Spoken by Eliot Chang, Asian-American comic:

Michael Newman michael.newman at QC.CUNY.EDU
Sun Jan 29 08:06:16 UTC 2012

Don't assume that she had African ancestry. She might have been of Indian background. Think Nicki Minaj. Note that Indian-West Indians are often difficult for those not familiar with that community to place into our US standard racial categories because of West Indian influenced hairstyle and clothes meet East Indian facial features. Of lexical interest, they're sometimes called "Chutneys" in NYC which I am assured is not offensive.

Associate Professor of Linguistics
Queens College/CUNY
michael.newman at qc.cuny.edu

On Jan 29, 2012, at 12:09 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Spoken by Eliot Chang, Asian-American comic:
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> "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."
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> 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
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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