Identification . . . More Than Meets the Eye

Originally posted in March 2015 on

“I have no idea what to call Black Americans, African Americans, Blacks, but I don’t want to be that racist white guy or offend anyone and have to defend my ass.” – A “white” guy from a diversity workshop in 2012.

How do you identify yourself other than human:
Do you prefer the term African American, Black, both, or neither?

This is something I’ve struggled with a majority of my life. I went in and out of stages where I cared and I did not care. Coming up I heard members of my family say I’m Black or she’s Black we in the Black community, so I just went along with Black. However, I by color was not and am not Black. Heck, my genetic makeup isn’t just “Black.” As I grew older, in films I heard African American. In books I read “we” were labeled African Americans. On forms and applications it said African Americans. In history classes (which are so watered down when in comes to “Black” history), we are taught we are from Africa. Okay, so I guess I’m African American. Wait, hold up. I’ve never been to Africa, nor has my mother, or her mother, or her mother, or hers. So, how am I African American? I went back to Black. Then I was Black American. Then I was other. Then I was confused, again. Then I was like fuck labels!

So I pose this question to all of you, what do you ID yourself as? Mexican, Hispanic, Latino/a, Black, Belizean, White, Caucasian, European. . . Have you ever felt confused like the guy in the opening quote when referencing someone? Please feel free to add to the conversation below.


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