Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Wednesday, May 22
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: I’m Black, not African American


It’s Black History Month, yet people refer to me as an African American.

It is such a weird existence to live in such a gray area of life.

I’m not African. Not in the same way someone from Ghana is African. My heritage is African, yes, but from where in Africa? My heritage has been narrowed down to a whole continent, I may never know where exactly. 

I’m also not an American, not really. How can I be? If I were to get robbed, I am terrified the police would shoot me instead of the actual perpetrator.

I may have citizenship and a Social Security number, but the target on my back and the discrimination my people experience every day tells me I’m no American. 

Frankly, I don’t claim to be an American. I don’t want to because of both the history and the fact that I’m not treated like one.  Why claim a country that would send a Black person to fight in the military promising stolen gold and riches unseen? Yet the same country will shoot veterans in uniform when they return for the color of their skin? 

How can I be American and proud of it when they’re whipping Haitian immigrants at the border? 

How can I be an American when they’ll see me as a thug, thot, or thief before they see me as president, senator or billionaire? 

I’m no American when I have to beg for rights promised to me in the creed we indoctrinate our children with. Where is my land of the free? Where is my life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? 

I’m Black. Simple as that.

I’m part of a race of people who were forced to start over. Our history is full of loss and triumphs. A story born of gold skin, blood, sweat and tears rooted in this nation where white security rests. I’m proud of my African heritage despite the distance from it, despite it being this gray, hidden history. But at the end of the day, I’m Black, not African American. 

This is the same America that killed leader after leader in the ‘60s, the America that locked all our men up with crack and weed charges yet white kids are doing the same drugs even today on campus, which is something I’ve personally seen. Then America had the audacity to make a stereotype that Black people have no dads as if America didn’t make it that way. 

The same “land of the free” that had Birmingham become “Bombingham?” Bombingham was the nickname for Birmingham in the 60s because racists were blowing up Black businesses and homes so often. The same country that is killing Black people left and right and is locking up the Black people they don’t shoot. 

The same country that loves our Black athletes and our entertainers will gladly kill our children in racial violence. It will fetishize our youth for mixed babies but hate the Black part in them. 

I’ll be American when I have to be but it is not something I’m proud to be. At the end of the day, I’m Black. Point blank period.

Get stories like this in your inbox