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Black, brown or yellow?

Avatar • Sep 27, 2010

Black people come in a variety of skin colors, from dark brown to light brown — the key word here being “brown”. Yes. Despite the fact that we are called “black” our skin is actually brown. Even the darkest of “black” skin is an ebony tone. Similarly, our hair texture varies from the very tightly kinked to the very loosely waved. To put it plainly there is great subtlety and genetic diversity to people of African descent. Given this, I often wonder how we came to be crammed into one box and labeled “black”.

I’m not sure of the origination of the term. The word “negro” — used in reference to black Americans prior to the Civil Rights movement — is Spanish for black. Is this how people of African descent chose to refer to themselves prior to slavery/colonialism? Was the term “black” self-imposed. I couldn’t find the answer to that question… but a large part of me really doubts it.

I sometimes feel that the term “black” serves as a contrast to other ‘peoples’… a lower peg on the color scale. It is a natural counter to the term “white” (another questionable label, since no person is actually white.) Because of the terminology, “black” and “white” people are often perceived as cultural and physical opposites. Genetically, of course, this is TOTALLY not true… but the power of wording makes it culturally true for many people.

Being in a community of natural women has made me feel that “brown” (or any term that isn’t “black”, lol) is a better descriptor — just as “kinky”, “curly”, “coily” and “wavy” are far better descriptors of our hair than the term “nappy”.

Within black culture we have come up with our own ways to describe our color variance, like “yellow bone” and “redbone” and (in Jamaica, where I grew up) “coolie” and “browning”… but I’ve often heard these terms used in derogatory fashion or as a slur against darker-skinned women (pointing out what they are not.)

So perhaps the whole “naming system” when it comes to black people needs to be overhauled.

What do you think? Do you ever wonder about the term “black”? Does it make you uncomfortable in any way? Does it matter to you at all?

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Alicia
Alicia
10 years ago

I don’t like when people of other races call me “black”. From my own people I’m cool, but coming from, say, a white person, I don’t like it. I usually refer to myself as “West-Indian” though. We are such a mixture, I don’t think a blanket term such as “black” really describes us at all. I have white, indian, and African blood in me…how is that “black?”

vonnie
10 years ago

i sometimes wonder about that, especially when my aunt refused to put black on the census because she says that she is brown *side eye* but I don’t give it much thought generally

http://www.socialitedreams.com/

MW
MW
10 years ago

@ Alicia
That’s so interesting! As a West Indian woman, for all the names and descriptions people can provide, I most prefer ‘Black’. The truth is, I’m not African-American (no one in Africa would rightly claim me). I see your point, the umbrella terminology isn’t representative of all of the diversity in the so-called “coloured” community but, in the same vein in which I’d call a person ‘white’ without regard to him/her being of Italian or Irish decent, it makes sense for a complete stranger to call me ‘Black’ or when I’m feeling particularly difficult ‘Brown’…because who’s the colour Black?

Whitney
Whitney
10 years ago

Personally, I don’t care for the term “black” or “African-American” since both names can be misleading, and the word “black” can be seen as negative. I also don’t care for the term “white” or “Caucasian” since they are also misleading. True Caucasians are from Caucasus and most of them have a brown complexion… Obviously, our naming system in the U.S. needs some updating.

Angela Akinniyi
Angela Akinniyi
10 years ago

I don’t mind the term black; however, there are more important things than to be stuck on race. Be proud of who ya are! Many of us are all mixed with something, but we are really Africans.

We are always the first to say I’m mixed with indian, or west indian, whatever, so what, the world sees you as African descent. Be proud of it and move on…

RB
RB
10 years ago

Interesting topic. I think John Henrik Clarke said it best “black tells you what you look like, not who you are”. In other words, we are African people! Why should we be reduced to a color? This insidious legacy of American racism just won’t disappear. I think the term brown is even more problematic then black. To me brown just solidifies this literal reduction of a peoples nationhood (a term I am using here to evoke land, history and culture). Asians still understand this concept. I certainly hope they reject being reduced to the color yellow…how ridiculous. To this day,… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

Black is pretty neutral to me, I don’t consider myself African-American, and typically use the descriptor West Indian; but you can’t tell I’m West Indian from looking at me so black is fine for people who need to put me in a category I suppose. I don’t know, you could slice this topic a million different ways and come up with a trillion different conclusions. However, it’s a good conversation to have because it erases some of the lines we use to box people in; our way of organizing and compartmentalizing people and things changes in a way that is… Read more »

