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ERIC Number: ED406822
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
Pages: 35
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
"What Is Africa to Me?": Language, Ideology and "African American."
Smitherman, Geneva
A study examined the history of racial labelling of Black Americans, from the perspective of their changing material condition and opinions concerning use of the term "African American." Using the paradigm that language is representative of a social construction of reality drawn from linguistics and sociology, use of the terms "African,""colored,""Negro,""Black," and "African American" is chronicled, focusing on societal forces and the relationship of Blacks to American society. Survey methodology and results are then discussed. The survey was conducted in 1989 in Atlanta (Georgia), Chicago (Illinois), Cincinnati (Ohio), Detroit (Michigan), and Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). Of 667 respondents, including both African and European Americans, 512 responded to the question "Do you think the term 'African American' should replace the term 'Black' as the name for Black people in the United States?" Results show just over one-third to one-half support a shift to "African American." Three broad explanations were offered by Blacks for approving the change: identification of dual heritage; inadequacy of the "color" label; aesthetic quality of the newer term. Three explanations were given for disapproval: Blacks are not African; syllabic density; no need for change. Demographic differences in responses were also revealed. Contains 35 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia (Atlanta); Illinois (Chicago); Michigan (Detroit); Ohio (Cincinnati); Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)