Identity Politics: Afrocaribbeamerican or Cablinasian

By Wole Ojurongbe.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Ever since the first indentured servants were exchanged for goods off the Man-O-War in Jamestown, Virginia in 1690, Black peoples in the United States of America have grappled with the contentious issue of how they should be addressed. This issue of nomenclature is at the heart of the search for a collective Black identity in the United States. Today, one facet of the debate is who has the right, or permission, to refer to themselves as “African American.” This debate involves United States of American-born Blacks, who are descendants of slaves, African-born immigrants, and Black immigrants from the other Americas and the Caribbean. American-born Blacks contend that, identifying as African American gives Black immigrants (regardless of whether they are legal residents or citizens of the USA) access to resources, like medical and educational, which therefore reduces available resources to American-born Blacks. In return, by pointing out that they are U.S. citizens or legal residents, of African descent; and further, that the deleterious effects of colonial rule can hardly be separated from those of slavery, Black immigrants contend that they too have the right to use the term “African American.”

Keywords: Identity Immigration Identity Politics Black Identity USA Politics African African American Afrocaribeean Cablinasian

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.135-140. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 554.376KB).

Wole Ojurongbe

Program Administrator/Registrar, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA

Wole Ojurongbe is the Administrator of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.) program at Dartmouth College. He holds a Masters in Business Administration (1997) from Iowa State University and is currently working on a Masters in Creative Writing at Dartmouth College.


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