Using “black” instead of “African-American”

I do not cave in to politically correct pressure to use “African-American” instead of “black.” During a Glenn Beck program (Time to Be Heard), a smart black accountant, Robin Martin, said:

“This whole African-American business is politically correct. [ … ] When you are talking … with your familiars [friends], and you get into a conversation about race, you'll say, or when you are speaking to your wife, you'll go, 'Oh, I'm talking about that black guy over there.' You don't say, 'Oh, I'm talking about that African-American guy.' You don't, do you? It's the politically correct thing. It's just so darn silly.”

Excellent point, Robin.

In working with countless black doctors, nurses, technicians, clerks, and other staff, I've never heard them use “African-American” instead of “black.” African-American is transparently politically correct but not accurately descriptive because all Americans are African-Americans: humanity originated in Africa; we are all rooted there.

The (now fading) backlash against using the word “black” stems from a tacit assumption that darker skin is worse than lighter skin, which is ridiculous. A tan is good, a permanent tan is even better, and one obtained without ultraviolet light exposure (which photoages the skin by causing wrinkles and other adverse effects) is best. Thus, anyone who buys into the notion that it's wrong to use the word “black” is helping perpetuate a racist myth designed to make blacks regret something they should feel good about. Black is indeed beautiful.

The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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