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Lost & Found: On The Distinction Between Being An African-American & Being A Romah.

Some have asked why the term Romah is being used instead of the term African-American to describe we individuals of Romathi origin. The answer is quite simple. African-American is a construct or amalgam of two continental entities namely African and American. As such it describes a people who are by origin African but who by circumstance are American. While this in itself is accurate in terms of describing the past origination and present situation of the Romah it is too broad a term to describe us only as it is also accurate in describing many other peoples currently residing in America.

People of African origination in America all lay equal claim to being African-American. But certainly not all African people in America are the same in terms of how they arrived in America. They are diverse in their ethnicity culture history etc. We Romah are a unique people in America and in the world. We can be called African-American alongside the other Africans in America but we must have a name that defines us specifically as a people in our historical and cultural context, a name that speaks to our uniqueness. That name is Romah. But the reasons for the distinction between African-American and Romah continue. The name African-American as it is commonly used does not refer to all Africans who find themselves under American citizenship but only that group who arrived in America under the subjection of that peculiar institution of American slavery. African-American then denotes a people who have lost their freedom, history, culture, religion, language, and any sense of National identity outside of the American post slavery context. The name Romah on the other hand doesn't refer to any other group of Africans but us. It denotes a people with a unique identity who posses a history, culture, religion, language, and freedom. So while we don't support abolishing the term African-American, we do support its correct and appropriate usage to refer to all Africans born or naturalized as citizens in America, in the identical way that the terms European-American and Asian-American are used, and not in the narrow and incorrect application to refer to the Romah only with the associated negative connotations. Calling oneself African-American is fine so long as the true meaning of the name, its precise definition, and its limitation is understood by one's self and others. It is a term that can be used to refer to all Black people in America. Romah is a name that is applicable to only some of the Black people of America and this is an important distinction when it comes to talking about ethnicity as opposed to race.

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