Sunday, August 17, 2008

Being Politically correct

As many of you may know, I am enrolled in two online courses. One of them, which counts for my Anthropology minor, is called Race, Ethnicity, and Inequality. I thought this would be an extremely interesting course to take, especially while I am in New Orleans. After reading my last blog, a question has been brought up about how to be politically correct in my description of my fellow New Orleanians.

I refered to them as "blacks" in my previous blog, but for some reason, I felt it was innapropriate. However, the question was raised, what is the proper term? Some say African American is the proper term. Although this is commonly used, Many of the people that I know who are black, are not from Africa. Also, what is you meet someone who is black in France. They cannot be African American because they are not from America, and what if they aren't even African? If it is fine to call a white person white, well than why is it considered disrespectful to call a black person black?

I asked my roommates about this, and they replied that if in a classroom situation or if they are referring to a person they do not know, they will usually refer to someone as being African American. However, if they are describing someone they know, they say a black person. I thought it was interesting how they thought it was more academic to refer to someone as being African American in a classroom situation, where it is more "casual" to refer to them as being black. One of my roommates also said that they had previously asked one of their classmates what they rather be called, and their classmate replied that it would be refreshing to be called black.

This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately, especially since I am currently the minority in New Orleans. This city has had many problems in the past especially about race and mistreatment, and I'm sure I will be very aware of them by the end of the year. I am sure I will have many discussions on this subject this year in this class, and I am interested to see what others may say on the subject.


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