Feature

Letting African-Americans be blacks again

K.A. DildayThe New York Times

“I’m black again,” said K.A. Dilday. It’s not that my skin color has changed. Rather, after calling myself black in Mississippi in the 1970s, “I became African-American, with a brief pause at Afro-American.” I’m living in the U.K. now, where once again, I am “black”—and it feels right. Black Brits come from all over the world, so it makes no sense to assign one continent to the entire population. At the same time, the inclusive term “black” serves as a unifier, creating a sense of community among a diverse population. The notion behind “African-American” was to give American blacks a historical link to Africa, which is fine—but the phrase leaves out the growing number of black Caribbean immigrants. Besides, the current presidential campaign has shown that blacks truly are part of a global community. From “the poor suburbs of Paris” to “the little villages in Kenya,” blacks are cheering Barack Obama “as one of their own.” My American brothers and sisters should honor that connection, “and go back to black.”

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