An opinion piece by Perina Chitubura – Cape Town, South Africa
Have you ever wondered why we use the term ‘black American’ but we don’t use ‘white African’ quite as often? If you have filled in any sort of paperwork such as at the hospital or during seminars in South Africa, you would have noticed that you are asked to fill in your race. The categories will be white, African, Coloured, Asian and other. Aren't white people born in Africa, Africans? Why does African only refer to black people? Are we using the term African to run away from using the word black?
Do we use the word African in order to be politically correct? If so, then we're not using it for its correct descriptive purpose. It refers to anyone born on the African continent regardless of the colour of their skin and must be used to signify such.
Black people in America have been called Black Americans because America was originally the land of indigenous people but then was occupied by white people, blacks only got there through slavery.
White people only came to Africa through colonialism, mission work and trade therefore their descendants are white people on the African continent; ‘White Africans.’
If we're using the term black in a non-derogatory way, why are we so scared of using it? Why not call blacks black and whites white. Using the word white freely but being hesitant when it comes to using the word black is racist in its own right. Black is black whether in Africa or not, white is white whether in Africa or elsewhere.
There are black and white people born in Africa and there shouldn't be any hesitancy in calling out one or the other, I've noticed a hesitancy when people want to refer to someone as black, there is nothing wrong in saying it because it is what it is.
If we’re going to classify blacks as Africans then we should address whites as white Africans, we’re all born on the African continent and should be proud to be called by its name!