Thursday, July 2, 2009
July 2 - Race, Color & Ethnicity
I've been dying to write this one for while! Race, Color and Ethnicity.
I grew up 'White.' I knew people who were 'Black' (I also knew Indians, Chinese, etc., but I'll get to them later). I learned that this was my Race; a classification of humans and there were five: Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, Capoid and Australoid [you can read about it on Wikipedia]. These five classifications equated to White, Black, Asian, Indian (from India) and Aborigine. This served me through school.
One day, the Blacks became African-American. I stayed White. Now as far as I see it, African-American ancestors came from Africa. OK, I'll play along. My ancestors came from Europe. I guess I'm European-American. I started hearing terms like Asian-American, Native American, Arab-America, but somehow, European-American never seemed to materialize. Somehow, when it came to filling out forms or documents, I remained either White or somehow became Caucasian.
Caucasian? What the hell is Caucasian? Caucasian is a grouping of peoples from the Caucasus Region. Where the hell is that? Oh, the areas of Southern Russia, Armenia, Turkey. But my ancestors are from Eastern Europe (German, Hungary, Ukraine). How am I Caucasian? I began to realize that Race must be the Scientific terms.
Well, if Blacks are no longer Negroes or Negroids, and Asians are by no means ever called Mongoloids, why do I have to put up with being slandered as a Caucasian? The Classification Term! Blacks detested Negro (a form of Negroid) and had now gone PC with African-American, and I'm now a Caucasian? I was better off staying White... but I refuse to be the only 'color'. If Blacks are now African-American and you never use Yellow for Asian or Red for Native American or Brown for Indian (all of these terms considered slanderous), then I am no longer a color either.
So I started to think about it and realized that newer immigrants, use their home country as their Ethnicity, not their Race (nobody uses Race). Iraqi, Indian, Japanese, Brazilian, etc. OK, I was born here. I must therefore be American.
But wait. If Whites are American and Blacks are now adopting African-American... I must therefore be European-American. ESPECIALLY since my ancestors came over to the US only about 60 years before my birth! Most African-Americans use this term because their ancestors were kidnapped from Africa by Slave Traders... well over 100 years ago. Some date back over 300 years ago.
Hence, if my ancestors have been here a MUCH shorter period of time, I should therefore be able to safely claim my Ethnicity as European-American.
Please join me and reject the terms, White and Caucasian (unless of course you are neither). Start filling out forms as 'Other Ethnicity' and hand-write in our correct ethnicity grouping, 'European-American.'
[Footnote: During the Baby Bush Administration, I dropped the -American out of embarrassment and lack of pride. Hopefully Obama will convince me to start using it again.]