Thank you for this. I was born in Australia to Anglo-Celtic & European ancestors. When writing about Black people (your term) I worry about causing offence or adopting fashionable terms that may be offensive or obscure to future readers.

My own preference - to the limited extent that I am entitled to one - is for descriptive 'African-American', 'Native-American', 'Latin-American' etc. Perhaps we should say 'European-American' rather than just 'American' to describe descendants of colonisers. These terms emphasise that all are American while preserving specificity of reference. Data should never be lost or obscured.

Against the latter, integrationists might see these terms as divisive. I do not; we know our histories & differences. That knowledge need not divide us. Australia is even more multicultural than US (29% first or second generation immigrants against ~25% for US). Seeing, hearing & learning our differences is mutual joy & enrichment.

We do harm each other when it is stated or implied that 'Black', 'Coloured' or 'White' think or feel differently. Cultural & historical differences determine present circumstance & opportunity; those do qualify experience & response, but we are all neuro-biologically identical.

I am 'white' - 'though visibly less white than my wife of Austrian ancestry - with friends of all shades, particularly in Ghana where 'black' covers a broad range. Skin colour is just an entertaining fact, like eye or hair colour. It has no meaning.

--

Australian male born 1952, Adelaide. Anti-religious, socialist. Walk, think, inquire, learn; share ideas, music & pleasure.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
David Lee Andrew

David Lee Andrew

Australian male born 1952, Adelaide. Anti-religious, socialist. Walk, think, inquire, learn; share ideas, music & pleasure.