Please stop calling me “African – American”

I sit in the classroom and you make me feel like a label.

I sit in the chair behind the desk filling out paperwork and you make me feel like a statistic.

I sit in the conference room and you make me feel uncomfortable.

I am not African. I am Carribean American. I am Black. I am a woman of color.

You want to sound politically correct but instead, you offend me and make me feel weird.

My Black is beautiful.

We are all kinds of shades.

Dark. Medium. Brown. Light.

We are from all over the world.

Africa, Caribbean Islands, Japan, India, Latin America, Iran, Netherlands, Turkey, and the Middle East.

I do not appreciate being called “African – American” because my culture has originated in the Caribbean. My great – grandparents originated to Jamaica from Hong Kong and Cuba and from Guyana to the United Kingdom. My grandparents are natives of Jamaica and Guyana. And me, I was born in America. However, I do not have African descent in me, so please, stop generalizing me and putting me in that category.

Black culture is so diverse, thus, please stop conforming me to be what you want me to be. I want to identify with my own culture not how society identifies me.

When I am called “African – American”, I feel like a statistic – a number. I do not feel like I belong in society and it makes me super uncomfortable because I feel like I cannot relate. As a black girl, I can understand many references because I’ve lived it, but when you start categorizing me as “African American”, I feel as I cannot relate because I am not African. How one identifies is a personal decision.  I do not like identifying as African American, but my other counterparts might and that is ok (just want to be clear that everyone identifies differently). I love my blackness and I love identifying as a black woman and there isn’t anything I would want to change about that. I would prefer that people asked me  ” where are you from? ” or “how do you identify?” before I get placed in a larger category that I feel I can not relate to. In the society that I have grown up in we tend to make assumptions and generalize people before we ask questions – let us break that culture and ask questions. If we don’t talk about it we are never going to change. If we don’t talk about it ignorance will still exist and I will still feel uncomfortable. If we don’t talk about it that means we accept what we are doing is right and it is not. Everyone identifies differently. I do not like being called African American. Please stop calling me that.

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