Log in

No account? Create an account
21 September 2005 @ 02:47 am
cclxxiv (stay the course)  

Sorry. Temporary moment of needless angst. There are just some things that really get to me - another vile issue being that bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream last night that just would. not. open. But I digress. (The amaretto was better.)

By the way times like these make it okay to form run-on sentences in all caps and I'm gonna use that to the full extent of this self-declared law YEAGH!

And now for some Serious Business.

agentelrond asks in a livejournal comment: just to be sure - does the term "black," as opposed to "African-American," offend you?

I think I'll elaborate on my original nonchalant answer.


I still don't care. Maybe it's due to the fact that I'm still fairly young and ignorant to a degree - but it actually would bother me more if someone said 'African-American' instead of the alternative. I think it's because people are so damn concerned with trying to be politically correct these days they'll trip over their own asses to do it.

Besides, Kanye West said our current President doesn't care about "black people" so it must be cool. (Like I actually care about Kanye either. I mean, I've listened to a song or two and wasn't particularly impressed nor turned off by him.)

It all comes down to this: I'm more inclined to care about the connotation(s) of the word than anything else. If a reference to my race is obviously being used in a derogatory manner, then of course I'm inclined to get irritated and want to make some noise about it. I'm kinda iffy on the word 'Negro' because of how it was used before in history - and of course, the other word that starts with that letter is completely out of the question most of the time. (Shut up. I know I've quoted DMX and exclaimed 'bitch ass nigga!' at some point or another, but I'm better about it now.)

African-American. psh. There's really nothing African about me. Yes, my skin is dark. And apparently both my biological parents had/have dark skin, too. But that simple fact would never cause me to ever ask to 'go home to Africa' or any such nonsense. First off, it's not my 'home'; I live in California. Second, I'd be fucking screwed with a more corrupt government than most people care to know about.

I am a human being before anything else, but if you simply must go round slapping labels as much as you bloody well please... I am an American. With one hell of a vocabulary and an esoteric state of mind.

But you can't just limit it to one race. This opens up a whole new spectrum. For example, I wonder if white folks would cause an uproar if someone wanted to open a Caucasian restaurant. (Probably. What the hell would they have there, anyway? I keep silent about my assumptions for fear of being burned at the Internet stakes.)

The point is that I think political correctness is essentially futile. At some moment or another, you're going to offend someone, and do it hard. There's no surefire way of avoiding this, because everyone is different and raised with certain beliefs and comforts. It's an interesting common courtesy, yes, but I just happen to be one of those blunt motherfuckers who prefers to tell things like they are (or as well as I see them with an attempted objective eye).

I'm not un-nice. I'm just not programmed for bullshit to operate this way.
iTunes: weezer / we are all on drugs
C.R. Baumancbauman on September 21st, 2005 11:38 am (UTC)
I like Kanye. He's a great attempt to try to bring soul-conscious rap into the mainstream.

But Kanye has NOTHING on other soul-conscious rappers like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Common. Have you ever heard Common's album, "Be" ?

It doesnt matter how politically correct you are, being derrogatory towards race defies language. So I would go with connotations as well like you say.

A white people restaurant hmm? I think it would involve lots of pastrami.
Brandy: congestionbrandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:41 pm (UTC)

I've heard good things about Mos Def, but haven't gotten around to listening yet. I've only gone as far as The Pharcyde, but I liked him a lot - or maybe it was that one song, "Runnin'", that was a smooth mix of hip-hop (but not to an annoying degree) and jazz... something that could be played in a cafe perhaps.
Matika Kate Bender: just halfmatika on September 21st, 2005 11:45 am (UTC)
I don't take offense to stuff like that. Life is too short. For example, I am white and American Indian (I'm not comfortable with the term Native American, because isn't everyone who was ever born here that? Semantics. I know what they're really trying to say, but still.)

But taking offense to the Washington Redskins...


Who gives a flying fuck? Obviously somebody does, as there is a newspaper (I forget which one) will be calling it "the Washington team" until they change their name. Well, they'll be calling it "the Washington team" for quite a while, in my estimation.

As for the term "Negro" ...

Well, it is true that it means "black" in Spanish, aye. But that designation is also tied to an era where blacks were considered lesser than whites, when segregation was rampant, and sundry other negative aspects were in play. For the connotations that the word serves up, it is best left behind. (My mother showed me my deceased grandfather's discharge papers from the end of WWII. There were only two choices of racial affiliation on it: White and Negro. Things have changed in more ways than one!)

I also find the term African-American bothersome, because there are a few whites who hail from Africa here - what do they call themselves? Well, African-American seems reasonable. Unless...and here we come again to the Native American designation - you are referring to a genetic "right" to be somewhere.

