What Are You? Black, African-American, Afro-American, or Black-American

1 Posted by - January 27, 2022 - Black Culture, BLACK STEREOTYPES, LATEST POSTS

Black tells you about skin color and what side of town you live on. African-American evokes discussion of the world. -Rev. Jesse Jackson

Blacks, Black-Americans, African-Americans, and  Afro-Americans are terms that are frequently used in magazines, newspapers, and across the internet when referencing black people. So, what brought about the name change from “negro” and “colored” to these terms.

The reference from  “negro” to “black” shifted during the 1960s. However, in 1988, Jesse Jackson launched a campaign to encourage the use of the term “African-American” when referencing black people  as a way to emphasize “a sense of ethnic identity.” Over the next few years, prominent civil rights leaders and politicians would join Jackson in promoting this terminology change, and the use of “African-American” would be adopted by major newspapers and public agencies around the country. While many Americans voiced their support for the term, Jackson’s campaign was not received with enthusiasm by all.

People who grew up with the term “colored” were not comfortable with the new term because hearing the word “colored” was the norm for them. But there were many others who appreciated the sense of heritage that was implied by the term African-American. One of the most ground-breaking moments came when James Brown released his song “I’m black and I’m proud.” However, Black does not define a race of people. It’s a color. It’s an adjective, not a noun. And a long time before it was accepted, it was not accepted.

The term African-American has had several incarnations in previous years, with “Afro-American” also having small spurts of popularity. But supporters of the African-American movement found fault with the usage. “We came from Africa,” said Dr. Olive Taylor, a professor of history at Howard University. “We didn’t come from ‘Afro.'”

It has been over 25 years now since some black Americans, stopped calling themselves “black” and began calling themselves “African-American”, exchanging a racial label for an ethnic one that points clearly to the origins in Africa.  Jackson explained that every ethnic group in the country has a reference to some land base, some historical cultural base. “There are Armenian-Americans and Jewish-Americans and Arab-Americans and Italian-Americans.”

So, how do African-born individuals feel about the name change? Foreign-born blacks from the Caribbean and from Africa, make up almost 30% of the black population living in New York City and no matter how long they live in the US, those born in Africa will never accept being called “African-Americans.”  However, not only are these blacks resisting the name African-American many others in the United States are also holding on to the name from the past: “black.”  But in the end, everyone has their own preference as to what term they prefer when referencing their ethnic background and it will totally depend on that person as to which term is used. No one is forcing either one on them.






  • Luci March 6, 2017 - 8:01 pm

    Truth betold…we are not any of these names and Jesse Jackson should have known better, but then again, who we are has been deliberately hidden from us since our final captivity in America and to all 4 corners of the universe. We are descendants of the children of the Book, the “chosen”, the Hebrew Israelites who fled from Israel when Rome was sacked in 740 A.D. Israelites fled into the mountains which led us into Africa, the exact same place that Mary, Joseph, and the baby Messiah fled in order to escape the Roman persecution. We were hated by the Africans and Arabs, because we spoke Hebrew, would not assimilate, had no need for them as we were doctors, lawyers, scientists, mathematicians, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, painters of art, historians, revenue agents, kings, princes, governors, generals, agents, architects, language interpreters, jewelers, sculptors, masons, carpenters, leather workers, goldsmiths, potters, armors, saddlers, agriculturists, etc., etc., etc. We were not a bunch of savages running around naked and swinging from vines as I was led to believe in schools. My ancestors were a prestigious people. This is the reason the Jewish slaveholders sought Israelites out. This is why Africans and Arabs rounded us up for the slave traders. They viewed us as outsiders who had migrated and had encroached upon their land. They, the Arabs and Africans knew that we were not the same people so they had no problem commencing in the slave trade with Europeans.They despised us then, much like they do today. The Europeans, came seeking the same people who were taken captive and enslaved in Egypt, who built the pyramids and who Moses appealed to Pharaoh to let his people go. There were numerous captivities: Egyptian, Syrian,Syrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, and the last one was the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to the 4 corners of this universe as identified. The slave traders knew our history, consequently, the Hebrews were taken captive onto cargo ships and transported to the 4 corners of this universe. This is all verified in Deuteronomy 28:68. NO other people but the Hebrew Israelites were transported via cargo ships and certainly not those residing in Israel today. They are the ones Messiah addressed in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9…”I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews,and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan”. Those residing in Israel today, are not Jews, but impostors who have stolen a heritage from the Biblical Hebrew Israelites, that does NOT belong to them. They are Khazars from Eastern Europe, who converted to Judaism in 740 A.D. under their King Bulan. They were expelled from over 100 countries bc of their corrupt business practices with money, Satan is their god, etc. The word Jew was man made and changed by well funded pressure groups to change the meaning of Judah. The Balfour Declaration is how Jews arrived in Israel and claimed it a state in 1948. A deal was made bc of the war. They begged for Israel, but these people living there now have no ancestry to Abraham, Isaac or Jacob and it has been proven. They NEVER set foot in Israel until 1948. YAH has prophesied to destroy it once more. It is now being downtrodden by “Gentiles”, who they really are (Luke 21:24) This is when Messiah says that Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Messiah has promised to destroy Israel one final time, gather HIS people from the 4 corners of this universe and return them to the Promised Land, that we left. The church has its followers believing that its members are the Gentiles, but it is a great deception, bc our ancestors all belonged to the 12 Tribes and not one of those claiming Judaism belong. They are Askenazis claiming Judaism and speaking Yiddish, never Biblical Hebrew. Why doesn’t the church speak truth about who the real “chosen” people are? They are all run by the government and world powers that fund them. They dare NOT lose their 502C , tax exempt, non-profit status nor be defrocked. It is a business funded by government. I have spoken with pastors and they admit that the last captivity was the Trans_Atlantic Slave Trade which enslaved Black Hebrew Israelites and transported them by cargo to countries all over the world viz. United State, Central America (Guatemala, Panama) Jamaica, Trinidad, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Pacific Islands, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Australian Aborigines, South America and (Brazil, Argentina, Columbia,Uruguay, Paraguay). YAH has also promised when He returns, to destroy our enemies, the enemies of His people who have enslaved, abused, denigrated, murdered, and mistreated His people. There is no escape. Messiah is coming back for WAR!! The powers that are ruling this earth will not willingly give this earth up. Satan does not want to give up. His powers in this earth have connected with the powers of this earth.It is going to be an all out WAR and guess who is going to lose.The powers that have established their armies here are going to lose. Wake up!!!