Kee
Kee
10 years ago

How would calling ourselves brown be better than black? We are not a color, brown, black or yellow! We are in such a state of confusion as a people! I don’t believe there will ever be a time when all of us are satisfied with our “label” which is why it keeps changing for us over the years. Know who you are! When we get a clear understaning of who we are as individuals and as a people we won’t care what others decide they want to call us! ‑and I’m not quite sure how black, a beautiful and pure color, can… Read more »

aJwitaFrO
10 years ago

honestly I’m very unphased by it. Although the term “black” isn’t politically corrent, neither is calling people “white” either. The only time I get bothered by the term black is when people are describing a situation and they feel the need to mention that the person in the scenario was black. For example people will start off a story by saying “some black guy” instead of just saying “some guy”. I usually don’t ever hear people say “some asian guy” or “some white guy”, they usually only mention the race when the person is black. It’s particularly annoying when the situation… Read more »

Krystal
10 years ago

I don’t mind the term Black. I feel that that can encompass all peoples in the African Diaspora. African American obviously cannot label all of us because, for many of you and myself included, do not have roots in America. I am West Indian. If I am being specific I will say I am Afro-Caribbean. Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American, Afro-European–The common denominator is still African. If you are trying to be short and lazy (Like most Americans like to be) then go ahead and use the term Black. Want to be a little more specific you can say I’m of African descent.… Read more »

Sheila
Sheila
10 years ago

Africa will always be the Motherland for us all, even if we never set a foot there…it is in our blood and never to be denied. Some may call us black which is obvious to those who view us as such, but realize our whole black family is made up of many hues and nationalities…to keep it simple, personally you can just call me “Sheila”!

Dolores
Dolores
10 years ago

It seems as if every 30 years or so the names used to describe people of African descent change depending on what is politically correct at the moment. I think it’s silly to get bent out of shape over a title that is arbitrary to begin with. Let’s just pick a name, call it a day and quit looking for reasons to be offended.

Javann
Javann
10 years ago

I identify myself as Black or African. I feel like Black is a unifying term because there are people of African descent on every continent (except Antarctica, but if this global warming thing works out, we’d probably go there to). African-American is ridiculous, too long, and you never hear people of other nationalities throwing a dash and American after their country/continent, unless it’s a newspaper, etc.

honeybrown1976
honeybrown1976
10 years ago

I don’t care for the term, black, as it’s not true at all. We are several shades of brown. It’s a misnomer, really.
As a fair-skinned woman that’s been called “high yellow”, “shawty red”, and “redbone” in her lifetime thus far, I felt objectified by those terms when males would describe me that way and a bit of scorn from women.

Lori
Lori
10 years ago

I don’t mind at all. I think being referred to a “black” is perfectly acceptable because it’s not who I am, it doesn’t define me. It is up to us as “people” to carve out our way in life and find our purpose. I feel that though these topics may create debate, they mainly act as a distraction from focusing on and fulfilling our greater purposes in life. peace

KinkyLover
KinkyLover
10 years ago

@Angela‑I absolutely agree with you!

Black and Proud!

silvia
silvia
10 years ago

The only problem I have with the term ‘black’is that it is such a generalisation of people. Often black (by people who arent) is used as some kind of description of culture. That annoys me the most, I am from Europe myself and this annoys me about American television all the time. Black is not a culture, just because I am black and so is someone from the say the West Indies, doesn’t mean we are the same or have anything in common at all…(Im originally from Cape Verde). It’s just a colour and even as that isnt really accurate.… Read more »

deedeefresh
10 years ago

I am multiracial but fairly light and consider my skin tone more white than black. I do not have a problem with the terms African American and Caucasian because it shows the “origin” of the person rather than the color. I do tend to be in the middle though in certain parties… not being “black” enough or not being “white” enough, just forming my own little group, not really knowing where I fit in. A little funny note on the side: When I was younger the possibilities were limited to African-American, Caucasion, Native American, Asian and Hispanic. As I didnt know… Read more »

Freda
Freda
10 years ago

I just considered the use of the term “black” to identify myself last week. My first thought that comes to mind when I look at most people I know who would be called black, African-American, West Indian, African, etc. is Brown. Even those with the darkest of hues don’t appear to have black skin. I wondered when the word began being used and why many of us accepted and/or preferred it. I prefer brown if we’re strictly going by the color spectrum of skin complexions. I love that brown people come in so many beautiful shades.

