Two white guys pontificate on what to call black people
Andy Rooney and Don Imus (yecch):
Rooney: "I object every time I hear the words "African-American," you know? I don’t know why we have gotten caught with that."Why either of these buffoons think they should have any say in this matter is beyond me.
Imus: "Yeah, I don’t either."
Rooney: "I mean, am I an "Irish-American?"
Imus: "What should I say, just "black" right?”
Rooney: "Well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with "black." Growing up, it's funny how words get to be opprobrious. The word "negro," perfectly good word. It's a strong word and a good word. I don't see anything wrong with that. Mostly it's not necessary to identify anyone by skin color. But I don’t care for "African-American."
Imus: "I won’t use it anymore."
I mean, I actually don't think Rooney's wrong about the word "Negro" - there's nothing intrinsically wrong with that word, that I know of (it's just Spanish for "black"). But for whatever reason, it has become a term associated with racism, which is a shame - it is indeed a good, strong word. The same dynamic is at work with the term "colored people," which is also seen as objectionable, while "people of color" is not.
But I don't think I'm saying something very controversial when I say that the decision as to which word is appropriate is something that black folks can hash out just fine by themselves, without the help of two old white guys who decide they "don't care for" certain terms.