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erin-x | 23:20 Thu 15th Nov 2012 | Society & Culture
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This could be a silly question but...

In an essay about ethics, is it better to write Black or African American?

See I think Black is fine but when it's written down it doesn't look right.

Sorry if i'm being totally stupid......


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I think these days it's 'African-American'.
Well I guess it rather depends if you're a black american... I don't think Linford Christie would appreciate being called a black american much ;o)
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In the context of the essay they are American. Sorry! lol!
Tut... african american... it's so deflating to attempt to be funny and get hoisted by your own lack of attention to detail ;o)
Well spotted, China Doll.
the devil's in the detail
Question Author
The essay is using this experiment as an example... http://en.wikipedia.o...e_syphilis_experiment

They say both here (YES! I know it's wikipedia! Haha!)...

You know I feel horrible asking this question!
Whichever one you decide on, stick with it.
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It's not for me.. i'm proof reading for a friend and just wanted a second opinion :|
African American is the phrase these days. I think you'd use it even when speaking of historical events like this (dating back to a time when the people in question probably just used the N word to describe them).
I could never understand this idea of being African American, or Irish American, or anything else American. Surely if you live in America, were born there and have roots going back yonks, then you are an American. Any ties to other countries are tenuous to say the least. If I had made a choice to go and live in America and to be an American I would forget any other country and wave the flag as hard as anyone else. White, Pink, Yellow or Black would make no difference. I would be an American. So there!! that's my opinion, for what it's worth.
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You make an excellent point Star but i'm afraid race is, unfortunately, pretty key in this essay.
Interesting article....

Don't feel bad for asking a question! Much better to ask than remain in ignorance and not be able to fully help your friend :c)
Question Author
Oh i've told her to go with African American.

Thanks very much! :)

Feel free to continue on with any answers/debates lol!
I believe they have Hispanics in America too, just for comparison between blacks and mexican/Indian/latin americans/and eurasians.
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True, China :) Ignorance isn't always bliss lol!
Americans are proud to be "hyphenated Americans". There are Norwegian-Americans, Irish-Americans and many others. Curiously, you don't hear of French-Americans, yet there is at least one whole community in Florida whose main language among themselves is French. The communities reflect historical fact, that whole lots of immigrants immigrated together and settled together, and their descendants have preserved the customs , and often,indeed, the language, of their ancestral homeland. Even when separated from areas of the original settlement, such people still retain the feeling of belonging to that ancestry and culture.

African-American is an attempt to replicate this and disown names with racist overtones, but it is strangely synthetic. Most came from West Africa but their ancestors would not, necessarily, have had anything in common: different tribes, different languages,different cultures, but the same fate. Martin Luther King referred to 'the ***' in his "I have a dream" speech, but that may not be acceptable now, in any context. 'Black' seems to be avoided by white American news anchors and in the press there, but freely used by African-Americans,
LOL. Evidently the filter on here won't let me use the word used by Martin Luther King. It rhymes with 'keel row'
If you are black, you can refer to Black Americans as Black. But if you are white, you can't.
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Use 'black' or 'black skinned' or something else entirely. One can not be both African and American, one is born in one place or the other. It's a daft label. One is referring to genetic heritage not nationality.

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