Tuesday, May 6, 2014 | 2 a.m.
In Saturday’s letter to the editor, “Identify yourselves as Americans only,” some valid points are raised about race and categorization of our citizens. The practice of referring to black people as African-Americans is wrong on several levels. Africa is a continent. America is a continent when we refer to South or North America, and a nation when we refer to the United States of America. African-American therefore has no connection to skin color. Is a nonblack person who emigrates to the U.S. from Africa and becomes an American citizen considered an African-American?
There are black natives in such places as Haiti, Australia and the Philippines, to name a few countries, who are nowhere near Africa.
Referring to any American as an African-American is presumptuous, and possibly offensive to that person. Black does not mean African and African does not mean black
I am white and my wife, from the Philippines, is somewhat darker skinned than most white people. As a motorcyclist, in the summer I am actually darker than she is. So what is she, and does my classification change when I get a suntan? Her race is Malay, according to the U.S. government on her immigration paperwork.
As an Air Force recruiter in southern Indiana, I was required to identify the race of all applicants. Additionally, I was tasked to recruit black ROTC scholarship applicants in an area that had very few black people. I am a totally non-racist person married to a non-white. I spent over 22 years in a completely diversified Air Force that had absolutely zero-tolerance for racism.
Until we quit dwelling on skin color, racism will always be with us. The letter writer is right; we are all Americans, to include my naturalized wife. If we call her Filipino-American, we have not defined her skin color, but rather her ancestral national roots. Who really cares beyond a government and elements of our society that feel the need to classify everyone?