MP
MP
10 years ago

I may have wondered about it in the distant past, but that’s too far back for me to reflect on right now. I call myself and all people of any amount African descent (no matter how far back) Black. That’s my shorthand for African diaspora. That’s all it is to me in general. I do believe the terms white and black were used to help set up the divisions and opposition between people to maintain colonial and slave social structures. In terms of me still using the term today, this social construct is a major part of my family’s past and… Read more »

Ashley
Ashley
10 years ago

How funny, the other day some people asked me what I preferred to be called because they said something about Africans, anyways I don’t really care to much I guess I would prefer African American but then I am not from Africa so I don’t know… I guess just call me American.

LBell
LBell
10 years ago

My father says that his family was using “black” to describe themselves before it was cool to do so. Back in his day (1940s-1950s) using “black” was considered an insult. Everybody on my father’s side is dark-skinned and all of his children turned out dark too. Not too long ago I had an older white woman say in reference to me, “I don’t see black…I see beautiful.” I came right back at her with “The two are not mutually exclusive! There’s nothing wrong with me being black.” There’s nothing wrong with “black.” What makes me uncomfortable is how in 2010 I’m seeing… Read more »

Dolores
Dolores
10 years ago

I respect the idea of self reflection. I also think that “We” spend a LOT of time licking our wounds about how we have been treated and how we are perceived. This often leads to hurt feelings(offense)that, I think, promotes an inferiority complex.

I was not just referring to the label “black” when I used the term arbitrary. I really think(and many scientists have also made this argument) that the concept of race itself is arbitrary. I won’t go into detail about that as it is off topic.

Nisus
10 years ago

I hear the term black in my mind as more of an ethnic background descriptor than a physical descriptor. I prefer it to African American, because as stated, many culturally or ethnically “black” folks are not from Africa and it makes no distinction between decedents of African peoples who have lived outside of Africa for centuries, and Africans in America(just as diverse as “white” people (european-americans? o_O). I’m so mixed I’d say I’m just as American as anyone else- not derivative of any other nation directly. I’d rather just be a black, American. The only time I have a problem… Read more »

maria
maria
10 years ago

The term ‘Black’ to me refers more to one’s state of mind as oppose to the colour of your skin, it’s about consciousness. I don’t have a problem with the anyone refering to me as Black. All those negative connotations surrounding the word stated in the white mans dictionary are irrelevant as i turned them around years ago for more positive meanings. For example, a ‘black heart’ is a beautiful one but not what it says in the dictionaries. I don’t think Indians would be too happy if with started labeling ourselves as brown. You see there was a time… Read more »

Nicky
Nicky
10 years ago

No one in my family has been in Africa for over 200 years, so the term African-American makes no sense. We are mixed with everything, yet when you look at me you see a Black woman. I like the term Black. For me Black is maximum color. The best, the darkest skin, the lightest skin, the richest, and most vast array of color. In my own family we traverse the gamut of color from blue-eyed white to black-eyed pitch, but we call ourselves Black because Black is all colors together.

MajiLyric
MajiLyric
10 years ago

I am a BLACK woman. In my opinion, I believe that most of the people who don’t want to be called “black” are those who don’t want to be associated with HOW DARK their skin is. Which is why they turn to calling themselves “mocha”, “caramel”, etc. Words like “black”, “white”, and “yellow” have never been accurate when it comes to actual (technical) shades of people. The only thing that they try to tell is what a persons ethnic background may be (europe, africa, asia). As the word becomes more GLOBAL I think that using “colors” to determine what a person… Read more »

Rhonda
Rhonda
10 years ago

This is just my opinion: African-American should be designated for people born in Africa and are now American citizens. I am not African-American. I was born in Florida. People who have an immediate relative(parent, grandparent) that is something other than black is mixed. My mom and her parents are black and my dad and his parents are black. I’m not mixed. I didn’t see this mentioned but I don’t believe that black people and spanish people are the same. Yes, we are both minorities but so are koreans. I consider myself black. As a culture we should all be proud to… Read more »

luvs
luvs
10 years ago

Well said AJ!

netsirk
netsirk
10 years ago

I’m with Dolores!

