What's the difference between African-American and American?

I met a girl online from a fan site and we are friends nows. I asked her if she was American and she said "no i'm African American." I told her that was the same thing. She said no because African-Americans are black and Americans are white. I said, that still makes you American and she says there is a other difference but she didn't reply to me yet. Besides skin, whats the difference?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • It is just about where your ancestors came from. Technically you're all American, but depend on where you family came from you could say you were Italian-American or German-American or whatever. African-American has come to be synonymous with 'black' since black can sometimes be seen as a pejorative.

    I usually say 'Afro-Caribbean' since that covers people who are black but have a family history outside Africa.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • "American" Is a term that doesn't tell you about ones racial background... it just tells you what section of the world they may be from.
    "African-American" Is a way of inserting your racial background along with where you were born.

    The online girl you were talking to thinking that "American" means white is a huge misinterpretation on her part.
    "Americans" are colorless.
    However , If I say I am "Asian-American" or "Caucasian-American" I am giving you an idea of my genetic background.

    Thinking that American automatically means white sounds a little ignorant to me.

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What Guys Said 9

  • American is a nationality not an ethnicity. An American is someone who lives in the United States regardless of skin colour, African-American is just a term to describe an American of African descent. It would be the same as "Bob Schultz" saying he's "German-American". I

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  • African-Americans are shunned by rednecks.

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  • It's stupid. I guess the white people from Africa that live in the US are African Americans too huh?

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  • American is a nationality.

    African-American is an American citizen of African descent.

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  • Americans worry about getting shot all the time. African-Americans are getting shot all the time.

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  • There should not be a difference. Problem is people get it backwards. It should be American (whatever) if they choose to describe their ethnicity.

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  • I don't know. Just call her black..

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  • She identifies with her ethnicity first and her nationality second.

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  • It's a politically correct term for black.

    For example the label African American wouldn't apply to Egyptians, Algerians, Libyans or Moroccans who aren't black who moved to america.

    sorry Algerians, just cuz you're from africa, doesn't mean you can be African American.

    http://s17.postimg.org/g89ciu7vj/image.jpg

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What Girls Said 5

  • If she wants to be known as an African American then you should refer to her as an African American for courtesy's sake.

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  • Most African Americans are black, that's why it's assumed that when someone says African American, that they're black. ... but not all African American are black. There are white people from africa too... and just saying American people tend to assume it's people from the United States... but it's not ONLY. There's North America and South America... .. so when someone says African American, it simply means they have descendants (parents, grandparents, etc) from Africa (most being black)

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  • Honesty I think the term "African American" just be eliminated from the dictionary and ever source because people of different color that are born in the US are American. There is no need to call someone Asian American, African American, Muslim American, etc! If you are born in this country you are a person not a label that identifies your race or ethnicity. White people aren't called "White Americans" only people with color are and that is not fair. Everyone should be equal!

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  • I don't consider myself American. I consider myself AFRICAN-American. I've never heard black people be called Americans without the word African in it.

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  • Technically nothing. As an African American woman. I know that I am American, but there are social differences between white Americans and Americans of other ethnicities. But you are Right.

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