    • Floyd Guidry August 17, 2018 - 8:52 pm

      Luci, I do not dispute your comments and all is most likely true. However Black Americans are not only composed
      of the true Hebrews, but a composite of Black & white, composite of African Hebrews and Native Americans, composite of Native Americans and whites. We have a fantastic blend of different genes which really make us
      a blessed people. My ancestors are dark people, from the Atakapa Native American tribe who has a 12,000 year
      history. My great grand father was an Atakapa, my grand mother and father were Atakapas and I have a high percentage of Atakapa blood running through my vein and I am BLACK, in color and spirit. My linage goes back to Africa (Khemit, Akubulan, Kushite or what ever you want to call it) because this is our origin including the native Americans of which many were Black, not red. Africans have been mingling with the Native Americans long before the European thought of their so called “New World”. This country is our country and not the Europeans, they the ones who should leave.

    • The Black Ninja December 15, 2020 - 5:05 pm

      Most of us have failed, (meaning) From day One we just had one job to do… GET BACK TO AFRICA AS A FREE PERSON BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY. so… by now if we hadn’t we are American not African but 100% proud and dignified Black people in this country who have chosen to stay as a free people …. Now what we do with our life now that we were born and live here is entirely up to whom we look at in the mirror each day. We are just American… now out of love deal with it family.

  • M. F. Richard March 7, 2017 - 1:46 am

    I’m 63 and have been colored, Negro, Afro-American, Black and African American. I accept them all, but prefer Black or Negro because that’s what I grew up with. I say that I am not African American because Charlize Theron is (I love her as an actor and mean no harm). I believe African born and their children are African American. I don’t have a problem with Afro-American as its reference is color and culture, like Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Brazilian, etc.

  • PAMELA KIM THOMAS March 7, 2017 - 8:04 pm

    What is wrong with calling ourselves what we are? My heritage did not start in Africa, it began in the Americas. The north most part of the Moroccan territory . I am indigenous to the Americas and an Aboriginal citizen – an actual American. Why is it so difficult for society to accept and acknowledge the UNITED STATES is an occupying business of The Americas (check the constitution and treaties surrounding it)? I am not the inventory of a business entity and will not get caught in the midst of the adjective/verb name calling. North America still includes the land masses now known as Mexico, Haiti, the Dominic Republic and others along the way. My ancestors being conquered never changed who I truly am. Unfortunately, oppression and the social alms of this country has forced me/us to choose on paper to be a crayon and or chattel property in order to survive.