Anon
Anon
10 years ago

@ deedeefresh: I’m absolutely mystified by the hypothesis that you quoted. Interesting how black Americans have almost no African blood and nonetheless come out looking strangely… well, African.

hmmm…

Dheena
Dheena
10 years ago

THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! Many BGLH readers jumped down my throat when I referred to us women as beautiful brown skinned women in the Afro Latina Post. There were a good variety of readers that stated that I was being negligent of my roots because I said that I was brown skinned instead of black skinned…Huh? But my skin is brown. The color complex is such a huge deal and for no aparent reason because like you said…no one is BLACK…but this post was great nonetheless.

Nell
10 years ago

what aspect of the black community DOESN’T need to be overhauled? i’m slightly cautious to arguments that propose the use of something other than “black” when describing the African and African diasporic community. black Americans have just begun to get comfortable with calling ourselves “Africans” or “African Americans”. and i think the hesitation many black people have to using the word “black” may just be another form of trying to dissociate with being African; Negro. once black people get to point at which we LOVE the darkest of the dark, the kinkiest of the kink and the most exaggerated version… Read more »

Megan
Megan
10 years ago

Yeah, I don’t like the term ‘black’. Or ‘white’ for that matter. Nothing on me is black and nothing on white people is ‘white’. Even albinos aren’t white. But whatever I guess. At the end of the day the ‘majority’ will still categorize us as black *shrug*

summer-daze
summer-daze
10 years ago

Black” was coined by us back during the Civil Rights Movement & Black Panther days — hence, “Black & Proud”, “Black & Beautiful”. The pictures of actual black hands balled into a fist became popular at that time, symbolizing our bond as a people & love for being Black.

binks
binks
10 years ago

maybe it is just me but it isn’t that serious. The term black doesn’t offend me and this is coming from someone who is highly yellow and damn near white under certain lights so I don’t get the problem. Personally, I think the term black American is much better than African American, I know my roots come from Africa but black American seems more accurate.

Ain't I an African
Ain't I an African
10 years ago

@ Nell: “once black people get to point at which we LOVE the darkest of the dark, the kinkiest of the kink and the most exaggerated version of anything telltale “African”, is when we will become free from the colonized mindset. and free to call ourselves whatever we want”

Applauds.

@Anon: #

@ deedeefresh:” I’m absolutely mystified by the hypothesis that you quoted. Interesting how black Americans have almost no African blood and nonetheless come out looking strangely… well, African.

hmmm…”

Applauds again
#

B
B
10 years ago

I don’t have a problem with the word black, as long as it used when the person is talking in english.
Let me explain, I am french, and many white people in France use the english word, because they feel it’s an insult to say “noir/noire”. And to me it’s stupid and useless.
I see myself as a curvy chocolate skinned woman. But black as a generic word will do

Aisha
Aisha
10 years ago

This reminds me of when I was a young girl, One day I was walking towards my daycare centre with one of the guardians, and very nice “white” lady. And I asked her, why do people call me black? Don’t they see that I am brown, My mommy is white, my daddy is almost black, and just like when you mix your paints it turns brown, like me! She looked at me and said “i know sweety, don’t worry about such things, you know who you are, and no matter what they call you, you are beautifull. Now I think I… Read more »

Miss Malorie
10 years ago

People get very hung up on labelling… I have no problem with being referred to as “Black.” Sure, my skin may be brown, but then again, if we got specific, my skin is a little red, and a bit more yellow, and mostly brown. I don’t feel the necessity to get specific like that, and thus have no problem with the racial category. Granted, I also feel that race is a contrived social construct anyway, and telling someone I’m “Black” tells them nothing about me. In being within the category of Black, I could be Caribbean, I could be Hispanic,… Read more »

mila
mila
10 years ago

For me it defines my social and political condition, not my actual skin colour. Society MAKES me black, as well as it makes my friend white, although it does not reflect the real colour white. It is all about the old story of colonialism, human‘s worth and privileges categorized according to black, brown, not so dark brown, light brown, white,bla bla bla. I am aware of the fact that i am not white, so as long as I define myself as a black woman, I am able to NOT ignore the ongoing racism today.

