Walter E. Williams

How liberals identify black people must be confusing to whites. Having been around for 77 years, I have been through a number of names. Among the more polite ones are colored, Negro, Afro-American, black and, more recently, African-American. Among those names, African-American is probably the most unintelligent. Let's look at it. To identify their races, suppose I told you that I had a European-American friend, a South America-American friend and a North America-American friend. You'd probably say, "Williams, that's stupid. Europe, South America and North America are continents and home to different races, ethnicities and nationalities." You might suggest that my friend is a German-American instead of European-American. My friend from Brazil is a Brazilian-American rather than a South America-American, and my friend from Canada is a Canadian-American instead of a North America-American. So wouldn't the same apply to people whose heritage lies on the African continent? For example, instead of claiming that President Barack Obama is the first African-American president, he's the first partially Kenyan-American president. Obama is lucky; he knows his national heritage. The closest thing to a national identity for most black Americans is some country along Africa's Gold Coast. Adding to the confusion, what would you call a white American of Afrikaner or Egyptian descent? Is he an African-American?

Liberals suffer confusion and cognitive dissonance because the rest of us don't help explain things to them.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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