Happy Black History Month. In addition to celebrating our country's notable Africa-American leaders, I've encountered some celebrations of African culture. Which always leaves me wondering whether other black Americans feel left out. For instance, Caribbean cultures. The Dominican individuals I've met speak Spanish, so does this make them Latino and NOT black or African-American? How do they regard Black History celebrations of African culture? I was listening to a song by Blackalicious that talks about African-Americans not being American, referring instead to brothers all around the world.
Of course, the most important question is, why does it matter? Individuals identify themselves differently, and how they perceive themselves is more important than how I perceive them, at least in regards to race/ethnicity. The manner in which I interact with them is unlikely to change. Some people I've met see themselves as black Americans, some people I've met see themselves as having strong African roots. I imagine that being African and being African-American in the U.S. probably means very different things. But what? and why?