Jamese
Jamese
10 years ago

I totally agree with Dolores. I was just having this discussion today with a friend and how we say black or african-american, and how so many of us don’t agree with what we want to be called or identified as. This is a really good discussion.

Cherie
10 years ago

I prefer African American because I am of African Decent. I don’t have to step foot in Africa to be allowed to claim my roots. My sister is marrying a Korean who has never seen Korea, yet he calls himself Korean, not Yellow or Yellow American. And I don’t care what Indian or Irish or whatever big momma ‘nem said we were mixed with, when you look at me, you see an African. However, at the end of the day, Black or African American, whatever we decide to call ourselves, we need to to do it with pride. That’s what’s… Read more »

deedeefresh
10 years ago

@Anon I am not trying to sound negative and tried to quote what I have read. It is said that the modern African American almost has no traces of African because it has been mixed with other races which create the modern black American. Ofcourse the “African” gene is usually predominant thus the facial trades and features are passed on more than those of European. I have also found a interesting text on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American#The_term_.22African_American.22 Also in the book “Made in America” author Bill Bryson writes:“Finally, a word needs to be said about descriptive terms for black people. NEgro is… Read more »

Mesh
Mesh
10 years ago

@ Dolores- I agree with you. Especially your first post.

JulieM
JulieM
10 years ago

BLACK IS JUST A TERM USED TO DESCRIBE PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DECENT. IT DOESNT BOTHER ME BECAUSE I THINK BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL. JUST LIKE SOME PEOPLE REFER TO CAUCASIONS AS WHITE, EVEN THOUGH THEIR SKIN COLOR IS NOT REALLY WHITE. ALSO, I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THIS WHOLE MIX THING. STOP IDENTIFYING YOURSELF AS WEST INDIAN OR WHATEVER. YOUR BLACK! DONT IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A CULTURE. WHAT IS YOUR RACE? RACE MEANING AFRICAN. JUST LIKE I AM PART PUERTO RICAN BUT THAT IS NOT A RACE SO I IDENTIFY WITH THE AFRICAN RACE. I AM AFRICAN AMERICAN AND PROUD… Read more »

JulieM
JulieM
10 years ago

TO ME IT SEEMS LIKE NO ONE WANTS TO BE BLACK OR AFRICAN. EVERYONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE MIXED WITH. DAMN, WHITE PEOPLE DONT GO AROUND SAYING I AM PART INDIAN, ITALIAN, GERMAN ETC.. THEY JUST SAY THAT THEY ARE CAUCASION OR WHITE. SO WHY DO WE ALWAYS WANT TO BE PART THIS AND PART THAT. CANT SOMEONE JUST SAY I AM BLACK OR I AM AFRICAN!

JulieM
JulieM
10 years ago

CARRIBEAN AND HISPANIC IS NOT A RACE. LETS GET THAT STRAIGHT PEOPLE.

JulieM
JulieM
10 years ago

SOME PEOPLE USE THE TERM CARRIBEAN AS IF IT IS DIFFERENT OR SEPERATE FROM BLACK PEOPLE. ITS NOT. JUST LIKE GERMAN, ITALIAN, OR FRENCH CAN STILL MAKE YOU WHITE OR CAUCASION, OR EUROPEAN.

Nell
10 years ago

@Dolores i would definitely have to disagree with the point that we spend “a LOT of time licking our wounds”. many of us (black americans) have yet to even notice that there are pools of blood at our feet, much less that we actually have wounds and where they’re located on our bodies. the level of education about black history, slavery, the slave trade, jim crow, and the behemoth of African cultures is and has been at a stagnant, disturbingly minimal level that is almost pointless to even acknowledge. we don’t even know we’re hurt and that we as a… Read more »

naturallyk
10 years ago

I don’t mind being called Black. Its not the name that harms us, its the attitude and hate behind it. If we change our attitudes about color the name won’t need to change.

