Identity Politics: Afrocaribbeamerican or Cablinasian

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Ever since the first indentured servants were exchanged for goods off the Man-O-War in Jamestown, Virginia in 1690, Black people in the United States of America have grappled with the contentious issue of how they should be addressed. This issue of nomenclature is at the heart of the search for a collective Black identity in the United States. Today, one facet of the debate is who has the right, or permission, to refer to themselves as "African American." This debate involves United States of American-born Blacks, who are descendants of slaves, African-born immigrants, and Black immigrants from the other Americas and the Caribbean. American-born Blacks contend that, identifying as African American gives Black immigrants (regardless of whether they are legal residents or citizens of the USA) access to resources, like medical and educational, which therefore reduces available resources to American-born Blacks. In return Black immigrants contend that American-born Blacks appear to be more interested in their “bling” than their B+ average.

Keywords: Identity, Immigration, Identity Politics, Black Identity, USA Politics, African, African American, Afrocaribeean, Cablinasian
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Identity Politics

Wole Ojurongbe

Program Administrator/Registrar, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program, Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA

I work as the Administrator/Registrar for the M.A.L.S. program at Dartmouth College. I have Master’s in Business Administration and am pursuing a Master’s in Creative Writing. I am currently working on an oral history/biographical account of my mother’s early years in Trinidad before she emigrated to Nigeria; and as an African-born Black man living in the United States of America, I am invested in the struggle for a collective Black identity in the United States, which by virtue of the US' position in the World today, has become a Global issue.

Ref: D08P0128