“African American” or “Negro”?


Nomenclature (noun)

  1. the system or set of names used in a specific branch of learning or activity, as in biology for plants and animals, or for the parts of a particular mechanism.
  2. the act or a system of naming.

[…] “Or consider the term “African American“. Legitimate nomenclature is specific and succinct. “Subdural hematoma“, or “Gear ratio” are specific and succinct.

African American” is neither, it says little and means less. Who does it refer to, exactly? Are those we call African Americans still African Americans if they were born in, are citizens of, and live in Spain? If not, what term shall we use? Are all Americans originally from, say, Tunisia or Egypt considered “African Americans“, Arabs included?

If the intent is to indicate American citizens of African extraction, but only sub-Saharan Africa, not including, say, ethnic Malaysians or Filipinos and so on, certainly not whites, then it’s hopelessly unhandy, worse, the user is involuntarily complicit in an evasion of clarity for reasons not his own.”

It wasn’t always this way.

“Negro”, French for “black”, cut through all this weaving and dodging. It’s specific and succinct, as good nomenclature must be. It’s efficient, neutral and had a non-replicable patina from long acceptance all around. Alas, or perhaps therefore, it was declared unutterably racist by those who can declare things unutterably racist and make it stick.

Hence negro became Negro, which became Afro-American, which became African-American. Two syllables, then six, then seven. See George Carlin for why this is hilarious .  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n2PW1TqxQk)         To repeat, nomenclature is not knowledge. It’s an index to knowledge. The downside is, nomenclature will be misused in ways knowledge can’t be and still be knowledge. You see the problem. Next item please.”

Check out Ol’ Remus’ main website as there’s always something of interest for somebody >>http://www.woodpilereport.com/

 

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