By K. A. Dilday who is a columnist for the online magazine Open Democracy.


I???M black again. I was black in Mississippi in the 1970s but sometime in the 1980s I became African-American, with a brief pause at Afro-American. Someone, I think it was Jesse Jackson, in the days when he had that kind of clout, managed to convince America that I preferred being African-American. I don???t.

Now I live in Britain where I???m black again. Blacks in Britain come from all over, although many are from the former colonies. According to the last census, about half of the British people who identify as black say they are black Caribbean, about 40 percent consider themselves black African, and the rest just feel plain old black. Black Brits are further divided by ancestral country of origin, yet they are united under the term black British ??? often expanded to include British Asians from the Indian subcontinent.

Read K. A.’s story.

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  1. Not exactly sure how I landed on this page, but I was looking for a way to email K.A. Dilday.

    I read your article today in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, taken fromt eh New York Times. It was titled “Back to black”.

    Well, while you’re idea of removing the term “African-American” from the English vocabulary, I think I have an even better idea.

    How about eliminating the word black also? It sounds like you’re just trading one word for another. Besides, words carry meaning that is created every time we speak. So if you just change words, it’s only a matter of time until the word ‘black’ carries the meaning that the term ‘African-American’ has today.

    Language is very powerful as you must know. It wasn’t until I participated in this course called The Landmark Forum – – that I realized that language literally creates people’s reality. That is why I’m writing this to you. I recommend that course to you, BTW.

    Here’s a way I to illustrate what I am trying to communicate. BTW, several people have reported a similar example to me:

    A white child has a black child as a friend. They grow together and spend a lot of time together. One day the mother of the white child drives her up to the school where they can see the black child standing there. The white child says “that’s my friend”. The mother says “the black girl?”. This is the first time the white girl notices that her friend is black.

    This is an example of how language creates reality. Nothing exists in the mind until it’s put in there, and language is definitely a powerful way to do it. Like I said, many people have reported a similar experience. I have a friend right now who is Caucasian and raises a child of Chinese origin (very different looks). The child does not realize yet that she is “ethnically different”. Some day she will. And how that will happen is that someone will describe it to her. Someone will say “why are you Asian when your mom isn’t?”

    So what I’m proposing is that we eliminate terms like Asian-American and African-American altogether. What have this distinction? We’re all just people.

    Yes, you may see where I am going with this. Ultimately I want to eliminate the term “American” because we are all just people. But that would be too radical of an approach. Let’s start with eliminating the prefix that is completely unnecessary and racist, and call all Americans just Americans.

    Then hopefully some day we’ll learn that American is also a made-up label for people who have American citizenship. Hopefully some day we can call humans just “people”. This was Martin Luther’s King.

    If we are able to eliminate words like “black” and “white” from our vocabulary, I can guarantee you that pretty soon we can no longer see black and white. We’ll see just people. Then we might think that it’s because “the black people intermarriaged with the white people and the colors have mixed”; perhaps not realizing the reality is created by language and it’s actually our clean language that is allowing us to see ourselves for who we really are: just people.

  2. Black Women in Europe

    rptizzle, you may be able to find contact information for K.A. Dilday here:

  3. Thank you for directing me to that site.
    I wish writers and journalists weren’t so hard to contact. If people have that power to say things, they should have a way to hear too!

  4. focusedpurpose


    i am familiar with the landmark forum. as well as the power of words and images.

    let me say this. as a white man when you say people are just people—what do you mean?

    white people have given themselves permission to rampage around the world–whites are a world minority—and violently rape, murder, pillage and oppress everyone that does not look like them. all in the name of “civilization”.

    in fact whites have historically deemed non-whites as subhuman and commissioned science projects to corroborate their wicked lies.

    deracializing or not noticing all the beautiful aspects and hues of humanity is not the solution. in fact, it is an offensive suggestion coming from a white man. it smacks of white supremacy.

    i strongly urge those that are black african to fully embrace their blackness. in fact, white invaders have settled violently in africa, raping the continent for her resources, inhumanely dealing with the indigenous africans and to add insult to injury now stake claim to the “african” title.

    so when you say that people are just people. that is a lie. white people behave as sociopaths-look up the clinical definition- in relation to all that are in possession of more melanin and are genetically dominant (people of color).

    your friend should teach his/her adopted child about their rich culture, racial identity and heritage. to refuse to do so is negligent.

    in closing, you and your good white people should focus on acting humanely in spite of color. i am black black black beautiful black and i don’t care who that glorious assertion offends.


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