There are many people shying away from being labeled as African-American these days. They prefer the term Black though in their heart they see themselves as strictly Americans. In fact there is a site on Facebook that reflects this attitude, “Don’t call me African-American.” If we all looked at ourselves as being just Americans there could be no accusation of racial prejudice. For how could there be an accusation of racial prejudice when in doing so would be an accusation against every American including the accuser regardless of color of skin or nationality? And how could I make a claim of racial prejudice when in claiming it I’d be making a claim for every other American regardless of the color of skin or nationality.
I will go even farther by labeling myself as a individual person first. As an individual I see myself as an unique person without equal. The color of my skin is just an attribute that helps define my individuality and only one means to distinguish myself from other human beings. As an individual I cannot claim anything that does not belong to me nor can I can demand something for others without recognizing I am demanding it for myself first.
As an advocate of the individual I cannot recognize the concept of collective rights as some would promote. One reason for this belief is the fact that before a collective can declare they enjoy a right each individual of that collective must possess it first. Another reason is that in order for one collective to be denied a right it must be acknowledged that each and every individual of another collective already possesses that right and that is an impossibility.
As an advocate of individualism I cannot recognize the concept of being entitled to the same things as anyone else. The only things I am entitled to are the things I can claim as being my own. As an individual I can only seek the opportunity of possessing what others already possess. In other words, I must earn what I am entitled to and cannot demand that others provide it for me. The mere fact of my existence entitles me to nothing.
Samuel Jackson admits to using race as the sole criteria of probably the most important political decision in an interview. The question I must ask now is how many other persons made this the sole criteria? Whatever happened to Martin Luther King’s dream that a man should be judged by his ability and not by the color of his skin?
Deborah, a very good friend of ours, over at From my Browneyed View had this to say on the subject along with some good advice for those of us unfamiliar with the debate within the Black community.
“The term AA is one that has never been totally accepted by many of us. It is a politically correct term but it honestly does not define who we are as a people. I really do not like being called AA because I am Black. I accept the term AA because it just helps to keep the process moving along. But I will also urge you to do some research on this particular topic because there is a historical and cultural reason for this debate. BTW this has been going on since the Black Power Movement.”
Can one ask for more? What say you, my friends?