Obama Is Kenyan-American and Not African-American. Here’s Why.

The term African-American is used to identify American Blacks who are decedents of American slaves. They are called “African-American” since their country of origin is unknown. We do not use the term “European-American” since European decedents know their country of origin; thus, Irish-American, Italian-American, etc. If the African country of origin is known for a person, then that person is not African-American. Let’s examine the issue and some examples.

Many South African whites including Afrikaners immigrated to the USA and have established themselves here as American citizens. Technically, they would be “African-Americans” since they are from Africa and Americans. But, limiting the use of this designation to decedents of American slaves would prevent them from calling themselves African-American.

Barach Obama’s father is from Kenya, his mother is from America and he was born in Hawaii. This makes him Kenyan-American. The fact that he had all the advantages of not growing up African-American while taking advantage of all the opportunities reserved for them is why it is key to be precise in using these type of identifiers. Opportunities developed on the basis of African-American’s history should not be used for non-African-American even if they are Black.


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