5.16.2012

Asian-American.

Asian-American.

A term that I have grown to hate immensely.

It never bothered me that these two words were an identifying factor in describing one like me until a comedian pointed out the fact that if you are born and raised in this country, you are an American.

This got me thinking about why do we get put into such a category? Why do we have to clarify our ethnicity on paper if we can verify our rights as citizens? Why has nobody questioned it?

We are interestingly in a contradiction of times as we have the means to call out those that seek, intend, and do discriminate against others. However, this type of obscurity (if you will) is ingrained into our minds as a continent of many countries and cultures is belittled because of the process of being comfortable and united as a nation through the labeling of anything different from the 'majority'.

Its interesting to note that even if the so-called "minorites" are the majority, we are not referred as such.

This applies beyond Asian-American but why are we still stuck in this mentality as people? Or are we just creatures that can't move beyond an injust status quo?


Christopher Chrispy AKA Kon
@OfficialKon
Personal Blog

31 comments:

  1. I completely agree, i mean i'm not from america, but the casual classification from there always kind of threw me off. I just don't understand. I hope this will fade with time.

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  2. When people ask me if I'm African American, I say no. I'm Black. That's how I identify myself. I have never been anywhere near Africa, nor have my recent ancestors; so the term doesn't apply.

    @Oriane: As long as white folks running shit, ain't gonna happen.

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    1. I swing back and forth between African American and Black, but like Amaya I refer to myself as Black most of the time.I've had quite a few African people flat out tell me, "You're not African!" So I'll stick with Black.

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    2. I agree with both Nicole and Amaya. I prefer to id myself as Black because I've been told more than once (by ppl of all races) that I shouldn't call myself African American because I've never been to Africa and therefore am not truly African. *shrug* I'm cool with being called Black.

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    3. I also self identify as Black. I don't mind African American though.

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  3. I agree. It seems like were the only country that has to identify people that way. Black people in France are just called French. But I was born and raised in America, so why am I not just American? Our country shouldn't separate the people like this.

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    1. Amerikkka won't let us Forget we're Black. And I hate to sound like some radical Black militant, but lately I'm not too proud to call myself an American.Especially since Travon's murder and the countless other murders of POC in this country.

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    2. Black people in France are just called French.

      Are you serious? France has different terms for referring to people born in France, there are the "real French" and the French-born with immigrant parents. This was something that was taught to me in French class before even setting foot in France so I already knew of the exclusion before witnessing it.

      Just like the USA, France (and Europe at large to be honest), won't let anyone forget that they are Black.

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    3. I agree, here they say "français d'origine [insert a country]". But I don't know if it is overused here, I rarely read French press, shame on me, and I kinda stopped watching TV. All I know is that the fear/hatred of the immigrant and the Muslim is growing here.
      It's so handy for Americans to put Black/Asian/Arab/Hispanic and American together, it's a short expression so perhaps they use it more often than Europeans, don't know. It reminds me the salad bowl versus melting pot thing.
      I find it ironic that caucasian would be the default for American labeling as the USA have always been a land of immigration.

      However the "real French" thing is less and less used IMO, from what I heard. Are you referring to "français de souche"? If so, some people say it means nothing or so as many white French have mixed ancestors (or even grand-parents sometimes) because of wars and immigration (from Europe). I'd like to know what you were taught, I'm curious :)

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    4. @Anonymous: Name, please. Thanks!

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    5. @ Myra you're right. I was taught "français d'origine [insert a country]" and "français de souche". That those who use the former are mostly immigrants from Easter Europe, the Maghreb and the rest of Africa, the Caribbeans. My white French teacher described herself as "français de souche". During the short time I spent in France, all the Black French were identified by their countries of origin even if they had never been there before. I recall a lady I worked with also identifying with her country of origin, her grandparents were Spanish. I did hear people use the "français de souche" term, including my host family.

      The far right is growing in France, and throughout Europe tbh, you may find this article interesting (in a sad way too). And speaking of Black people in France, this is also mildly distressing.

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    6. Thanks for sharing your experience in France and for the link. I haven't heard the expression "français de souche" in a couple of years, might be because I live in a multi-cultural area and don't hang-out that much with white people. I do think that many white French think it but don't often say it, it just seems a bit weird to me that someone would introduce themselves to me like that or mention it in a conversation. Usually white French people say they're from X or Y area here and that's all (when they speak to me and other co-workers when I'm around at least). But your experience is sort of eye-opening to me.

      As for the link, I followed the presidential elections and I agree with you on the far right, they managed to gather 17% of votes on the 1st round, crazy, but I kinda have hope now, the left has won.

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    7. I think one of the main things I regret about my brief sojourn in France was not hanging out with French people that were not white. I did not get a chance to see the multi-cultural area except when I went with my hostess to African dance classes. I had a few friends who got to stay with host families that were not white though (and it was fun spending Christmas with them and their North African hostess but that was it). Like all the French people I knew were white and my "international" friends were people of colour...

      You're right it is weird. Like even when our teacher mentioned it in class, I thought it was strange. And I spoke about it to a Congolese friend of mine who complained that our teacher must be racist. Lol, I hope my experience is not the norm.

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    8. Just to clarify, I was in Montpellier.

