are black people in england called african-americans too?

Student Caught In Racial Controversy:

OMAHA, Neb. -- Four Westside High School students are suspended for promoting a white student for an African-American award. Flyers featured junior Trevor Richards, a South African native who moved to the United States in 1997.

Trevor said he is as African as anyone else.

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43 Responses:

  1. thealien says:

    ...are no doubt the same people who would have objected to an Egyptian or Libyan winning the award.

    When they say 'African' they mean 'black', which strikes me as rather foolish considering the variety the continent has to offer.

  2. lars_larsen says:

    Once I was suspended from HS for putting up flyers as part of my re-election campaign for the position of "God".

    "Read my lips, no new floods!" I thought it was rathar clever, but they disagreed.

    • jdredd5150 says:

      goes to school with the kid. yeah, it's a bunch of high schoolers, for the most part, fucking around. but at the same time, the kid imigrated here from south africa when he was younger. if you're gonna flip shit cuz he isn't black, the award should be for black students, not african-americans.

    • nichiyume says:

      i did it for position of dog catcher

  3. rickbooth says:

    In England the terminology is "afro-caribbean" or just "black".

  4. aka_pushkin says:

    Sorry, but both this story and the fact that it could happen are ridiculous :)

  5. elthar says:

    I'm an American citizen, born in what is now Namibia. But no doubt fur would fly if I were to go around calling myself "African-American."

    • kraig says:

      I was this || close to being born in Malawi - I'm tempted to call myself African-Canadian because of it. (I figure actually being conceived there and carried most of the way to term should count for something.)

      I haven't yet, but... so tempting.

    • rjhatl says:

      When my wife and I lived in Nigeria, a friend said we should start referring to ourselves as 'American-Africans'.

  6. lproven says:


    We just call them "black".

    It's a damn sight more honest. Euphemism has never solved any real problem and it never will.

    Mind you, black people aren't really black. They're various shades of brown. So in a way, "black" isn't honest either.

    But "black" vs. "white" is at least a simplification, while "african american" is a barefaced lie...

  7. loosechanj says:

    You know I can't tell for myself, it's all so confusing.

  8. bitpuddle says:

    I'm wondering exactly why there is an "African American" student award. Does this school also hold an award for every racial, ethnic, and cultural group? Certainly there is no Caucasian award granted.

    I'm deeply saddened that this kind of think happens in a school, a place where young people go for enlightenment, a place (one would think) run by educated people. That the school officials can't see this student's clever joke says a great deal about the quality of education provided there.

    • jwz says:

      These kids have now learned a valuable lesson: being a smartass is not considered meritous behavior for a compliant Citizen-Unit. Silent conformity is rewarded, and questioning (or worse, ridiculing) the masters is contraindicated.

  9. mcfnord says:

    it's not clear that's American.

    it is clear that he does not deserve disciplinary action, and should be proud of who he is: An African.

    I don't like it when pride only goes one way.

    I'm proud to be of European descent.

    Pride is no big deal and certainly no crime.

    • jwz says:

      And what aspect of "Europeanism" are you personally responsible for? There is no reason you should be "proud" of what people you have never met have done, nor of what plot of dirt your parents happened to find themselves on when they fucked.

      Being "proud" of accidents of genetics and location is bullshit.

      Nationalism and other such "pride" are the second biggest evil that human societies face (the biggest being closely related: religion.)

      • harryh says:

        the biggest being closely related: religion.

        You might enjoy reading this.

      • mcfnord says:

        I am proud of who I am, who my ancestors were, and my cultural history. Nationalism is not patriotism or pride, but an abuse of it by timeless tyranny. I am proud to be of German descent, from my great aunt's German words to my Germanic looks. About the only downside was the Leiderhosen. My grandfather came from the Midwest to build battleships on the West coast, and was ultimately killed by asbestos. During the war, my mother was cautioned not to reveal our heritage, as we saw what they did to the Japanese Americans. Wasn't that your nationalism killing my pride? It's ok to be proud and it doesn't imply responsibility. I'm in a gay neighborhood now. Are gay people to suspend their pride as sexuality is an accident of birth?

