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Do you think African Americans are a race, religion or ethnic group?Do you...

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akatude | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted April 24, 2012 at 3:47 PM via web

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Do you think African Americans are a race, religion or ethnic group?

Do you think African Americans are a race, religion or ethnic group?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:12 PM (Answer #2)

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If they are any of these things, they are a race.  We must keep in mind that race is only a social construct, though.

They aren't a religion because they can belong to many different religions.  They are not an ethnic group because African Americans can be Spanish-speaking, can come from Africa, or can come from ancestors who have been in North America since the 1600s.  This leaves only race.  To some extent, African Americans look different from the rest of us.  This is the only thing that they truly have in common with one another.  Therefore, they can only be called a race if we have to call them one of these things.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 24, 2012 at 9:57 PM (Answer #3)

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I am going to answer this question by eliminating religion from the discussion.  Many African Americans are Christian and there are growing numbers of African American Muslims in the United States.  For that simple fact, I don't think you could consider African Americans a religion.   In addition, most people chose their religion, whereas I cannot chose to be African American.

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megan-bright | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted July 28, 2012 at 6:02 PM (Answer #4)

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The first human can be traced back to Africa. African-American is simply a term used to denote the fact that many Black Americans have ancestors from Africa. In fact, scientifically speaking all races have ancestors that orginated in Africa if you want to get technical. http://www.selamta.net/Lucy.htm

None of this has anything to do with religion. There is nothing remotely similar to the two. 

 

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jali64 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 6, 2012 at 11:40 PM (Answer #5)

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If they are any of these things, they are a race.  We must keep in mind that race is only a social construct, though.

They aren't a religion because they can belong to many different religions.  They are not an ethnic group because African Americans can be Spanish-speaking, can come from Africa, or can come from ancestors who have been in North America since the 1600s.  This leaves only race.  To some extent, African Americans look different from the rest of us.  This is the only thing that they truly have in common with one another.  Therefore, they can only be called a race if we have to call them one of these things.

We are actually considered an ethnicty also due to the fact that we have a shared history (i.e. Middle Passage, slavery, African churche/organizations etc.).

Those that speak Spanish may refer to themselves as Black Latin/Afro- Latin, Afro descendants etc..

Those from Africa are generally if first generation, simply African, or country of origin Nigerian- American, Ghanian- American etc..

Even on the continent of Africa there are African American and Caribbean ancestries mixed into and ethnic group. Countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. You have the Americo Liberian and Sierra Leone Creoles to name just a couple.

We can't for get out influence of music and southern cuisine: R&B, Gospel,Soul, Jazz, Zydeco, Hip Hop, Funk, gumbo,sweet potatoe pie, dirty rice, jambalaya etc..

We are not just simply an invented race, we have a history that not only links to Africa but the entire African Diaspora

 

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