For the next installment of this series, I present to you a curve ball. You may be wondering why this word is on the list. Of course this article is here to explain it but first let's educate ourselves a little:
Af·ri·can?Amer·i·can Pronunciation: ?a-fri-k?-n?-?mer-?-k?n, -?me-r?- also ?ä- Function: noun Date: 1855 : an American of African and especially of black African descent ? African?American adjective
eth·nic·i·ty Pronunciation: eth-?ni-s?-t? Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural eth·nic·i·ties Date: 1950 1 : ethnic quality or affiliation <aspects of ethnicity> 2 : a particular ethnic affiliation or group <students of diverse ethnicities>
race Function: noun Etymology: Middle French, generation, from Old Italian razza Date: 1580 1 : a breeding stock of animals 2 a : a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock b : a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics 3 a : an actually or potentially interbreeding group within a species; also : a taxonomic category (as a subspecies) representing such a group b : breed c : a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits?
col·or Pronunciation: ?k?-l?r Function: noun Usage: often attributive Etymology: Middle English colour, from Anglo-French, from Latin color; akin to Latin celare to conceal ? more at hell Date: 13th century? 3 : complexion tint: a : the tint characteristic of good health b : blush 4 a : vividness or variety of effects of language b : local color ?12 : skin pigmentation especially other than white characteristic of race <a person of color>?
na·tion·al·i·ty Pronunciation: ?na-sh?-?na-l?-t?, ?nash-?na- Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural na·tion·al·i·ties Date: 1691 1 : national character 2 : nationalism 1 3 a : national status; specifically : a legal relationship involving allegiance on the part of an individual and usually protection on the part of the state b : membership in a particular nation
4 : political independence or existence as a separate nation 5 a : a people having a common origin, tradition, and language and capable of forming or actually constituting a nation-state b : an ethnic group constituting one element of a larger unit (as a nation)
So what's so wrong with this word? First and foremost, we are Americans. If we want to shake the social stigma that we don't belong here we need to stop referring to ourselves using a hyphenated adjective. This adds a qualitative form on our citizenship which says to others that either we're not from here or we don't want to be here. The term Hyphenated American was once used as slur much like the N-word for people whose roots were from other countries. Times have changed and this is no longer the case but it is important to know the history and meanings of the words we use.
Second, let's play an game that you probably played as a child. One of these things is not like the other; Japanese-American, Italian-American, Canadian-American, African-American, Irish-American, German-American. Give up? These people (sans Africans) are from countries and Africa is a continent. Africa itself has many nationalities within it. People from the continent of Africa don't refer to themselves as Africans, they use the country they are from, much like we do. Using the term only denotes that you don't know where you are from.
This leads use to the third reason, We'll use some logistics on the definition. Anyone from Africa who immigrates to this country is an African-American. This of course mean people with white skin. This might confuse and anger some people but by definition, it is what it is.
Fourth there's the obvious fact that not every dark-skinned person is from Africa. There are people from the Caribbean with the same skin color who are just as proud of where they are from and don't appreciate the African suffix attached to their nationality. In examining this phenomenon around the world, we are the only country which uses such prefixes to denote ethnicity and nationality. There aren't any African-English or Vietnamese-French. People are comfortable with who there are and where they are from.
Which is what is missing from many people here. Too few of us, myself included, know exactly where our ancestors are from. For as long as we have been free, not too many of us have traced our roots back to where our families are from. Information is in abundance today and so are scams. Do your research before committing to such a service if that it how you wish to find your heritage. Be sure to do some research on your own prior to handling over any money. This will afford you some important family time getting to know those who share your genes.