Names of Groups

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

    Negro to Black to African American
    Indian to Amerind to Native American
    Persian to Iranian

    Why the name changes?
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    The name "Indian" was used because at the time of Columbus pretty much the whole of Asia was called India, later subdivided into Greater India, Lesser India etc. When Columbus landed in America he believed he had reached Asia, and so referred to the locals as Indians. It stuck.
    Not sure when it changed to Native American, or American Indian (Amerind is a portmanteau), or whether either of these is necessarily the most appropriate, but I can guess that American Indian was used to differentiate from Indians from India, and Native (or simply "native") Americans gives them their historical position as the indigenous population, prior to the European settlers etc.

    Iran is the Persian name for the country, and between the two world wars (1935, I think) the Iranian government requested that all those with whom they had diplomatic relations call the country Iran, rather than Persia. They obliged, and it has been Iran ever since.
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    In Canada, it went from Indian to Native to Aboriginal to Indigenous. First Nations is also used.
    I went to school with an Iranian in the seventies, just after the Revolution. He said that they call it Persia.
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  7. mathman Valued Senior Member

    Any thoughts on the Negro sequence?
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    "African American" is awkward in Canada because black and white people agree that we don't want to be mistaken for "Americans". We (black and white) still call them "black".
  9. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

    Negro was derived from "Negroid", a now disused term for people of dark skin tone. ( likely developed from the Latin nigreos, which means "black".)
    This devolved into into the derogatory term with the similar sound.
    Because of the similarity, "Negro" became associated with that other term, and thus "black" began to be used instead as a more acceptable substitute.
    African-American most likely arose from a desire to be less identified by outward appearance and more by ancestral origins. After all, You have German-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc. (I happen to be Finnish-American), so why would one group be any different just because of their skin-color? ( unless whole the point is to differentiate them just because of their skin color)
    As far as African-Americans in Canada, What's wrong with African-Canadian?
    Personally, I have no problem in calling people what hey want to be called.
  10. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    By way of apology for calling him an Indian, I asked if he would prefer : Indian or Native or Aboriginal or Indigenous or First Nations or Amerind or Native American
    He said: "Indian"
    When asked "why"
    he responded
    "Because every time I hear the word "Indian" it reminds me of the monumental stupidity of the white man."
    sideshowbob likes this.
  11. mathman Valued Senior Member

    I happen to be Jewish. I suppose American Jew or Jewish American could be used, but I have never heard it used for an individual, only in reference to a group.
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Because the earlier ones were put on by oppressors and enemies of the group in question, and intended to diminish the wearer. The next one or two were offered by allies from the privileged class. The most recent were chosen by members of the group themselves and accepted by the mainstream as descriptive/applicable/harmless.
  13. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    There, you have either a religious label or an ethnic one or both or neither.
    I doubt you'd find a minyan to agree on which.

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