Monday, March 22, 2004

I was struck today by the title below a guest on a television news show. The show was discussing the fallout of the Iraq war and the two guests were both labeled as Iraqi-American. The label was so meaningful! I asked my wife if she could think of a better phrase to immediately idenfify the speakers and why their opinions on the subject might be worthwhile. She couldn't and neither could I.

That was the moment I realized why I hate the label African-American so much! It doesn't convey any meaningful information about the attitudes or aptitudes of a person. Aren't those things that really define you? It provides no more information about who a person is than the shorter phrase American. I don't know that they understand any better than any other American the subject of poverty or wealth. By virtue of the label, they don't have anything to add about the slave trade or the life on a plantation.

There was an interesting piece on Opinion Journal about John Kerry's wife being an African-American. Anyone can look at her and realize that the label doesn't identify the shade of her skin. If it is important for someone to identify the shade of their skin, just say it! For me, and most Americans of my generation, skin color really doesn't matter as much as personality. That is as it should be. I'm grateful that the Civil Rights movement helped erase some of the stereotypes.


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