Anon
Anon
10 years ago

I don’t mind the term “black.” There are people in various parts of the world (not just Africa) who have skin so dark that it appears to be black and to me that’s incredibly alluring. Obviously there is negative symbolism attached to the color black and state of being dark, but there are also very beautiful ways of imagining those terms. So, sure go ahead and call yourself “brown” (you have the right to self-identify), but doing so won’t place you on parity with the white standard unless the “othering” of and underlying stereotypes about people of African descent change.… Read more »

Jc
Jc
10 years ago

I definitely like being called Black or Brown or African. All of the above are perfectly fine. Technically White people really aren’t white either. Most have pinkish, brownish or yellowish undertones. Asian people are not yellow at all yet one of my friends does refer to herself as the Yellow pound (UK thing). I think there is a valid point about the word black being used as an insult. We all recognize it when we hear it. However, for me it is a great compliment. I still remember my dad entertaining us as kids with the James Brown song, ‘I’m Black… Read more »

Lily
Lily
10 years ago

wow!…thanks for this articles BGLH…it usually just shows from most comments that the so called natural haired women are not so enlightened after all!.…as the same insecurities that plagued them as relaxed women still plague them…with all the post on the African continent and how it has been highly misrepresented you still see the same insecurities that made us all want to dissociate ourselves from the African continent still prevalent in peoples quick jump of “i’m not African” who said you were? You can view yourself as an American or whatever you choose…the truth is your History is different from… Read more »

Black Married Momma
10 years ago

DeeDeeFresh, I find this specious and ridiculous: “I am not trying to sound negative and tried to quote what I have read. It is said that the modern African American almost has no traces of African because it has been mixed with other races which create the modern black American. Ofcourse the “African” gene is usually predominant thus the facial trades and features are passed on more than those of European.” Tell that to the hundreds, if not thousands, of American Blacks who’ve chosen to have their DNA tested through racial admixture analysis. We are only a few centuries removed… Read more »

Black Married Momma
10 years ago

@JulieM,

I am with you! The subtext of self-hate is incredible. You don’t see Asian Americans saying they’re just Americans or yellow-skinned Californians. But we want to be anything but what we are.

I am acculturated as a Black American. I am a United States citizen. But I can go anywhere on the planet and be perceived as being of African extraction first!

And that is perfectly great to me.

beadgyrl
beadgyrl
10 years ago

I agree with what someone said above. That black people have been having an identity crisis since slavery and that is oh so true. I’m co-signing Julie M’s comments, and I agree. Personally, I refer to myself as black because it’s true, and why should I be ashamed? I am a black woman. Because frankly, I most certainly will not accept the ‘n‑word’, or ‘colored’. I always felt wierd about “african american’ as well, although it is acceptable, I am not directly from Africa, and have no african culture. Only what I know of from history books, travel, and or… Read more »

aiych
aiych
10 years ago

Can I just give you some personal insight, not just what I feel I should think or what I feel is the correct way to think, but what has actually happened? It’s not a history lesson or an attempt to bolster the black is beautiful idea. Too bad if anyone is offended. Have any of you taken that implicit Harvard test? I took it a few months ago, thinking that I was “proud” of my blackness and comfortable in my skin. I had taken black history courses, courses in Africana and black American art at my University, I was a… Read more »

Nell
10 years ago

to add on to what others have been hinting around… i think the preference some of us have for the word “black” as opposed to “African American” is that it creates a bridge between every black person on the African continent and in the diaspora. on some level, most black americans know very little about Africa and its various cultures, thus making the term “African” (even when hyphenated with “American”) somewhat inaccurate. but the term BLACK describes me, having never stepped on the African continent, a Zulu steeped in the history of his or her people, a Brazilian who speaks… Read more »

Lamariposanegra
10 years ago

We are the bastard children of the Americas. We don’t have a name.

Dolores
Dolores
10 years ago

@ Nell,
It’s unfortunate that you interpreted my tone as mocking, but I wouldn’t visit this blog and bother to post anything if that were my spirit. Also, I think the length of your response illustrates my point exactly. Remember, I would not comment if I did not care.

Christina
Christina
10 years ago

@aiych- I completed the test. Result- Moderate automatic preference for black people. Does that make me racist?

