The Gray Wizard wrote: > Although the term originally had political connotations (as did the > original shift from Negro or Colored to Black), neither Black nor > African-American carry much of those connotations any longer. > Certainly not among African-Americans and diminishingly so among other > Americans. Oh, there was a shift from Negro to Black? From a linguistic perspective that's very interesting because it strikes a sharp contrast with the Australian situation. Over here excessive use of 'black' would be viewed as trivialising the cultural and historical identity of the Aboriginal people (as though it were merely a matter of colour); speaking of the race by its proper and original name is the way to uphold that identity (on the other hand, whites are just whites.) The people whose ancestors were the most abused are in general the people most proud of their heritage. For this reason I would expect the cultural identity of black Americans to be a strong one. As often as not this leads to a preference for the oldest and most established title. Speaking of race and language, how about the way in which 'racist' is adopted to different cultural situations? I understand that in America the term is meant in the literal sense of someone who considers one race superior to another. In Australia it's not as useful to have a word for that attitude, so we usually adopt the term 'racism' to mean what you might call 'culturalism' or something -- the belief that it is harmful to compromise (ahem) the established (ahem) white community with too many people of other cultures. One problem is that when people are rightly accused of racism, they will claim innocence by ducking behind the American definition, although they know perfectly well what 'racist' means over here. > BTW, exactly what is an "actual black American"? I'll answer this only because it is language related, having to do with the way in which languages provide words (like "actual") that are basically used for emphasis. In this case, the term "actual black American" emphasises the difference between "black American" and, say, "some presumptious media or political figure pretending to speak on behalf of black Americans". -- web. | Here and there I like to preserve a few islands of sanity netyp.com/ | within the vast sea of absurdity which is my mind. member/ | After all, you can't survive as an eight foot tall dragon | flesh eating dragon if you've got no concept of reality.