        • jwz says:

          Being proud of things you had nothing to do with is just a way to make yourself feel superior to others. No more and no less.

          Being proud of whatever patch of dirt your great-grandparents came from is exactly the same as nationalism: it is without basis in objective reality. It is a "granfaloon".

          Let's assume for the sake of argument that my ancestors and your ancestors have not shared genetic material or locality for 10K years: on what basis should you be "proud" of something that happened hundreds of years ago, somewhere neither of us have ever been, and I should not? Should I be "proud" of my, let's say, Chinese ancestry too? Despite my not being Chinese?

          As I was not yet born during WW2, I'm not taking the fall for it. Which is, in fact, a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

          Wow, dude, you got a Godwin in 2. Nice.

          • mcfnord says:

            I came to be proud when faced with black pride. Is there something valuable and universal to their thinking? At one time I was a huge fan of Malcolm X.

            I don't feel superior to anyone. There is no part of my pride that is about putting anyone else down. Having pride in myself and comfort in my family's history has brought me away from white liberal guilt, and closer to people who are not like me. We all have reason to appreciate our history. Alienation is the result of violating the basic human need for cultural context and consciousness. Welcome to the modern era, brought to you by alienation and its exploitation through consumerism.

            Nationalism is racism, and is not patriotism or pride. No offense, but it does not strike me as intelligent or aware on your part to equate these things. I also have a collection of nationalist propaganda, and it strikes me as remarkably different than sincere expressions of cultural pride. It's an obvious manipulation of patriotic feelings, for one thing.

            I figured this would be a quick Godwin.

            • jck says:

              If you can feel pride in your ancestry or heritage, etc, it must be possible, conversely, to feel shame in one's heritage, yes? I happen to be Danish, Norwegian, English, and German. Genetically, that basically makes me The White Oppressor(TM). Yes, from Nazis to Vikings, to British imperialists, "my people" have been raiding, killing, and raping for centuries! But should I be ashamed? How about you? You're German - are you ashamed of what the Visigoths or the Nazis did? I would hope not, since you can have no more effect on what your ancestors did than I could have on mine.

              So which is it? Do we renounce pride and shame in our genetic or cultural heritage, or do we keep them both? You can't have just pride, cherry-picking out the parts that make you feel good.

              Myself? Fuck that kind of pride and shame. Martin Luther King said he had a dream that his kids would grow up in a world "where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." In essence, he is saying that who we are is not our genetic configuration, or the history attached to it - we are the sum of how we live and have lived our lives. To wit: as individuals, we are what we do and what we have done. To place any importance on anything else is both foolish and dangerous.

              (Some day I will learn to say this stuff in half the space, and a fourth as amusingly as Jamie. ;-P)

              • mcfnord says:

                I don't associate Nazis with my culture, except to say Nationalism is a spectre of manipulated patriotism and poverty. The Germans people were proud, strong, and oppressed by the victors of WWI. They were ripe for the rise of nationalism.

                King derived most of his power from his awareness of cultural heritage and pride. Did you notice that he quited "a Negro spiritual"? That's cultural context. And that's what I'm talking about. That man was steeped in his cultural context, and it's where he derived his incredible power. If King serves your monocultural ideal, I don't see how.

                I don't think human beings can exist outside a cultural context, and if it's possible, I don't think it is desirable. I'm not talking about judgement, but you seem to need to. The truth is that everyone is raised in a cultural context, that cultures communicate the substance of values, and that this is a very good, even essential part of being human.

                You guys are obsessed with judgement and make me think I've struck a white guilt nerve. Even if culture (alongside faith) has contributed destruction in history, it has also contributed greatness, and in any case, is an irrevokable component of being human.

                (Being right still trumps being brief!)

                • jck says:

                  I didn't think that King himself at all embodied what I was trying to express - he just stated a particular idea in a way that I found apt. Sorry if I accidentally implied more.

                  Also, I didn't say anything about existing outside of a cultural context, merely that one cannot take credit for a culture one did not participate in. No causal effect == no reason for pride.

                  Finally, I don't think I'm at all obsessed by judgement. In fact, it is in having pride or shame that one judges - one is only proud of things one deems positive. We must make a judgement in order to discern what is positive and what is not, thus in this case, the judgement lies entirely with those who have pride.

