who identified themselves in just that way, about 30 years ago. There were buttons that said, "Irish-American" that were very popular on St Patrick's Day.

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Yes. On their national holiday. Do you see them parading it around the rest of the year? By your username, I imagine you might be from Cajun country? Do they call themselves French-Americans? Or the blacks from Haiti and such places? They're surely not African-Americans.

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Because we don't make a big deal about where we're from. Quite the opposite. Most people that came here (europeans) wanted to shake off the old life, and just be Americans. They didn't drive around with England stickers on their wagons!

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Native Americans?

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Always celebrating their culture, living on nasty-*** reservations because it's free, getting handouts from the government, being assigned "sovereign state" status, long hair, beads, shall I go on?

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Not from India, so "Indian" was a misnomer.

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But NO ONE is forced to live in any of those places.

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When I wonder questions like that cooney, I always think to myself - I wonder what we would do if say the Chinese decided to invade and take over the US as it is now. Perhaps we would be made to live in reservations and be called non-Chinese Americans for several generations. It's always good to put yourself in the other persons shoes and realise their path is different to yours.

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I hear you. I have compassion for everyone, I just think we all should leave the past behind, and all just be Americans!

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agreed :)

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Lucky you to have that luxury. Burn down the plantations, redistribute all that money, and then we can truly forget the past, shake hands and call it even !

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Surely he meant leave the past ancestry behind, and all be called Americans. It is impossible to forget history and it will never be even.

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Now hold on... What you described happened in what was termed the "reconstruction". Don't you remember "carpetbaggers"? No person or group now living in this country owes any kind of debt or reparation to any other group. Shall we all seek reparations all the way back to Alexander, for the atrocities perpetrated upon our ancestors 600 years ago? There comes a point where you just have to let it go. Stronger cultures assimilate weaker ones, and thus has it been since time immemorial.

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No, people still own those plantations and still make money from them, they live rent-free there and have fortunes that were earned off the backs of people who were legally owned and worked for free. Don't forget the backlash from Reconstruction: Jim Crow, segregation (which ended during my little lifetime) and the lynching times (google it). And that "40 acres and a mule" never quite materialised. I don't expect reparations (I don't personally need them), people are so selfish they complain about affirmative action, forgetting that it was shared with other racial minorities and white women (who statistically benefitted most from it and now want to stop it so their sons aren't affected). I realise that stronger cultures assimilate weaker ones, but ours and the Native Americans' wasn't assimilated, it was destroyed. The U.S. is supposed to be and has always claimed to be the one place where such things don't happen.

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I call BS on this. The "plantations don't exist, they are owned by corporations. No one living today can even say that their grandparents knew people who had slaves. The slaves that were brought here were sold to white men by fellow tribesmen in large part! The taking and trading of slaves was practiced inter-tribally long before the europeans got involved. There just is NO place to "point the finger". We need to all be glad that we live in the greatest place of opportunity on earth, quit bitching, and roll up our sleeves and work together.

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Didn't they do some of that during the Civil War? Just sayin'.

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No, you're quite mistaken. There are people unwilling to ADMIT that their families owned slaves (would YOU be proud of that now ?) but it's quite traceable. My father's family found the people who owned their ancestors; Mrs. Obama found her white relatives. And more connections are being unearthed via Ancestry.com all the time. Some blacks just don't want to know.
And yes, slavery was a fact of life in many parts of Africa, NOT intra-tribally, but inter-tribally---as you stated---NOT "fellow tribesmen". Unless as a person of Irish descent (I'm guessing ?) you'd consider an Italian or an Englishman a countryman ? They sold the enslaved prisoners resulting from intertribal wars. (They also issued a formal apology for having done so, recently.) But it's a moot point---regardless of what was happening on the African continent, the U.S. claimed, then and now, to be the land of freedom. That slavery existed here AT ALL, ever, will forever give lie to that claim. Admitting that much is the first step towards any progress.

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I think people should just be identified as earthlings

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if only.

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yeah i hate that too

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because the white named it America lol

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I'm sure it was called something before haha, I mean there were people there before.

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yes ''it was'' but not anymore

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Not exactly true. Ameriica was named by AmericgonVespucci, was From Italy, were the skin tone is more Olive toned than white.

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It's all about who the US SHOULD belong to........ok, just joking......

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Because people haven't stopped categorising others into "black" and "white", they've just changed the words they use.

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we are all americans . just americans . we inhabit the best country in the world . im proud to call it home . we have seen better times but we have seen worse times . we will survive this . we will stick together and we will always be americans just americans

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I like to know what part of the country this person is in. Places like New York people are more that just white. Whites are Irish, Germany, Jews, Italians, Polish, Russian, French, Swedish and other. Every group have a sense of love of self, traditions and proud. People love the so called old country as well as the new one. This is America. <br />
The term African America is in time a new one. People of African descent was not all called African American. Afro American was before that.Black, Negroes, Colored, those titles was given to people of African descent.

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It´s left that way so people can hyphenate it with idiot, ignorant or ugly.

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they are Palefaces

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you call people paleface-Americans?

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si, me &amp; the injun nation

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I call myself Johnny.

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but what does everyone else call you :P

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It depends. My wife calls me Honey, unless she is Mad, then it's "JOHNNY" my kids call me Daddy, and I been called every name in the book at one time or the other. So I answer to many names, but Daddy is the best.

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No clue. It's kind of like they're separating themselves from Americans while also wanting to be American and reap the rewards allotted to them for their skin color.

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Firstly, I don't like your generalisation - there are A LOT of white people getting benefits and they are not called White-trash-Americans.
Secondly, wow - I didn't see it from that perspective - that they wanted to be called 'African-Americans' etc.

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oh sorry! what did you mean?

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Accidentally deleted my answer, and didn't see your response. Mind typing it again if it is of any import?

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Americans love to put 'America' on everything

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Ah, but we are not all Americans!

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your country doesn't differentiate between people of different ancestry?

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Many people of European descent are a mix of a lot of different countries. Someone could be Irish-Polish-German American. It's easier to just say Caucasian. And a lot of people don't even know what culture they came from.

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well it all comes down to the bloody history surrounding euro descent people and Native peoples who were already here.. with the Euro "eugenics' programs and mass genocide and wars with the Native peoples, the culture of verisimilitude that sprang up told everyone lies about their great and conquering race, when really it was a few pathetic settlements of colonists eating each other until native americans felt compassion and helped them out then the settlers killed them and began 'the GREAT American Story' ; ) Learn history kiddo, you'll find answers from the past, present and even in some cases future patterns..

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