Tuesday, November 15, 2005

CNN anchor makes mistake---shows superiority of new media

You can read all about it here, here, and here and probably a million other sites.

It's pretty clear some people don't like the term African American. I don't know why. It seems to me like a pretty straightforward name for a group of people. It has the advantage of enjoying wide support in the community it is supposed to label.

The only problem I see is that it has too narrow a focus. It doesn't refer to a race, but to a group of people of a certain race in a certain geographic area. So surprise, surprise, people get confused about when to use it. And some people end up using it "wrongly".

I can imagine, given enough time, that the it will undergo semantic broadening and eventually come to mean the race. Then we can count on pedants to complain ala "why do we park in a driveway and drive in a parkway?" I can't wait for that!

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