Obviously, I understand why calling Native Americans “Indians” completely makes no sense, and is offensive. After all, Indians are from India, and you’d think maybe 500 years and a few genocides or so later that the white man would’ve realized this error. But nope, Columbus thought you were Indians, so to too many people, that’s what you still are – the few of you still remaining that is.
Now, I don’t mind calling black people African-American, or black, or whatever overwhelmingly is desired by this group of people. It’s just that in this hyper-politically correct world in which we live, I feel like we sometimes get the absurd notion that just by changing the name of a group of people, it improves their overall situation, so to speak.
Comedian Wanda Sykes actually mentions this in one her of acts, that once the term African-American came along into popularity, the quality of her life was not improved at all…not even in the least bit. In fact, according to Wikipedia, surveys show “…the majority of Black Americans have no preference for “African American” or “black,” although they have a slight preference for “black” in personal settings and “African American” in more formal settings..”
But the definition of what constitutes a personal setting, and a formal setting can be a bit unclear at times, in my opinion. If anything, I think what this could mean is that, if you’re not African-American, you’re probably better off playing it safe by just using the term African-American. But once again, what does this prove exactly? I mean, in a country where most African Americans don’t care if you call them black, what’s wrong with just using black most of the time, if not all the time?
I think the funniest thing to me about all this, is watching white people get all baffled, not always knowing which term to use. I love that occasional hesitation in the voice, when a white person has to make it known for whatever reason someone is black. “Yes, I saw Bob in line. He was standing right behind that bla–, err I mean African-American man.” As if you’re going to offend people by saying black, even though it’s a term overwhelmingly no one takes any issue with.