Spoken by Eliot Chang, Asian-American comic:

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 28 23:09:31 UTC 2012

"I used to date a West-Indian girl. She was from Trinidad. She was
very dark-skinned. In fact, she _looked black_. When we went out,
since she _looked black_ and I look how I look, racists didn't know
who to confront first!"

Last year, on this same program - Comedy Central Presents - a white
comedian, discussing Obama's race, noted that major problems for white
Americans are the fact that his father was a native of Kenya and that
he himself wasn't born in the continental United States. "If his
father had been a native of Chicago and he had been born in
South-Central, we [white people] would *know* that he was black."

"You have to be born in the United States to be 'black.' "

That seems to be the way that Chang feels. The point of the bit hinged
on the fact that *he* definitely is not white and his girlfriend
*appeared to be black*, even though she was actually not, despite her
visual affect/aspect, what with her not being an American.

Is it generally the case that, for non-black Americans, the semantics
of the concept, _black_, *necessarily* includes "born in the
continental United States"?

FWIW, I feel that, for some people, a person born in sub-Saharan
Africa of sub-Saharan ancestry is not "black" in the same sense that a
black American is "black."

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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