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Posted: 8/29/2004 3:59:50 AM EDT
'African-American' Becomes a Term for Debate


Published: August 29, 2004

ILVER SPRING, Md., Aug. 27 - For a moment, the Ethiopian-born activist seemed to melt into the crowd, blending into the sea of black professors, health experts and community leaders considering how to educate blacks about the dangers of prostate cancer. But when he piped up to suggest focusing some attention on African immigrants, the dividing lines were promptly and pointedly drawn.

The focus of the campaign, the activist, Abdulaziz Kamus, was told, would be strictly on African-Americans.

"I said, 'But I am African and I am an American citizen; am I not African-American?' " said Mr. Kamus, who is an advocate for African immigrants here, recalling his sense of bewilderment. "They said 'No, no, no, not you.' "

"The census is claiming me as an African-American," said Mr. Kamus, 47, who has lived in this country for 20 years. "If I walk down the streets, white people see me as an African-American. Yet African-Americans are saying, 'You are not one of us.' So I ask myself, in this country, how do I define myself?"

(A lot more here: www.nytimes.com/2004/08/29/national/29african.html?ex=1094356800&en=b663962780137e27&ei=5006&partner=ALTAVISTA1
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 4:06:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2004 4:07:25 AM EDT by raf]
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 4:31:40 AM EDT
To me, African-American means the same as Chinese-American or Australina-American, meaning that you have citizenship in both countries. I see black Americans as "Black Americans". Unless they were born in another country or have gained citizenship there, they are still Americans in my view.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 4:47:46 AM EDT
wonder how long until they will start asking for immigration restrictions to keep the successful "african americans" out.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 4:48:43 AM EDT
Damn foriegners

Link Posted: 8/29/2004 4:51:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2004 4:53:43 AM EDT by kpel308]
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 4:53:23 AM EDT
Mr Kamus is a true "African-American" being that he was born in Ethiopia & immigrated here. Same as an Afrikaaner who moved here.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:17:22 AM EDT
So if a white guy from South Africa came here to live would he be an "African-American". A country does not determine your race but your roots.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:27:46 AM EDT
As of the last time I looked, Africa was a continent.

Other than that small detail, Mr. Kamus is correct in his argument.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:35:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2004 5:44:19 AM EDT by kindstranger]

Originally Posted By passgas55:
So if a white guy from South Africa came here to live would he be an "African-American". A country does not determine your race but your roots.

This happened recently. I can't remember the story, but it's along the lines of a caucasian fifth of sixth generation African immigrates here with his parents. He applies for a scholarship or an award of somekind... You can pretty much guess the rest...
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:38:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2004 5:42:32 AM EDT by kill-9]
Remember this?

White Student Calls Self African-American
Friday, January 23, 2004

OMAHA, Neb. — Officials disciplined students who papered their nearly all-white high school with posters advocating a white student from South Africa for the school's "Distinguished African American Student Award."

Peggy Rupprecht, spokeswoman for the Westside Community Schools (search) district, said administrators at Westside High School (search) discovered more than a hundred of the posters throughout the school first thing Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day (search).

"The content of the posters, they believed, was inappropriate and insensitive to some members of our school community," Rupprecht said.

Citing privacy policies, Rupprecht said she could not specify what the penalties were or how many students were disciplined. But the mother of the boy pictured on the posters said he was suspended for two days.

The award has been given the last eight years to an outstanding black student as part of the school's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, she said.

The poster pictured junior Trevor Richards, 16, smiling and making a thumbs-up sign. A message at the top encouraged votes for him for next year's award.

Karen Richards said her son and his friends were not trying to hurt anyone.

"My son is not a racist," she told the Omaha World-Herald. "He has black friends, friends from Bangladesh and Egypt. Color has never been an issue in our home."

"It was a very innocent thing," she said.

Two of her son's friends were disciplined along with him, she said. A fourth student was punished for circulating a petition Tuesday criticizing the practice of recognizing only black student achievement with the award, she said.

Tylena Martin, a junior, said the poster had been on the door to her homeroom class where she is the only black student. She said she felt hurt by the posters and the backlash that ensued.

According to 2002-2003 state statistics, 56 Of Westside's 1,632 students are black.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:46:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2004 5:46:23 AM EDT by pale_pony]
... There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. This is just as true of the man who puts "native" before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.

-President Theodore Roosevelt, 1915

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