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Thread: A Rant on Race

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  1. #1
    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default A Rant on Race

    I was just looking at the topic, African American Wrestlers at Oklahoma State, and it got me to thinking how I dislike the term African American or Afro-American. Even though the terms Afro- or African refer to a continent of origin, they are used to mean ?Black? (or ?black? ? I?m never sure if I should capitalize it), which is a race. People aren?t Irish-Americans, Polish-Americans, or Afro-Americans unless they hold dual citizenship. They are all Americans. They may be Black, Hispanic, Oriental, Caucasian or whatever, but their race or ethnic heritage is a whole different issue from their nationality. Maybe I?m suffering from politically correct overload, but I don?t think black is a disrespectful term, any more than white is. If I?m wrong, then I apologize, but what would be the Black equivalent of Caucasian?

    I?m reminded of many years ago when I was watching the NCAA Div. III Nationals on TV. The announcer was describing a match and said something like, ?They are both wearing purple singlets, but Smith is wearing a kneepad and Jones has the yellow headgear.? I wondered why he didn?t simply say, ?Smith is black and Jones is white.? What would have been offensive about that? Actually, at the time I thought, and still do, that it was more offensive to conspicuously avoid saying that Smith was black, as if it were an insult.

    Sorry if I sound like Andy Rooney, but I?m just sharing my thoughts. If I?m way off the mark on this, please straighten me out because I?m never too old to learn.
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    Default Re: A Rant on Race

    I'm pretty sure that someone will take offense to your post, no matter how innocuous.

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    Default Re: A Rant on Race

    And when they do I'll be forced to move it to the P&R board.

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    Default Re: A Rant on Race

    Quote Originally Posted by JensenS View Post
    And when they do I'll be forced to move it to the P&R board.
    Yeah, it probably belongs there - feel free to move it it you want . . . and I won't go crazy like last time .

    BTW, do you think it's offensive?
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    Default Re: A Rant on Race

    Quote Originally Posted by Spider View Post

    BTW, do you think it's offensive?
    Nope, not in the least.

  6. #6

    Default Re: A Rant on Race

    The term for black people is negroid, white people are caucasian.

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    Default Re: A Rant on Race

    I don't think it's offensive at all, but a great number of people resent any discussion of racial matters, which is probably what Flop is alluding to.

    All words must be considered within the context in which they're used, and not as stand-alone markers of correct or incorrect usage. In a general sense, I don't think there's anything wrong with referring to people as black, and no one should ever take offense, assuming the context in which it's used is not intended to demean.

    I remember as a kid, cutting my reading teeth on sports books, including one about a fictional basketball player named Stretch Smith (you may know it). It was probably written in the 50s. The author occasionally referred to one of Stretch's teammates as "the coloured kid". Well, my 10 year old mind didn't really grasp what this meant--I didn't even know it was a synonym for black people--but now I do. Used in this way, it (or if he'd said "the black kid" )probably was stereotypical and demeaning for the author did not highlight the race of any other kid.

    Spider, you grew up in an era, as did I, when the term African-American was never used. One day, sometime in the 80s, as much as I can tell, Jessie Jackson started using the term and everyone followed. It may seem a bit awkward, but I'm not going to begrudge someone who wants to refer to themselves that way. If your persnickety neighbor, Richard, doesn't like it when anyone calls him Rich or Dick, you will probably end up calling him Richard, even if you think he's a bit of an ass.

    You asked what the counterpart to caucasian is, and someone correctly said negroid. Well, anyone who knows American history should understand that the latter term (and closely related words) have been used with negative connotations in the past, which is probably why black (and white) people avoid using it in a general way today. African-American is perhaps a substitute for a formal way of referring to black people, even if it seems a bit awkward.

    By the way, I think different nationalities have traditionally referred to their origin--appended to American, and this practice did not start with Jessie Jackson. Isn't there a food manufacturer called Franco-American (with the guy in the chef's hat)? In my travels, I sometimes go through southern Colorado, and in certain places feel like I've gone back in time. For example, in Alamosa (home of Adams State), there are several restaurants, named in a particular style, to wit: "Mrs. Rios, Mexican-American food"

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    Default Re: A Rant on Race

    Good points, Matclone. I did grow up calling black people Negro ("The Negros took our dates"), but I understand that Negro or Negroid carry a negative connotation. I just don't think that subdividing the term, "American" in order to identify or racial or ethnic identity is necessary.

    I'll never forget when we were giving oral book reports in the fourth grade (1956). One kid had read a sports book about a white basketball team playing against a black team. He referred to the other team as "colored," and the teacher jumped right in and said (I can hear it is if it were yesterday), "What do you mean by a colored team? We all are colored, some lighter and some darker. I don't think this book is suitable for a book report. Please sit down." Her non-discriminatory point of view was laudable, but her avoidance of an opportunity to explore the important and sensitive issue of racism was not. That book was probably the most appropriate of any book the class had read.

    Bi-cultural restaurants usually do accurately portray they type of food served, and don't just mean that they are a Mexican restaurant located in America. And by the way, the guy on the can with the Chef's hat was Chef Boy-R-Dee. Franco-American had a gold seal as it's logo (if I recall without Googlling it)
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    Default Re: A Rant on Race

    Quote Originally Posted by Spider View Post
    And by the way, the guy on the can with the Chef's hat was Chef Boy-R-Dee. Franco-American had a gold seal as it's logo (if I recall without Googlling it)
    Boy-R you right. I always get the two mixed up.

    Good story about your class in 1956. In the teacher's defense, she may not have known how to follow through with a discussion about racism. I'm sure it was a very sensitive topic then and she probably had no training whatsoever on the issue (unlike what a teacher might have today).

    I have another 4th or 5th grade story (circa 1968): we were lucky to have general music teachers then, although Mrs. Jones (probably 50-something in age) wasn't the most popular teacher because she could be crabby. Anyway, she made a point of telling us one time, (you have to consider the times), about going to a concert (classical music of course) where the audience had segregated itself--white people sat on one side of the aisle, and black people on the other, and how she sat with the black people because she had a better view.
    Last edited by matclone; 03-04-2008 at 01:35 PM.

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