OUR TRUE ETHNICITYNAME


 

OUR TRUE ETHNICITY NAME
By Uriah J. Fields

One thing worst than knowing nobody not knowing my name is for me to not know my name.

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls;
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slaves to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.
     - Shakesepaare "Othello"

What is their name? During the four hundred years they lived in America they have been called appropriately, certainly, acceptably, Negroes, Colored people, Afro-Americans and currently African Americans. Before the 2010 U.S. Census they constituted the second largest ethnic or racial group in America. At the end of slavery they were 4 million of the 31 million people in America. They maintained that ranking as the second largest racial group in America until the recent U.S. Census that included some undocumented people living in America revealed that Latinos have become the second largest group of Americans, after Caucasians, commonly called white Americans. It has not been that many years ago when there were only two groups of Americans: white Americans and non-white Americans.

Currently, the term most widely used for Americans who are descendants of Africans is "African American." But that is not the true ethnicity or race name for this racial group. For nearly two decades I have advocated using the true ethnicity name. In  1995, during the fifth Anniversary of the Mutualilty Warrior Corps of which I am a founder an Ethnicity Naming Ceremony was held in Los Angeles. During that gathering the name "American of African Descent" was ratified, on behalf of all black American citizens, and declared to be the authentic and appropriate name by which black American citizens should henceforth be known. This name may be used interchangeably with African American. However, the preferred name is American of African Descent.

"Black" may also be used appropriately in certain situations. To elaborate on the use of the term Black I will quote myself. In the booklet, "Free at Last: Prescriptions For Black Equity" by Uriah J. Fields (Published 1986) I state: "Before we discuss "Prescriptions for Black Equity" a brief word on the term "Black" is in order. African American (today it is American of African Descent) is the correct term to be used when referring to the nationality of a black American citizen. However, the term "Black" when capitalized and used as a noun rather than an adjective, is appropriate, even preferred, especially when the intent of the user of the term is to acknowledge an African American's (American of African Descent's) encounter or relationship with "white racism." The term "Black," the opposite of "White" accurately describes thc condition of a black person living in white America and the nature of his correct response to his condition and to white racism. In this discussion "White" will also be used as the appropriate term to be applied when referring to a white American. White" like "Black," is a proper noun." (p. 6)

Even though currently there is much talk about being in a "post racial society," which is not true, and with limited but growing acceptance of American of African Descent as the proper name for American citizens who are decendants of Africans the term "Black" can be used just as appropriately today as twenty-five years ago when this booklet was first published.

The name American of African Descent reveals a truth that is rooted in the past and lived in the present. Before they came to America, like their ancestors, they were Africans. Nothing can ever change that. Presently their descendants are Americans, no less than American citizens of any other ethnic or race group, perhaps, with the exception of Native Americans, inappropriately called "Indians." Let me also state that when using the term African American it is not to be hyphenated as often is the case. Hyphenating African and American implies that this group of citizens are suspected of having conflicting loyalties. Of course, this is not true. Americans of African Descent are fully loyal to Africa in acknowlegment of their roots and heritage while simultaneously being fully loyal to America the country in which they have invested 400 years of service and productivity that included 250 years of unrequited labor. In addition, they constitute the one and only group of American citizens who possess redemptive signifiance that may yet prove to be America's salvation, if that is to be. Americans of African Descent have appreciation for both Africa and America. America is their home.

May it no longer be said "Nobody knows my name." I am an American of African Descent.

{Plese note: For a more detail discusison of this subject, from the menu of this website click "We are Americans of African descent" by Uriah J. Fields.}

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