"African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa. They're very connected with Africa. They're focused on African Heritage. I'm not. I'm Black."
"We respect our African heritage, but that term is not really us," George said. "We're several generations down the line. If anyone were to ship us back to Africa, we'd be like fish out of water....It just doesn't sit well with a younger generation of black people," continued George, who is 38. "Africa was a long time ago. Are we always going to be tethered to Africa?"
Aisha Harris shares her own personal shift in identifiers in a Slate article titled, "Where I'm From". Harris explains that her father raised her to be an African American, proud of and connected to a distant African heritage. Over the years she used both African American and Black interchangeably. That changed when she visited Kenya for a wedding recently. In both American and Kenya she found that she is often asked the same question, "Where are you from." In Kenya, the implication was always: "Where in Africa are you from?" In the end, she writes,
"Having to explain what I am—an American with American parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents—emphasized the gulf between the Kenyan understanding of race and my own. For the Kenyans I interacted with, having black skin also means being African. For me, being black means, well, being black."
Even academic style guides have begun shifting from African American to Black. Grammarist explains:
"The term African-American was advanced in the 1980s to give Amercans of African descent an equivalent of German-American, Italian-American, and so on. The term peaked in popularity during the 1990s and 2000s, but today it is often perceived as carrying a self-conscious political correctness that is unnecessary in informal contexts. In informal speech and writing, black is often preferred and is rarely considered offensive."
For each of us, our identities are very personal. We construct our identities based on our experiences with groups and we try to choose which group affiliations we'll highlight by labeling these groups as part of our identity.
When we try to "correct" someone else regarding their identity we are trying to force our idea of who they should be onto them. In most cases, this creates a rift between the person doing the "correcting" and the person whose identity is, in their view, under attack.