Bleh. I haven't even scratched the surface.
Brandy: restrictionbrandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)

Oh, I remember there being a huge uproar when I was in high school among local playing teams. I think Gardena had to change their team name from the Indians to the Panthers - which actually suits them a bit better. I could understand why people are likely to get offended at such a thing, but I think changing high school football just for the sake of political correctness is taking it a bit too far.
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 22nd, 2005 01:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
Gone!strong_survive on September 21st, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC)
I hate the fact that I get shit stuck in my shoe too & I only seem to notice it at places where it'd look funny if I took off my shoe and shook it trying to get something out of it. But then again I am just weird like that.

I like your musings, you're quite an interesting person.

I relate on the same subject cept, when someone asks me if I am "indian" I am inclined to yell at them and say no because being east indian and west indian is a HUGE difference! But of course, if you look it.. you must be it, right? *insert eye roll here*
pain_proof_vest on September 21st, 2005 02:19 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting problem. Here we only have one category of Indian, really, the Eastern kind and thus it makes the so called ethnic label fairly easy.

Although, it's kind of sad, we still have to fill out race on governmental forms and they just clump all Eastern people together under "Asian". That's rather rude. Although, it's rather rude to ask for race on governmental forms in the first place. But the more things change in South Africa, the more they stay the same.
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
pain_proof_vest on September 21st, 2005 02:14 pm (UTC)
You know what? I actually get annoyed by the term "African-American" because I'm more African than most "African-Americans" will be any day. There's usually very little "African" about black Americans. In fact, from what I can tell, most black Americans are a pretty big mix between black and white, America just doesn't have a word for it. In South Africa, we call people who are of mixed racial groups "coloured", but that's seen as derogatory in American circles, I hear. For us, it just clears up confusion.

Ultimately I know nobody's really "pure" anything at the end of the day because we most likely all came from one group from Africa.

I don't know what's derogatory about terms of colour. A black person isn't really black like this background I'm writing on, a white person is not the colour of a sheet of paper and I don't know what a coloured person is supposed to be - rainbowy? If there are associations with good and evil with those colours to this day then people are just silly.

A term people like to use here to refer to someone who's not white is "people of colour". I mean, what the fuck? I have a colour, damnit. I'm a very pale shade of pinkiness.

Anyway, that's just my rant. I get freaked out by the African-American term. That's all. I'm fairly upset by the fact that I can't be considered African because of the colour of my skin, that the term African is reserved to black people whether they know a shit about Africa. It's just one of those things about this country. So what am I? A European-South African? Just doesn't quite roll of the tongue, does it? Which of my backgrounds should I pick? British, Welsh, Spanish, Dutch, French, Irish, German, Indian?

Brandy: tolerationbrandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I'd be pretty ticked off if someone called me 'coloured'. But that's more of a regional thing I suppose, as you said.

This is probably a shitty reference to make, but I'm reminded of a film called Mean Girls, back in the day when I was (sadly) obsessed with Lindsay Lohan. The main premise was that she'd been born and raised in Africa with her two scientist parents and came to the States.

Someone in a scene said, "if you're from Africa, then why are you white?"

Another character slapped him and shouted, "You just can't go asking people why they're white!"
Leila, Ninja Warrior Princess!leila82 on September 21st, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
r example, I wonder if white folks would cause an uproar if someone wanted to open a Caucasian restaurant. (Probably. What the hell would they have there, anyway?

My completely uneducated and not-based-on-anything guess would go with hamburgers and hotdogs. So basically, McDonald's then.

I agree with you about the PC-ing of society. I understand that there is some need to not be offensive when we speak, but I think we carry it too far. And it gets too confusing. I wonder what the interracial children go by? Like if I were to marry a White person, would my kids be Indian White Americans? *brain explodes from early morning thinking*
Buy it on DVD today!yermo on September 21st, 2005 06:57 pm (UTC)
I'd guess a Caucasian restaurant would be native Eurasian food from the area south of Russia. You know, people from the Caucasus Mountains. I often wonder why Caucasian came to mean "white", really.
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Maximmaximuza on September 21st, 2005 02:55 pm (UTC)
Your skin is about Pantone 466U dark.
smartguy323: A True American Soldier...My Herosmartguy323 on September 21st, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC)

Oh man I member having a debate on Communications class bout this subject. It was my kind of topic and I started it off by saying I'm a person that uses the word nigga. I waited for people to argue back as I saw many in my class did not approve of me saying such word but none would speak up. Some spoke up but I had my defense and convinced many people and such on me using the word. I pretty much won the debate and my teacher ended up telling me right when I spoke to her after class "ok see u next time in class my nigga." She was such a bad ass teacher btw. I got defense from others and somewhat concluded the word is acceptable according to "class."
Brandy: affirmationbrandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:22 pm (UTC)

You should tell me more about this debate.

