Tag Archives: nationality

Smokey Robinson, American-American

Smokey Robinson’s sentiments, in this Def Poetry Jam piece, mirror what I’ve been blogging about in my posts.  He hits the major points head on!  However, I’d like to bring some clarity to the “Black” reference.  Self-identifying as “Black” does not connect you with a nationality because it is a color (more like a concept) and your nationality is what determines your legal status.  This becomes important if you ever have to fight for your human rights at the international level, which is what our people should be doing.

Black doesn’t even mean what we think it means.  The original definitions for the word “black,” which can be found in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster, include:  pale; to become pale; to turn white; to bleach; to lighten.  This sounds more like a description of the Europeans who found us here.  At one point, Smokey referred to himself as an “American-American.”  This is how I choose to identify myself.

Know Better:
Here is where I would include a link to the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster so you can see the definition for the word “black,” but the on-line version conveniently excludes the entries I mentioned.  You may be able to get your hands on the hard copy version at your local library, if your interested in seeing it for yourself.  Otherwise, you can view the images from my copy below.

Definition of Black 1828 Dictionary

Do Better:
Find out who you are by researching those who came before you.  Then, and only then, can you truly be proud of who you are like Smokey Robinson expressed in his spoken words.


America is NOT a Country!

Image: “America Map” – http://www.hostelineurope.com/Maps/america-map.jpg 

America MapMy previous post, “Africa is NOT a Country“, brought to light how identifying with the title African-American diminishes a person’s value due to the generalization of being connected to a continent and not a country.  Well guess what?  If we want to get technical, America is not a country either.

The Americas are a pair of continents (North America and South America).  If you’re inclined to argue our country is the United States of America, why then isn’t our nationality United Statians like Canadians, Brazilians, Mexicans and Colombians?  Why don’t we have our own language and our own culture?  Why should we even care?”

Here’s why you should care.

  1. Your nationality connects you to a country and determines your international political status.
  2. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares, “everyone has the right to a nationality and no one should be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
  3. Human rights, not to be confused with civil rights, are protected under international law.

Know Better:
America Map – conservapedia.com
What is Nationality – thelawdictionary.org
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – un.org
Why You Should Care About Human Rights – civilrights.org

Do Better:
Be careful about what you call yourself because it may have an impact on your international political status.  African-American refers to two continents, Black is a color and believe it or not, the legal definition of a Minority is the state or condition of a minor (as in a child).   Fighting for civil rights isn’t getting us anywhere, so we need to start fighting for human rights and we do not need our ambiguous legal status compromising our efforts.  Knowledge of our ancestry will help us determine what our legal status should be.  That is why researching your ancestry is so important.