>African Americans in the XVIth Century Spain

>Now I have discovered that it isn’t just the word “Jew” that my students resist pronouncing. They also have a problem with the word “black.”

Lazarillo de Tormes and The Swindler: Two Spanish Picaresque Novels (Penguin Classics)We are reading a XVIth century Picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tormes. The stepfather of the main character is a black slave from Africa. When I ask my students who the stepfather is, however, they keep saying that he is “African-American.” I have pointed out twice that this character could have hardly been “African-American” for the obvious reasons. Yet the problem persists. Now they have taken to saying that he is “Well, you know.” Which, of course, annoys me beyond what I can express. We can’t go through the course well-you-knowing important realities and groups of people.

The novel is actually great. So I highly recommend it as good, fun reading.

About these ads

10 comments on “>African Americans in the XVIth Century Spain

  1. >It seems to fit the model I offered with respect to (not mentioning) the Jews: there is nothing antisemitic in that phenomenon, students are just extremely afraid to say something politically incorrect…

  2. >I love being called black…imagine that. :)Seriously, I hope we'll get back to being black, white and a Jew. What's the big deal?Maybe it's because black is used to define everything ugly in this world.But we love wearing black dresses, buying black cars, shoes, etc.hmmm…African American is a little pretentious. While I am proud of my African heritage, I don't think its necessary to label me so. A quick glanceat me will let you know where my dominant roots are.Okay, so black people want to have a specific name too, like, say…the Italians.In conclusion, Black is my preference, but African American is okay too. :)

  3. >Is it some form of Americocentrism then? I once had students ask me if we had "Thanksgiving" holiday in Nigeria.That said, I've wondered also why Black been replaced with African-Americans in formal circles. African-American is not a race, it's a tag. The race is either "African" or "Black", or "Negroid" if we want to be specific. But I understand how the last one might make some people uncomfortable, because of how it might eventually be modified again, in favour of an easily-pronunciable American version. Oh langauge.

  4. >I think it's a little bit of all these things. Americocentrism, unhealthy political correctness, and of course some lingering racism. If you don't think there is anything "wrong" or shameful about being black or jewish, you won't have any trouble saying these words.

  5. Pingback: Lincoln: Clarissa’s Review | Clarissa's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s