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1. A outdated problematic, non-universal racial term used to describe anyone of sub-saharan african descent residing in the united states. That doubles as a ethnic term describing people who descended from the slave trade in america or, identify with black american cultural ethnic identity residing in the u.s, whilst obscuring the ethnic identities of non-ethnic african-american blacks because of its dual use nature. Used interchangeably with the word "black" further exacerbating and creating social/racial/ethnic issues and tension.
A african-american in america may say describing their ethnicity may say "im half black and half brazilian" which really means im half african-american and half brazilian in describing ethnicity rather than race.

A person may choose to hire a afro-trinidadian person over the african-american black person due to stereotypes of african-americans which is a case of ethnic discrimination rather than racial discrimination.

A afro-jamaican or afro-latino from cuba may say he or she isn't "black" meaning he or she isn't african-american because the term is used interchangeably with the more popularly used term black to describe ethnicity.

A company may have a black history month lunch with "Soul food" widely regarded as Ethnic African-American Cuisine. However since it is usually interpreted as a play on a negative racial stereotype rather than a good will toward an ethnicity I.E "not all black people eat fried chicken!!!"
A gesture of goodwill misinterpreted, not necessarily because of ignorance but because of the constant confusion based on current terminology.

"African-American history" does not include the history of Haiti however a person of Haitian decent residing in America is labelled African-American.

A Afro-Barbadian is labelled a African-American in America even if he or she is not a citizen of the U.S

black black american negro negroe black people
by Maurice Caldeira May 26, 2012
Actual definition is: any black person who is a descendant of black American slaves and lives in America. It is often incorrectly used to refer to black people who came to this country of their own free will from Africa as well as any other country is the world.

The second definition is any person who moves to America from Africa.
That man is a descendant of slaves, so if you want to be politically correct use African-American when referring to him.
by tarafirma November 04, 2009
An ethnicity (not a race) that is equivalent to "Asian American" or "Latino/Hispanic American" and is used to designate the population descended from enslaved Africans in the US (and sometimes the Americas in general). It is not synonymous or interchangeable with "black" which is a racial category and may include African Americans (formerly Afro-Americans or American Negroes), Afro-Caribbean people, Afro-Latino people, or any other group that may be racially defined as black. The choice to identify as African American has nothing to do with nationality or race, but with a unique cultural heritage that developed in the US. Therefore, the critique that African Americans are not "African" because they were not born in Africa is irrelevant and as nonsensical as saying that a 10th generation Asian American is not Asian because they weren't born there- the titles are meant to recognize recent origins, current cultural practices, and identities that are distinct from mainstream white American culture (although its forms are often appropriated by mainstream white American culture).
White person who's terrified of difference and of really thinking about history because it means she has to acknowledge that her ancestors were pricks: "You're no more African than I am European."
African American: "That's true but the implications of someone looking at us and guessing that my ancestors were African and that yours were European are pretty freakin different, asshole. Read a history book and maybe you'll figure out why."
by reading_rainbow February 27, 2012
1) The term mistakeningly used by people who see fit to walk on eggshells around a Black Americans out of fear of offending them. In reality, a person may actually offend a Black/African American person more because they assume that they will be offended by Black.

2) A term used to formally describe an American ethnic group. This specific group uses this term mostly in formal situations and Black in casual situations but most could care less about which one is used to describe them.

3) The only term used to describe an American ethnic group that is constantly debunked, although this particular American ethnic group are only seen as Americans when it's convenient.
1) Girl 1: Yeah that was such a cute Bla.... I mean African American guy!
Girl 2: You know, you don't have to say African American. Black isn't offensive.

2) Guy 1: Do you prefer Black or African American?
Guy 2: Either is fine, just not Nigger.

3) After the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, people noticed how organized and orderly the Japanese were. When speculators tried to use the comparison between how Americans reacted to disaster after Hurricane Katrina and how the Japanese reacted, these were the popular responses:
"Japan didn't have any looting because there were no Blacks."
"Only Blacks and Latinos were looting the stores"
"It wasn't Americans who did the looting, it was "African-Americans""
Why these responses? Because African-Americans are less American than all others and become American enough when it's convenient.

Rap=Black music

Blues=American music (although it was also made by Black/African Americans)
by MrSpeechie2010 March 02, 2012
African-American is an (ETHNICITY), just as valid as Italian-American, German-American, Japanese-American Kenyan-American, Nigerian-American, Egyptian-America etc.

The Black Americans that are *descendants* of African slaves that were FORCED to come to America, NOT to be confused with Africans that (VOLUNTARILY) *immigrated* to America AFTER slavery ended.
Not all Blacks in America are African-American.

President Barack Obama is NOT an African-American, he knows that his father is from Kenya and that his mom is American thus he is *Kenyan-American* his wife is African-American. Also American Blacks are called BLACK for 'general purposes' however, "African-American" for FORMAL purposes ie, job applications, legal documentation etc.
by Ashcan May 09, 2010
A term that I will start using at the exact moment that I start using "European American", which will hopefully be never.
What's wrong with the word "black"? Why do we need to say "African American"? It's six syllables longer. Why is "white" perfectly acceptable, but "black" all of a sudden isn't? People are too afraid of offending others. You do not have the right to not be offended in the United States. Stop giving voice and standing to the chronically and professionally offended, who are constantly on the look-out for reasons to be offended. If we continue as we are, in 10 to 20 years, "African American" will be considered offensive, and will be replaced with something else that will be considered offensive in 10 to 20 more years, and so on and so on. Stop this nonsense.
by Monty Cobra May 06, 2014
The term was made popular during the 1980's by Jesse Jackson when he used it in front of a national audience.
For more information:
SOURCE: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American
There are more than 37 million people in the United States who have majority African ancestry that may or may not use the term "African American" :
First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Vivica A. Fox,
by yarnkitten2 January 21, 2012