                  If pride in culture has had any positive effect, it is only the effect of reinforcing the individual's self esteem and sense of purpose, but what we lose in the process is worth far more, that a person's actions are what are important, rather than the random circumstance of their heritage. Why can't we be content in being proud of who we are on our own? If anything, that is "white guilt" - needing to supplant one's own sense of self-worth by standing on the shoulders of giants, in this case, one's ancestors, because we are ashamed of our current hollow, worthless, MTV pseudo-culture.

                  • mcfnord says:

                    Why do these discussions keep dissolving into heady (and strangely paranoid) theoreticals about what's supposidly lost when we take the oh-so-controversial step of acknowleding that culture exists? The answer is: Because culture always exists. It is a constant. And like rain, the stars, and earthworms, you may as well (a) acknowledge, and (b) embrace it. Living with the facts is always empowering. King... (you bought the farm by dropping that name)... doesn't he embody the very notion of empowerment through cultural awareness? And we're supposed to think we lose something when we say "I'm a Black man" or "I'm a Jew"? Utter pap. It's a new twist on the old saying: If you believe in nothing, you'll fall for anything. Culture informs. Culture empowers. Culture is a constant influence, the mental village raising the child. What's not glorious about the shoulders of giants? How did you get it so twisted around?

                  • enn says:

                    culture informs the traditions &rituals that a people live by. those acts inspire & guide a people to wards their evolution. as we have come to know more of each other throughout history, cultures have influenced & destroyed &mutated; as individuals do to each other. a culture is an organic entity. in early humans tribes, the culture was the governing body, dictating the way of life, the relationships, the responsibilities & the interaction. people moved about, creating different cultures as they clashed or married or ate eachother. i find that beautiful, & a way to understand what our world was like at that time.

                    i would find the world a bit boring if we were all the same. &if there are no people in the world keeping their cultures alive, we would be. i imagine everyone would be extremely individualistic &selfish. one can see the changes in cultures now, though the spread of information, & coca-cola.
                    i find most all cultures interesting, although i dont agree with what everyone believes in, but i have my own mind to discern these things, & so does everyone else.

            • pharminatrix says:

              I think I understand what you're saying. I don't feel that my Swiss-German or Scottish ancestry places me above or below anyone but I definitely feel connections to things like that indirect blue-green twilight sky. (For reference, check out Matthias Grunewald or any of the Northern Renaissance German masters or Max Ernst even). Like, I find it in my own artwork and I don't happen to live in Peenemunde or Hanover or Cologne but it just comes through. It's more like ancestral memories coming through my hands towards positive effect. It's like when I get shivers over medieval German woodcuts.

              it's not like I feel that I have any provenance over whatever piece of the black Forest my great great great grandfather farmed, it's more like I can feel his blood singing in my elbows and I'm happy to pass the message along in paint.

              • jwz says:

                I can feel his blood singing in my elbows

                So your cultural pride is more like an <lj user=otakukin> thing, then?

                • pharminatrix says:

                  Perhaps but I went there and I really can't relate to the specifics.

                  So no, my cultural pride is about being a composite of little bits of places that my ancestors saw and lived in and brought with them towards me.

              • mcfnord says:

                your reply reminds me of Karl Jung. Don't the universal human archypes manifest through cultural specifics? Devoid of cultural context, is it reasonable to question their ability to manifest at all? Without our cultural palette, what can we paint?

          • baconmonkey says:

            d000d! My O-town Raiders are gonna Kick the shit out of your pussy SF Giants.

  10. korto_lilith says:

    Probably by "African" they meant black...

    What do they imply by "American"???

  11. jotunheim says:

    I am proud of who I am: a computer geek.
    I am indifferent to what I am: mixture of nationality and races.

  12. sillyskitz says:

    ok, well personally I think that's a bit of bullshit that they would suspend him. Because after all it's an African American award and he is from Africa. I think that this schools administration took " lets not piss off any black people" stance. And in this day and age schools, especially high schools and Jr.highs should over look race and promote equality among all skin colors. I myself am mixed and it wouldn't in the least threaten or anger me that he was running for whatever it was he was running for.