You will never know if you hurt the sentiments of a person by referring to them as black or African American or Black American. No one will actually know until you ask that the person out. But you can’t do that either. It may look impolite, and also hurt them even more than before.
So, what should we do about this?
I have got an amazing answer for this.
Addressing Black Americans as African Americans
Read an article where Aisha Harris from the Slate culture expresses that, she has felt a lot of trouble with people coming up to her and asking ‘where do you belong?’ or saying ‘Ah. You look like an African’ kind of comments. She adds, ‘Even though my father has some roots of Nigeria, I don’t prefer to be called as Nigerian-American or the African-American. You can better refer to me as a black American. That’s what I would like.’
But the point is not everyone has the same preferences. Some people may not tolerate being called as a Black American too. What could be done in that case?
When we say African culture in America, then it points out to the contributions of the African Americans to the United States of America. Currently, you will find African American people residing in the West and Central parts of Africa. Also, their identity came to light only during the slavery period, which was practiced in the British American time.
This is one of the core reasons that will make people hurt if you refer to them as black or black-American for instance.
I also read somewhere – if you are among your friends or having an informal meeting, then calling someone black may not sound offensive. But in my opinion, it’s still offensive no matter who you are with. It still matters.
Many people have asked me about this, ‘what should I address the guy/girl, and still not make it offensive?’ Do you know what you can do? Just call him/her by their name, or address them by saying Mr. or Mrs. followed by the surname of the person.
How do you feel now?
That was such a simple solution, isn’t it? So go ahead and try it out next time.