Well at least I’m not self hater.

aiych
aiych
10 years ago

@ Christina– no. I’m happy for you and you should be proud. Unfortunately for me it was not the same.

aiych
aiych
10 years ago

and yea, I took the test again yesterday and had no bias between either group…

pinkgirlfluff
pinkgirlfluff
10 years ago

I refer to myself as black when it comes to race because the term African American is so broad to me. That would mean that all of the individuals of African descent via the slave trade in North South and Central America are all African Americans. Which would be fine if we were all culturally similar but we are not. I don’t have a close relationship with my dad but his family is from Guyana. He does not talk to me about it. My grandmother on his side died before I was old enough to have questions about Guyana. So… Read more »

Moi
Moi
10 years ago

I think the problem is racism and bigotry which tells little Black girls that they are worthless, ugly, and usless, so by the time they grow up to be Black women, we have a serious self-hatred problem on our hands. Stop this cultural mutilation of Black girls and they will cease to grow up into Black women who hate themselves.

Black girls & women, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

MimiW
MimiW
10 years ago

It makes me highly uncomfortable and irritable when the label of ‘black’ is used. There is power in a name and black just isn’t an apt description of who we are. Black in its contextual sense is a word synonymous with everything bad in the english language — black friday, black cat, black magic; even angel food cake (white) vs. devil’s food cake (black). Roping an entire group of society to that same name can only also conjure negative images. Apart from that, you aptly pointed out the polarity of black and white in describing the two ethnicities (I dont… Read more »

Patricia Kayden
Patricia Kayden
10 years ago

There is nothing wrong with the term black and I wonder why some are questioning its use. What exactly do you want black people to call themselves? The term brown is no better than black. I’m not quite understanding the purpose of this article.

Nyeira
Nyeira
6 years ago

Black was a result of what Europeans called us. There is no history of Africans actually calling themselves black. The Europeans coined these terms “black and white” because to them white was pure and black was dirty. This Is as plainly as I can put it 🙂

marie
marie
5 years ago
Reply to  Nyeira

Or because we looked as black as the earth and they as white/ pale as sheets???? Not necessarily clean and dirty but just referring to color??? It doesn’t matter, it’s only derogatory if you think its offensive. We are all beautiful, color is just color.

Darla Jones
Darla Jones
5 years ago
Reply to  Nyeira

You’ve got to be kidding me! girl you need to pick up a history book. Before we were called black, we were negroes/colored, terms bestowed on us by white people. James Brown set the trend and started with the “Say It Loud, I am Black and I am Proud.” From then on we started to call ourselves Black. It was a source of pride, which extended from our hair to our culture, and the many struggles we faced! We then continued with the term Black through the Black Power movement and the Black Panthers to signify unity, black love, and… Read more »

madeinafrica
madeinafrica
5 years ago
Reply to  Darla Jones

Nyeira said that there was no history of Africans calling themselves black before the Whites chose to call them this way… I’m pretty sure that African people did not call them this way, why would they ? They were more defining themselves as members of this or that tribe.

Darla Jones
Darla Jones
5 years ago
Reply to  madeinafrica

We can agree to disagree. Again, the African slaves were stripped of their language and their identity. They were not called black, as African slaves, many slave owners referred to them in the most derogatory terms.

BigSyd
BigSyd
9 years ago

I took the harvard test, and the results don’t mean that’s what you think…the pictures flash bby really fast, it’s easy to get confused…and to the person who said most african-americans have little to no trace of “african” left…that’s a lie.

Even europeans and even indians can be traced back to africa so please get your facts straight, that made me laugh, lol

Violet
Violet
9 years ago

I don’t want to be labeled as Black as a color or African American… because realistically every American is an African American because we all descended from Africa. I prefer being called copper-brown if you had to label my color and Human if you had to list out my “race”. We are all mixtures from the same gene pool man. I identify with the African slave as my forefather but I don’t feel right claiming Africa in my ethnicity because my family’s diaspora has spread so far and wide for so long in the Caribbean and other places.

Mmm
Mmm
5 years ago
Reply to  Violet

Hello Raven

Ashlee
Ashlee
9 years ago

Actually Africans referred to themselves as black before we were colonized. For example, Egypt used to be called ‘Kemet’ before it was taken over by other countries. Kemet is translated to ‘Land of Blacks’. I have no problem with being labeled as a Black person, because historically, that’s how we referred to ourselves.

