NewsBlack History Month


What is the difference between identifying as Black or African American?

Nick Hill thinks it's up to the community.
Black History Month 2021
Posted at 7:45 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 22:47:26-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to touch on the identity of the terms Black and African American.

While they symbolize how far the world has come with Black history, the terms are not always interchangeable.

“You have Black, meaning you are the origin of Black of African, of the darker countries – and then African American, you are African American born,” Dee Slade, Executive Director of African American Network of Kern County.

While Black and African American are terms often used today to identify people who are of African descent or born in the U.S. and have African ancestry, Dee Slade said in the past things were different.

“We started out being slaves, and next we went to colored. Then, of course, negros, colored, and during the marches of the 60’s, the Rosa Parks and the MLK and all of that, President Johnson referred to them as the negros. You’ll see some of the old speeches, and then they go back to the colored.”

Slade said it wasn’t until the movement of Malcolm X and MLK, THAT the world started moving from negros to African Americans.

The dictionary definition of negro is a person of Black African ancestry.

Colored is defined as a person of race, other than white or of mixed race.

Black is a member of dark-skinned people especially one of African ancestry.

The definition of African American is an American of African, and especially of Black African descent.

President and CEO of Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce Nick Hill thinks it's up to the community as to what they want to be called now.

“When you take this back, we’re the N-word, then we were negros, then we were colored, then we were Black, and then we’re African Americans. So that’s more of an evolution thing, and it’s a matter of personal preference of the African American community of how they want to be addressed.”

While President of the Bakersfield NAACP Chapter Patrick Jackson agrees, he said the current terminology is about looking to the future.

“Black is a central and unified form of identifying us as a collective group, and some people like one term more than the other, but essentially, it’s all about us coming together, and us understanding who we are, where we come from, and where we can go.”

Black History Month
Black History Month

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