Last week we wrote about the ongoing debate over whether “black” or “African American” is the preferred term among black Americans born in the United States. A 2011 The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed that 42 percent of respondents preferred to be called black, compared to 35 percent who went by African American and 13 percent who said it didn’t matter.
We noted some complexities within this debate — what about African immigrants, non-black Africans and second-generation Americans with roots in Africa? A number of you with similar backgrounds chimed in to offer thoughts on what you preferred to be called, and how you’ve navigated racial identity in America.
Commenter Frenchie wrote she prefers to be called “Haitian-American:”
I prefer not to be called African-American because it doesn’t correctly encompass my history or background. Additionally, there continue to be tensions between “member of the African diaspora, “exotic” blacks and African-Americans “regular” blacks. That often painful and tense history continues to prevent black immigrants from feeling as if African-American can ever be an all-inclusive term and, thus, makes “black” our default.
Some readers were unsure of what to call themselves, such as commenter Cia0912: