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Picture of Kalleh
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I am confused. Didn't we go from Negro to Black to African-American? And now we are back to Black? How did that change take place?
 
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I think it has to do with evolving group awareness. For instance, Kipling's "Little Black Sambo" was condemned by Americans of African origin because many thought it was about them, not knowing that the British considered any melanin-rich people "black." I doubt they, and PC whites who hadn't read the story would have complained if Kipling had written "Indian" and not "black."

This leads to Isabel Wilkerson's new book, Caste. Very informative and superbly written.
 
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Geoff, yes I've always noticed for Brits "blacks" include people of African and Indian descent, at minimum. (Do they use "blacks" for Eastern Asians and Latin Americans?). Before that, if I remember correctly, the term was "coloreds," and I think it applied to all non-whites.

I'm not sure "we" in US ever changed over entirely to "African-American." It's a nice term PC-wise, as it places those descended from slavery on the same footing as all immigrants. But there's a notable exception: I've never heard the term English- or British-American used for descendants of 17th/ 18thC settlers. They are "Americans." I remember being startled to learn in the '80's that neither my boyfriend [soon husband] nor any of his NYC 1st & 2nd-gen Italian-American relatives called themselves "Americans." That term was reserved for descendants of Eng, Dutch & Scottish settlers. Everyone else was "German," "Irish," "Polish," etc, no matter when their forefathers arrived.

However, for those of my generation (both black and white), "blacks" has a positive ring associated with "black pride." It replaced the namby-pamby "Negroes," the often-pejorative "coloreds," and was a conscious redefinition of a once-racist term.

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In the past whites went so far as to denote the degree of African in a person. Mulatto, quadroon, and octaroon were once common terms for degrees of blackness.

Here's an article on the subject: https://coolcleveland.com/2019...ple-call-themselves/
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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That is an interesting link, Geoff. As for Little Black Sambo, I always loved that story. However, my daughter thinks it is a racist story and won't let me read it to my granddaughter. I just don't get it, but having read "So You Want to Talk about Race" and reading "How to be an Antiracist," I realize that I have a lot to learn about racism. I think the younger generations are doing a better job at that.

Bethree, it may be a regional thing, but I can tell you that in our area, no one says African American anymore (except maybe me when I slip up); it's always "Black." Then there has been the whole AP controversy as to whether "white" should be captialized since "Black" is.
 
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I don't know about "sambo" in the USA but it is absolutely a racist term in the UK. In the seventies it had the same kind of impact here that the "N" word has over there.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:racism.
Then there has been the whole AP controversy as to whether "white" should be captialized since "Black" is.

AP as in Advanced Placement? I must have missed that controversy. Over a test question, I presume?

Are you saying that folks in your area always capitalize "Black," or making a statement about correct spelling? I actually hadn't seen that, other than in early-20thC lit - where they would usually capitalize Whites, as well.

Edit! I just found "Blacks" capitalized in the wikipedia entry I cited in response to Bob! I will now be on the lookout for this.

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Originally posted by BobHale:
I don't know about "sambo" in the USA but it is absolutely a racist term in the UK. In the seventies it had the same kind of impact here that the "N" word has over there.
Bob, pretty sure 'sambo" is a racial slur here as well. Don't hear it often but it would definitely jump out! I'll bet that's why Kalleh's daughter keeps it away from her kids. I remember it fondly from my childhood, & I don't think the story itself was racist. But once its protagonist's name became used in the same way as n*g*er, it gained too much baggage to work as an innocent jungle tale...

In fact it's tough to see any of those old stories as "innocent jungle tales" anymore. There's, again, too much baggage. It's Brit-writ, from empire era barely removed from slavery days. Attitudes about happy natives frolicking in the jungle etc... Wikipedia says, "Critics of the time observed that Bannerman presents one of the first Black heroes in children's literature and regarded the book as positively portraying Black characters in both the text and pictures, especially in comparison to the more negative books of that era that depicted Blacks as simple and uncivilised.[1] However, it became an object of allegations of racism in the mid-20th century, due to the names of the characters being racial slurs for dark-skinned people, and the fact the illustrations were, as Langston Hughes put it, in the pickaninny style.'"

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I don't think the story itself was racist. But once its protagonist's name became used in the same way as n*g*er, it gained too much baggage to work as an innocent jungle tale...
Oh, I never knew why. I agree the story itself is not racist, and rather charming. I still use the term, "crimson soles and crimson linings" when I am lightheartedly talking about something cool to wear. I suppose I shouldn't.

AP is Associated Press. I learned about that controversy from our Marketing and Communications person. Note in the papers they'll say "a Black man and a white man were walking down the street..."
 
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"a Black man and a white man were walking down the street..."


That sounds like the start of a very racist joke.
 
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The Doctor Dolittle books are also not suitable these days because of racist elements and several Tintin books have been completely withdrawn from reprinting for the same reason. The Noddy books were redrawn and rewritten to change the naughty golliwogs to naughty goblins.

I don't have a problem with any rewriting that goes on. I know people say "well, it was a different time" and that's true but what's the problem with trying to not be offensive?
 
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That sounds like the start of a very racist joke.
It does, doesn't it? Wink
 
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