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    9. Nice city :) Never been there though, I'm near Paris. Yeah, lol it also crossed my mind that your teacher might be racist, I don't think it is the norm but it sure happens! Probably because in the south (and other areas) some people can be a bit nationalist (or love the culture of their specific area) or just don't live with lots of POC around.

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    10. Yeah, it's a pretty city and you're on point with loving the culture of their specific area. Lol, the teacher wasn't really kind towards Muslim women that wore the hijab as well.

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    11. Bad sign, yeah.
      Just to be clear, I didn't mean they're nationalist, I was looking for the right word, pride and attachment to their culture, yes.
      Sorry for flooding mods!

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  4. I agree that the "hyphenated American" term usage is peculiar. However, I not sure of the credibility of wikipedia but terms like African-American and Asian-American are allegedly terms created by the specific groups of people as alternative to white created terms (ergo "Negro"->"African American" and "Oriental"->"Asian American"). If that is true then I can understanding the reasoning for the new terms but I can't see the purpose in this day and age. Even a person who is foreign born and lives in the US long enough to become a citizen has to give up allegiance to their home country so that they have a nationality of just American. But I really like the term Black and I prefer that one, African American is a mouthful.

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  5. I completely agree. I've always hated things like standardized testing where they ask you what your race is. Why the hell does it matter?! Even when I was little I always saw that as a way to make statistics as if it fucking mattered.

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  6. Agreed,

    Though it have never mattered if people called me African-American, Afro-American or Black American, I just think some of these racial classifications are ambiguous and divisive. In most states, a person who have a trace of Black blood is classified as a "black" person no matter what. You can be a brown skinned "White" person. As long as there are no traces of Black in your bloodline you can be that or whatever race you want to be.

    Out of all of the countries in the world, The U.S. has some of the most definitive racial classifications in the world. It never makes sense of how it fits on people. Far as they go, it's just another way for White society to be empowered,while at the time, demolishing indigenous people and other minorities( also will agree with you about the " minority" classification. I've never got why we're such when there are more of them in this world than White people. So crazy.

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  7. I disagree, and personally I feel there are more important things to complain about.

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    1. personally I feel there are more important things to complain about.

      Such as...?

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    2. *sniffs*

      I smell troll.

      Get 'em, Ankh. I, too, would like some elaboration. Because in the words of the great James Brown, "don't start nothin'...won't be nothin'."

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  8. I have a feeling Ankh is gonna have to check somebody....

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    1. I love seeing Ankh put people in check *grabs popcorn*

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  9. I am African American/Black. I don't mind acknowledging ethnicity. There's too much self-hate in the black community and unfortunately we have not progressed enough as a race to fully integrate to the point where we just call ourselves 'American'. That to me is like begging for acceptance by eliminating the ethnic catergory all together. Black people haven't fully acceptance themselves yet so how the hell can we call ourselves american only?

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    1. Black people haven't fully acceptance themselves yet so how the hell can we call ourselves american only?

      I'm a Black American born and raised in New York. I know a lot of black folks who give two shits about integrating themselves into this racist country. As much as I'm proud of who I am, and where I come from, this country ain't shit. Ain't no flag waving in My home. Never have been and never will be. Malcolm X said this country has been a nightmare for black folks, and he wasn't lying. It Still is. Just as Trayvon's Parents.

      I get so sick and tired of these sweeping generalizations about American Black people. We may not be perfect, but there has been some progress made.

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    2. @ Anonymous

      Welcome; please use a name or initial. Especially since you just said something I've been waiting for someone to say (you too, Nicole).

      Let me put it like this: I too was born and, for the most part, raised in America. The first thing my father taught me was that I am not an American, and did not raise me thusly. I have since learned precisely what he meant; in America, some people are considered more American than others, and the more "American" they are, the more perks and privileges they get.

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    3. You ain't never lied Ankh. I feel like leaving the Planet sometimes. Reading the posts you write on Race/Racism in this country at the Bar and other blogs I frequent, I'm just too through sometimes. People accuse me of being too radical lol! I can't help it sometimes! I've been gettin' my Black-Panther-On for the past few months. I need a damn drink!

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    4. @Nicole

      *fist bump* As far as I'm concerned, my Blackness gives me superpowers. It's good you're getting your Black-Panther-On because it means you haven't bought into that assimilation crap. We're good enough to rape, kill, earn them billions in sports merchandizing, and run off with an assortment of gold medals, but in their eyes we're not fully realized human beings. Screw them.

      On a happy note, my "white" colleagues are down from 50 to 39. It's getting serious. Three more are already on their way to the gallows. *glee*

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  10. @Kon
    This got me thinking about why do we get put into such a category?

    Because without these categories, half of the bureaucrats would lose their jobs.

    Why do we have to clarify our ethnicity on paper if we can verify our rights as citizens?

    For the same reason Americans are not required to carry I.D. yet legal non-American residents are. In that case, if an "illegal" chooses not to carry I.D. in the land of his ancestors, then he's actually an American. Right? Logic.

    Why has nobody questioned it?

    People question it every single day. The real question is: Why isn't anyone listening?

    As for me personally, I'm African-American and I don't ever need to step foot on the Mother continent to claim it as a part of me. The God of DNA took care of that and then some. Being an American is a convenient passport. That's all. There's nothing else to it. Whatever you do, don't tell them Hateya is perfectly content with their pointless labels because it means I'll never be mistaken for one of them. As far as I'm concerned, this is a good thing.

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