A can of worms
Are you African American?
The question practically fell off my tongue when I started shooting the first interview. A simple enough question, I thought. The complexities of answers, depth of emotions and rawness of passions have surprised me and led me down interesting paths of questioning.
The term ‘African-American’ has gained mainstream adoption as the proper way to describe black Americans, if not blacks in America. Now, the term is receiving some pushback: Is it based on race, ethnicity, looks, citizenship, geography, history, culture or some other criteria? Is a black Caribbean immigrant African-American? Is a Moroccan immigrant African American? Is an Indian African immigrant African American?
I remember asking one African immigrant who received her U.S. passport last year, “Are you African-American.” Her response: “Yes, since last year.”
Yes, we have opened a can of worms and the conversations so far demonstrate that the can badly needed opening. The goal of The Neo African Americans is to be one tool for opening this bursting can in a safe and respectful manner by allowing people to:
THINK through multiple lenses on these issues;
TALK about them in a safe, open and respectful manner (too often it is hush hush); and
TRANSFORM intra-racial and interracial relationships through a clearer understanding of issues and others.