  • Donna August 17, 2018 - 11:42 am

    I’m plain ole Black folk. I’ve never understood the term African-American. Not ALL Blacks are from Africa. Answer this for me…..If a White person born in Africa comes over and becomes a citizen, wouldn’t they be considered African-American? I’ve asked this question for years and no one has been able to give me a good answer.

  • Lyndia Black August 17, 2018 - 1:41 pm

    To each his own, but I am African-American. My ancestors, were from Africa, and if they had not been stolen from Africa, I would be called, African. I go with American, because I was born in this country. Simple, but as I said before, to each his own. If someone wants to be called, colored, Negro, Afro, Black, Hebrews, etc. that is OK with me. However, I read the first post and they referred to the Bible. I feel like the Christian religion, was forced on us during slavery, and it was done so to degrade us and to give us a false hope after life. Doesn’t that book tell the slave to honor their master and it tells the master how to treat their slave? Doesn’t it teach, that dark skin in a curse? Did Moses, or those other bible characters, save us from slavery or LYNCHING? Did the bible charge the hearts of the HEATHENS, that was putting the rope around our necks, did Jacob, Isaac, or any of those other people intervene, when young females, were being raped, by THE WHITE MAN and being forced to bear his half breed offspring?

    “When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the bible.”

    Jomo Kenyatta

    • R Williams August 17, 2018 - 2:49 pm

      The Bible actually does Not teach that Blacks were cursed. It teaches that an extinct ethnic group was cursed because they practiced things like child sacrifice and child prostitution. Churches have taught, some still teach, that Blacks are cursed to give them an excuse to enslave, mistreat, and murder Black people. One of the first Christians in the Bible was an Ethiopian official, which is one of many things Christendom chooses to ignore. The Bible teaches that God is not partial and that we all come from a common ancestor. The Israelites were to welcome foreigners, and accepted proselytes (converts from other nations and races) as fellow Israelites, regardless of skin color. The Bible also doesn’t teach that we are living just to die nor that there is an immortal soul; that teaching has been pushed for many reasons, but with enslaved people it was used to give them some reason to go on each. If you choose not to believe the Bible, please do so for what it says, not for what people say it says.

  • Gary Garner August 17, 2018 - 6:32 pm

    My grandmother was Cherokee, my great-great grandmother was Cherokee, how in the fuck did I become African without my consent!!!

  • Martha Alexander Paskins August 20, 2018 - 2:14 pm

    I am an American Indigenous woman of African descent, which is my preference or a “Colored” woman. Either reference is okay with me.

  • Darius Davis October 5, 2018 - 2:08 pm

    Afro-American is the appropriate term. African-American is same as saying European-American & Asian-American. The meaning of these terms, different groups of people from those continents that are now American or at least their children born here would refer to these terms. We Afro-Americans fit in the category of African-American but that is not solely who we are. There are Nigerian-Americans, Congolese-Americans, Moroccan-Americans, etc. Then we have African-Caribbean people and Afro-Latino people who are Afro-Cubans, Afro-PuertoRicans, etc. Remember Afro-Americans are of predominately of African ethnic groups and European. Embrace both nd be happy to be here in America.

  • […] presiden Amerika yang ke 16. Lincoln jadi salah satunya figur yang sangat berjasa, terpenting buat Afro-Amrican yang sudah sempat rasakan perbudakan serta diksriminasi sebab warna kulit. Meskipun waktu pimpin, […]

  • Ibraim Sued February 14, 2019 - 7:10 pm

    There must be a match between the word and what it describes. In latin countries it’s very common Ítalo-American, Nipo-Brasilian, Teuto-Argentinian….. An American black folk is an American, not an African. A Nipo-Brasilian is not a Japanese. Indeed calling some Brazilian an African, or a Japanese, is very innapropiate. So it is in a report refering to some part of the population. Informally will call each other a Japanese, an Italian, a Jew, a Black, and it will be OK. The point will be the intention. So I really think ‘African-American’ is much less appropiate than ‘Afro=American’. The point is Africa, no doubts. We have all sort of skin collors and the darker the more admired that skin is, until it comes to the ‘Afro’ hair. So the question is Africa, indeed, and it shall be adressed in the wording. On the other hand, in oersonal relations and conversations , the word ‘black’ perfectly says what one means: An Afro-folk. So we have great Afro dance, Afro Ballet, Afro Fashion, Afro etc in Brasil and those are not African stuff. So I think if you looj after African-American in search of some ethnical meaning that’s futile, it’s not the case and it’s not how you are seen, and you are partially renouncing to your USA-ness. Come on, America is Black, at least it’s no longer white.

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