Terms for American descendents of Africans describes the many things white folks do when they are really, really trying to be nice. But, like all things that you struggle with when you are trying to be nice, it comes out sounding like crap.
Earlier attempts were:
- Negro. This was OK for a time, but it soon started to sound anachronistic, like when you see NAACP dudes using it on 1960's footage, and unfortunately even well-meaning white boys from down south pronounced it "Nigrahs." That sure put the kibosh on that expression.
- Colored Folk. That didn't last long either. For a while, every time you used this expression, the colored guy would say, "What color?" to note that your whiteness is a color too. Pointing out your imprecision took you off your footing, and that's always a plus. These days, colored folk is uncool. However, person of color is very cool. Especially if you lisp it.
- Black. That worked for a while, but even that didn't last long. I mean they aren't really black, more like kind of brown. You've only got to look at Tina Turner whipping up the crowd in those Back to Africa concerts and you realize all those coal-black African dudes are gazing at the golden-brown American performers on stage going, what the fuck, these are creatures from another planet. True, of course.
- African-Americans isn't going to last either. Most American black men don't have a lot in common with Africans and will often resent you for introducing them at parties simply because they are both black. (It's really a klutzy, innocent racism when you think about it.) Besides, what does an African-American become when he goes to Europe or Oceania?
- Brownie was hip and cool for a while, but when a food product of the same name was invented, severe cases of cannibalism emerged.
- Nigger. This is currently the politically correct thing to call a nigger. Call a nigger a nigger and they will love it, especially if you are a nigger. You will then be so happy that you will decide to go to a Birmingham Niggers game to celebrate this wonderful world order. Contrary to popular belief, they are still slaves. The confusion arose after Abe Lincoln forgot to exclaim "April Fools!" after signing the Emancipation Proclamation.
- Jigaboo continues to be the most amusing term for black people. It is even funnier when used in complete sentences such as, "Look at that crazy jigaboo running from those cops." Some black people like the word so much they have it tattooed to their foreheads. But because they invariably use black ink, you just can't see it.
Anyway, it doesn't really matter much any more. Being black is so cool--after Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington, for Christ's sake--that we may not need a word for it soon. After all, you don't have to say "Italian" American or "Polish" American or "Fiscal" conservative or whatever.
Then American blacks will be just like English blacks. Now there's a terrific example: blacks in London are just Londoners--They don't speak a separatist dialect, they don't wear dashikis and bone beads, and they don't name their love children names no one has ever heard of. They may even have jobs. Wonder why. Politically correct White Liberals in America are probably the worst for race relations. As a few black commentators have said, "The Ku Klux Klan couldn't do that to us if they had tried."