13 May 2009

I read a very fascinating story today on abcnews.com about a man suing a New Jersey school after being disciplined and removed from the school he attended because he says he's African-American? Before you get ready to page Al Sharpton and company hold on a second because there is a twist to this one--the man who made the claim is white. Yeah, I said it.

(For the whole story, check out this website:

Here's the gist of it: Paulo Serodio, 45, sued the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey after he claimed he was harassed and suspended for calling himself a white African-American in a cultural exercise in his class, according to ABC News. Serodio was born and raised in Mozambique and is now a naturalized American citizen.

Others who are white but are African citizens (that I know of anyway):
Charlize Theron
Chelsea Davy, Prince Harry's ex--yeah, I was interested. So what?!? :-)

There are plenty of white people who are citizens of African nations, remnants of colonization and missionaries come to mind. So, is it possible for a white person to be African-American? I think so. After all, he came straight from Africa. I have yet to step foot on African soil. In fact, my ancestors from Africa came to America via slavery hundreds of years ago. He's more African than I'll ever be, in that sense. Now I'm sure my features will tell you otherwise since I have brown skin, a wide nose and very dark brown eyes. I am also part Choctaw and Irish. You wouldn't be able to tell unless I told you and I bet you would still have a hard time believing that. I would be, in your mind, an African-American.

African-American is an interesting term. According to Webster's, an African-American is "an American of African and especially black African descent". When you fill out a job application in the United States, the definition is "any person identifying with the black racial groups of Africa". Conversely, a white person, according to the many job applications I have filled out as of late, is anyone who "is of European, Middle Eastern or NORTH AFRICAN descent"! I know Mozambique is in southeastern Africa, by the way. Nevertheless, could it be possible that this man is a Mozambique native of European descent who is African-American by default?

How about this? Perhaps the whole concept of race is relative. I'm a little bit of everything as are the vast majority of "African-Americans" in the United States. Enough of the labels--I am an American but, more importantly, I am human just like you. We are one race--the human race--and we mustn't ever forget that.


Cody said...

I've always struggled with the label "African-American." I mean, what if there's a table full of black folks, all from different countries. They wouldn't be African-Americans. It seems like it's a label that only works in this country. What's wrong with "black?"

Andréa, the Cincy Kid said...

it depends on who you talk to. for the most part black folks in america have no problem with being "black" just as long we are seen as equal.