Donald Trump Apparently Thinks All Black Americans Are African American
I thought Black History Month was off to an impressive start, considering Beyonce had just blessed us with a pregnancy announcement, but apparently I spoke too soon.
According to an official White House press release, Donald Trump has officially changed the name of Black History Month to African American History Month. TMZ reported that Trump felt the original title was “outdated” and that this would be a more appropriate title.
I’m actually not that surprised. A study in the Washington Post found that White people feel more comfortable using the term African American. The article stated, “By significant margins, white participants believed that the black applicant was lower status, with less education and less annual income than the African-American applicant.”
Trump shifting the name of the month is also less shocking, considering the monolithic way he has referred to Black Americans throughout his entire campaign. During the debates, he said Black Americans were living in hell. He claimed that African American communities “are being decimated by crime” and that his answer was bringing back stop-and-frisk, a practice that was deemed racist and unconstitutional in 2013.
The problem with calling it African American History Month is: not all Black Americans are African American. Blackness isn’t a trait that only belongs to African Americans. As a Caribbean American woman myself, Trump renaming this month feels like I’m being robbed of something. The new name also ignores those who identify as Afro-Latina, who are still Black and face specific nuanced experiences as Black Americans.
Calling all Black people African American ignores the specific cultural differences that exist in the Black community and that we have grown accustomed to celebrating every February. It’s insane that as we are shouting, “Black Lives Matter!” Trump felt authorized to say the word Black is outdated. It wasn’t enough that we got the shortest month, we had to get an inadequately labeled month too? Do better.