Choosing One's Identity In Peace

One thing that has been bothering me lately is the fixation on people's choices to identify themselves as "African American" or "Chinese American". They ask"why can't we all just simply be American?" or my favorite "Why do black people call themselves African American when they're not even from Africa?" Why does that even matter to them? lol How does someone's identity affect them? Does proclaiming "I'm proud  to be black/Arab/Japanese etc" make people feel as though the person is separating themselves from them? That they are suddenly anti everything else? I hope not because that is not true at all.

Maybe it is a lack of understanding in the history behind people's choice to hold on to their cultural/ethnic background. Maybe it's a lack of understanding that minority groups who choose to hold on to their cultural/ethnic identity at some point in history were not allowed to be proud.

Either way I think people should let people choose their identities in peace. If you choose to simply be American without holding on to a cultural or ethnic identity then good for you, but let others choose in peace I say!

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4 Responses Mar 26, 2009

i like african american. it describes me perfectly. my ancestors, who died and was unfairly treated, are a part of me. that's where i get my hershey brown skin from. american is also me: i was born here, raised here and will probably die here. but i will not disown my african heritage. but i hear quite often people of african descent say they'd rather be called "black" but black is a color like a crayon or a sweater. that does not describe me.

Great post. I once heard that the term African American was a government made up term for political correctness. I'm not entirely sure about this. but either way I've alway sorta prefered the term black. I've shied away from "african american" even more since then because I feel like I would rather not use a title predefined by the majority group. I guess I use black for lack of a better personal defining term. perhaps some new inspiration will come lol. Either way I think it's most important we all feel totally in control of definining our identity.

I am born and bred British. I do find it strange that people find the need to mark you with these tags. Here in the uk I do have a big problem with a lot of the job application forms and I refuse to fill them out. They ask if you are Black African, Black Carribean etc, yet they just ask if you are white. Well I am not sure about america, but there are polish whites here, german whites etc, so should they not also be allowed to verify their decent. I am black british, that is what I personally label myself as if I have to be asked, but that is never put down on the form. Some peoples parents were born here (mine were not), but they have the right to call themselves black british. It also urks me for instance, I to look at am black, but my mother is half white and so therefore I am a quarter white, but I am black so I must be of African or Carribean decent, well no, because my grandad was a white irish man. Great blog, really got me going as you can see. lol

Wonderfully written. i agree. Thank you for sharing.<br />
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i believe you are a woman, an American. And you have your heritage which you can share with me (and others) if you want to do so.<br />
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Thank you