America has many problems. This is undeniable. Everyone – from Americans to non-Americans – can agree on this notion. One of the country’s biggest problems, as seen in the news in the last few years, is tension – even hatred – among the country’s various races. Yes, racism still exists and will probably always exist. One reason this is so in the United States is the language that is used to refer to the various races. In particular, the black Americans being referred to as “African-Americans.”
To sort of appease the country’s immense black population, society refers to the demographic as “African-Americans.” This is not conducive to a country of peaceful citizens. Yes, this demographic has African roots, and yes this demographic was taken from their ancestral African continent. But a very small portion of black Americans were born in Africa, or even to African parents, so they should not be considered “African” anything. With this mentality, all white Americans should be called “European-Americans. But this is not the case. This demographic is often referred to as “White Americans” or “Caucasian-Americans.” Never is white person born in America considered a “European-American” unless they were actually born on the European continent and later moved to the States. This double standard makes for unfair, special treatment of black Americans, which does nothing but perpetuate racism and hostile feelings among various racial groups.
This particular terminology – “African-American” for American-born black people, and not “European-Americans” for American-born white people – creates, for one, a sense of entitlement among black Americans. This unfair treatment creates a lack of trust and cohesion among the black and white races. It does more harm than good because it reminds people of other difference, that they are not the same; this in turn creates resentment.
Whenever someone is treated differently than someone else, it creates hostility for the person experiencing the unfair treatment. This then encourages one to have a burning dislike and resentment for that person. The same goes for people of different races. When a black person sees a white person getting special treatment – such as getting away with crimes a black person would be arrested for – it once again encourages resentment to that race, even if out of jealousy. The same goes for white Americans when they feel obligated to refer to black Americans as “African-Americans” when they are in fact American-born citizens, when they are not themselves called “European-American” because of their European roots. And why can’t people just be called “Americans”? Why the need to distinguish. It’s like saying one race is more American than the other. Do other countries take this approach and provide special treatment for minority citizens. I think not. The United States may be the only the country in the world that erroneously refers to its American-born black citizens as “African” anything, even though they are not natives of Africa.
To conclude, America is land of many societal and ethnic problems, most of which are deeply rooted in racial tension, unfortunately. And this may stem from the language that is being used, the language that is generally accepted, when referring to individuals of various races of American citizens. Nonetheless, the country has come a long way since the even more negative and hostile terms used a century ago and longer. This kind of backwards racism does nothing but hold the country back from progress. It creates a divide among classes and races, so people see barriers among each other – not bridges that connect different kinds of people. We see the problems deriving from slavery even today, problems that may never cease to exist. These problems are even more exacerbated because black Americans were promised first-class citizenship, but this promise was never delivered. Maybe it was never meant to be delivered.
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