Margaret Lee's paper; was: Re: Jesse Jackson wants to ban "N-word"

Margaret Lee mlee303 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Dec 3 23:21:07 UTC 2006

I was asked by the editor of a local university's student newspaper to write an op-ed piece on an issue that had sparked much debate on the campus: whether [Blacks] should call themselves African Americans, or  simply Americans.  However, in the staff's rush to get the paper to press, I was not able to submit the article on time. Now I use it in my classes.


"Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at UMR.EDU> wrote:
  This paper sounds very interesting. Was it ever published? Was there any further discussion based on it?

Gerald Cohen


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Margaret Lee
Sent: Fri 12/1/2006 5:29 AM
Subject: Re: Jesse Jackson wants to ban "N-word"

FWIW, this is an excerpt from a paper I wrote on the subject a few years ago:

The shift from Black to African American occurred in 1988 when Dr. Ramona Edelin, President of the National Urban Coalition, proposed that the next year's meeting be called, not the Black Summit, but the African American Summit. The purpose of this change was to reassess the condition of blacks in America while "linking Africans in North America with those on the Continent of Africa and throughout the Diaspora "(Smitherman, in Mufwene et al., 1998, 213).

Margaret Lee

Wilson Gray wrote:
The Reverend Jesse Jackson is the first and only person, except for a
few members of this list, that I know of to argue for the replacement
of "black" by "African-American." Well, I do know that the idea
replacing "black" with "African-African didn't spring full-blown from
the Reverend Jackson's forrid. Rather, he merely jumped upon the
bandwagon and made the concept his own. And I'm aware that there exist
other spokesmen for Black, uh, African-American America who have also
argued in favor of "African-American."nor do I have any idea of what their arguments are. Indeed, I'm
totally unaware even of the Reverend Jackson's arguments in favor of
"African-American," given that ignoring his and anyone else's
arguments, to quote Ike Turner, "was my plan from the ve'y beginnin'."


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