When I talked about this in the Interracial community, it was obviously a sensitive subject to someone that I'd used the word, which I guess is understandable. I was just trying to say how certain people who don't all have to be black call each other that - hell, you do it all the time with people like Phil, Ervin, Chandler etc. - and it's more of a reference to a close friendship than anything derogatory.
(no subject) - smartguy323 on September 21st, 2005 10:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 21st, 2005 10:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Wolfidy: Smash it with a hammer!skeeve on September 21st, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC)
Being of mixed race, I hate anything that defines race at all...just stop it. What the hell am I supposed to say when they ask what race I am? There's usually a box for "White (not of Hispanic origin)"...can't check that and a box for "Hispanic (not of white origin)...can't check that. I just write "American" in the other box. I mean, bleh. I'm not complaining about your post or the question, just using it as a springboard to rant on my own...so maybe I should do that in my own Gerbil, huh?
Wolfidy: Baby Maacksskeeve on September 21st, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC)
On a more playful note...
...besides, we all know you're an Oreo anyway. ;)
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skeeve on September 22nd, 2005 05:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 22nd, 2005 05:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
Virgo: Etna smiles for youprincessvirgo on September 21st, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)
"The point is that I think political correctness is essentially futile. At some moment or another, you're going to offend someone, and do it hard. There's no surefire way of avoiding this, because everyone is different and raised with certain beliefs and comforts. It's an interesting common courtesy, yes, but I just happen to be one of those blunt motherfuckers who prefers to tell things like they are (or as well as I see them with an attempted objective eye)."

That sums up just about anything I can reply with.
A Poet and a Paladin: dropletspoetpaladin on September 21st, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
It'd be ridiculous if someone opened an Asian restaurant, because there is such variety amongst Asians. Same with trying to open a European restaurant.

Better yet, just like Thai and Japanese and Chinese restaurants, I don't see a problem with someone opening a (gasp!) French restaurant, or an Italian restaurant, or even a British one (I don't know who would go, though).

I agree about intention. Negro can be used by proper society. After all, what else would we call the United Negro College Fund?
dot dot dotagentelrond on September 21st, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, but organizations like the UNCF and the NAACP were founded back when those terms were the "correct" ones.
allowmetoletgo on September 21st, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC)
Last semester some girl complained to the principle that my dad used derogatory racial terms in class, and it was because he called her african-american. She went crazy saying she was black and that he was insulting her. Or so he said. Either way, she and her mother both said Black was the term. I think that's sorta dumb to say black/white/red/yellow because having looked at the colors on my palette I've never seen a person that looked any of those colors.
allowmetoletgo on September 21st, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
to the principal, even.
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - allowmetoletgo on September 22nd, 2005 03:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
leslienshgrl on September 21st, 2005 05:55 pm (UTC)
I'm putting my same answer here, cause I like this discussion...
I don't really have a preference, but I'm older and am more used to the term "Black," since it's been the one used most of my life.

I also find African-American a bit off, since we have a lot of different nationalities in my family. We aren't just from Africa.

Also, you can be White and be African-American, if you were a native of Africa and then resettled in our country, so it's confusing, isn't it?
Brandy: embarkationbrandelyn on September 21st, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC)

hmm. Actually, I wonder if it has anything to do with generation. My mother's fairly old school and I was raised under her wing, so that would make sense.

I'm amused though. My mother and I have never talked about this issue until after I posted it in my livejournal, and we have a mutual agreement on how we feel.

I think that most people in America are mixed to a degree. I'm just saying it based on my experience with folks, though.
Buy it on DVD today!yermo on September 21st, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC)
Whitey that I am, I don't even know how qualified I am to comment, but "black" just seems easier, and doesn't smack of any racism as long as the speaker doesn't load it. It's easy to be offensive with tone rather than content, but then you could make "African-American" sound racist too.

"Black" also avoids hilarious gaffes like when people from America try to be correct and end up calling black Africans or black Brits "African-American", and being so wrong.
Brandybrandelyn on September 21st, 2005 08:54 pm (UTC)

I don't think it matters your origin, really - everyone comes across this in some context or another. So I think you're more than entitled to have your say.
dot dot dotagentelrond on September 21st, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
The Caucasian restaurant: Everything Mayo!

I just wanted to be sure. I generally use the term "black," but I know some people will be offended by it - granted, they're usually white people, but a lot of my parents' black friends prefer the PC term, so I hear both.

...and I thought you didn't like Bailey's?
Brandy: resignationbrandelyn on September 21st, 2005 08:52 pm (UTC)

Well, my mother was having some. And it's been a good two years or so since I'd tried it last, so I figured it wouldn't hurt.

By the way, I also linked to this entry in
interracial, if you'd care to have a look.
dot dot dotagentelrond on September 21st, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)
And I realize I'm entering dangerous territory when I talk about any group as moving as one and I generally don't, but as far as voting trends go, black people vote 90% for Dems. So that's why I said what I said.
dot dot dot: guiltagentelrond on September 21st, 2005 09:01 pm (UTC)
Keep digging that hole...
I should have said "self-identified black people."
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - agentelrond on September 21st, 2005 09:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brandelyn on September 21st, 2005 09:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)