Nyeira
Nyeira
6 years ago
Reply to  Ashlee

That’s actually a common misconception. KMT referred to the environment not the people. If you can read old hieroglyph there is a character that indicates such. 🙂

Giovanna
Giovanna
9 years ago

It doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable as the term “black” in reference to a person of African or mixed race descent will not go away for many years to come. As a woman of mixed culture (I do not consider my ethnicity on my Hispanic side a “race”) I’ve been referred to as ‘redbone’ in a derogatory term as well as ‘black’. In my opinion however race does not exist, it’s simply a man made ideology that has survived thousands of years. Every single one of us are 99% identical and only a mere 1% makes up our skin tone,… Read more »

K.
K.
9 years ago
Reply to  Giovanna

+1

@bridgetc_lee
@bridgetc_lee
5 years ago
Reply to  Giovanna

Well I am a pretty brown skin girl. I am also a very very proud AFRICAN AMERICAN decent of slaves, maters and not sure who the Asian was but them too.

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

WTF is wrong with the color black? No one’s really actually white either. GMAB, this call me Anything but black attitude kills me.

@bridgetc_lee
@bridgetc_lee
5 years ago

During the 1950’s we were referred by polite whites as Negros. After MLK and the civil rights moment we decided we didnt like the word Negro so decided we wanted to be call black. After the whole roots and exploration of how genetic diverse we are African American was picked. We picked AFRICAN AMERICAN because we are not sure EXACTLY where in Africa we come from. FOR INSTANT Irish come from Ireland hence the Irish American, AFRICAN AMERICANS are not people who moved to Ameria from African, THEY would be Nigerian American, South African American, etc. The Term AFRICAN American… Read more »

Fredman Tate
Fredman Tate
3 years ago
Reply to  @bridgetc_lee

I’m still confused . You cleared up nothing …

Danica
Danica
5 years ago

So.….let’s see if I got this straight. If I call myself black then I hate myself and am denying my heritage as someone of African decent. If I call myself African American then I hate myself and am denying the glaring un deniability of my inherent blackness and am cutting myself off from everyone else black, also I’m also claiming a heritage I’m too far away from to claim. If I call myself just American, I just hate myself period. There’s no possibility that I’m sick of being a color. Or sick of being referred to by a term where… Read more »

Fredman Tate
Fredman Tate
3 years ago
Reply to  Danica

I hate long and drawn out explanation to anything like “What am I . I am a man . That says it all and it’s hangin to …

Emmeaki
Emmeaki
4 years ago

Colored” is offensive nowadays, but I feel that “colored” describes me more than “black”. Other than that, I wish we could just go by nationality like white people. American, British, Jamaican, whatever. White people don’t have to describe themselves by race first.

Fredman Tate
Fredman Tate
3 years ago
Reply to  Emmeaki

Stop feeling defensive about what “Color” you are . everyone that can see you know first hand …

Lady Legasus
Lady Legasus
4 years ago

Coulie actually means worker and refers to the East Indians that were brought in to work. So then the word became associated with East Indian people. I know this as my mothers side of the family is East Indian from guyana ??.

Gregory D. Kato
Gregory D. Kato
4 years ago

If we think of humanity as a wide range of colours, sizes, shapes, hair textures, it’s a marvel to behold. It is our penchant for ‘tribalistic” thinking which causes us to see “others” and not see everyone as part of our own people. Europeans have really made a mess of this world with the racist institutions created a millennia ago and which are perpetuated to the present. I hate it. I do find some comfort in seeing beauty everywhere, in every person, in every hue.

Fredman Tate
Fredman Tate
3 years ago

How or better yet Why ? did “Europeans create racist institutions” . Give us a European perspective of their nature …

SKEEWEE
SKEEWEE
5 years ago

It was always my understanding that the Portuguese began calling Africans “Negro”, because this is the Portuguese word for the color black (I believe it is the Spanish word for black, as well. My husband is Romanian, and he taught me the Romanian word for black, which is “Negru”…the similarities show the Latin origin. He says the Romanian word to describe a Black lady is “Negrese” :). Who knows, maybe the first Africans they encountered were literally black in color. There’s nothing wrong with this: all shades of “Black” are beautiful. It absolutely does not matter to me if those… Read more »

Beautiful Brown Latina
Beautiful Brown Latina
3 years ago

Black is such a broad term which is why I don’t use that term. Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshians, Scilians, Brazillians, African Americans, Latinos, West Indians, Hawaiians all can have dark “black” skin. However, it doesn’t identify them culturally.

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