0
  1. In the case of African American, Africa is a continent, so is it indeed understood to mean an American of African descent and who most probably doesn't have citizenship in any African country? Same with Asian American?

  2. There's kind of a problem I notice with cases where we're dealing with non-continents say

    • 2.1 - Filipino Americans: For example, Wesley So (world champion in chess 960) was a Filipino citizen and then now is an American citizen but not a Filipino citizen. How do you distinguish Wesley So from other people who are actually dual citizens of both the US and the Philippines? And btw, is it indeed correct to call Wesley So a Filipino American as opposed to a Filipino-born American?

    • 2.2 - Cf Alireza Firouzja, another chess supergrandmaster, is indeed a dual citizen of both France and Iran, so we call the guy Iranian-French. Would we actually use the term 'Iranian-French' to describe citizens of France who have Iranian descent?

    • 2.3 - Chinese Filipinos: I think this was what Wesley So was up to 2013: a citizen of the Philippines who has Chinese descent but didn't have any citizenship in China. How would you have distinguished Wesley So from people like me who are actually citizens of both Hong Kong and the Philippines? (Btw, I don't necessarily have any Chinese descent, but my paternal relatives and I are said to look a little 'Chinese'. Also if Hong Kong vs Mainland vs Macau is an issue, then just pretend I'm a mainland citizen instead of a Hong Kong citizen. Afaik, Hong Kong citizen just means Mainland citizen with Hong Kong residence or something.)

  3. Strictly speaking, are the terms African American, Asian American, Filipino American, Filipino Chinese, etc actually wrong? Eh, I just wish people would say like Y of X descent instead of X-Y if that's what they really mean of course...and assuming it's correct lol. Cf Raven-Symoné says 'I’m not an African-American. I’m an American.'

2 Answers 2

5

The term "African American" has a meaning that's based on decendancy rather than any notion of dual citizenship. See this overview on Wikipedia. The meaning of the term "African American" has a unique socio-political context that doesn't generalize to the other combination descriptors, but none of the terms you've listed imply anything about citizenship.

"Iranians in France are referred to by hyphenated terms such as French-Iranians or French-Persians."

Strictly speaking, are the terms African American, Asian American, Filipino American, Filipino Chinese, etc actually wrong?

No. Strictly speaking, these terms do not have the meaning you're assuming about them. They imply only descendancy or community, not citizenship.

I just wish people would say like Y of X descent instead of X-Y.

When it is important to distinguish between citizenship descriptors and descendancy descriptors, it might be helpful to use more specific phrasing as you suggest, but it would be important to explain what you mean so that people don't assume the more general meanings.

Raven-Symoné says 'I’m not an African-American. I’m an American.'

Self-identity is complex and I would defer to anyone's own description of their identity.

6
  • 3
    Notably, the term "African American" is rarely used for descendants or citizens of North African countries, who may identify as Arab-Americans or Egyptian-Americans. And, of course Indian Americans and American Indians are used quite differently. So +1 for "identity is complex" alone.
    – James K
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 19:16
  • @JamesK ah because north africa is more associated as part of the middle east than with the (rest of the) continent africa?
    – BCLC
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 7:55
  • Thanks Arya. Actually I think I figured out the case for dual citizen. If Wesley So later reacquired Philippine citizenship then we might call Wesley So not 'Filipino American' but 'Filipino and American' ? (FYI: Currently that's what Wesley So's Wikipedia page says. Not because Wesley So actually reacquired already but because Wesley So represented the Philippines formerly.) So yeah dual citizen = 'and' and then X of Y descent = no 'and' ?
    – BCLC
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 7:57
  • As for Alireza Firouzja...wait why is it French Iranian rather than Iranian French? I thought the origin comes 1st and then the new citizenship comes 2nd like African American, Filipino American, etc.
    – BCLC
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 8:02
  • 1
    The meaning of the term "African American" has a unique socio-political context that doesn't generalize to the other combination descriptors,
    – James K
    Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 8:06
-1

I think I figured out the case for dual citizen. If Wesley So later reacquired Philippine citizenship then we might call Wesley So not 'Filipino American' but 'Filipino and American'.

So yeah dual citizen of X&Y = 'X and Y' and then X of Y descent = 'Y X', and there's no 'and'...But I think the French-Iranian thing seems to be the opposite like they're doing 'X Y' instead of 'Y X'. Lol idk.

I'm not sure if Alireza Firouzja is a dual citizen but then if so, then I guess we'd call Alireza 'French and Iranian'.

  • I think I read Alireza IS dual BUT wants to drop Iranian citizenship but can't actually until reaching a certain age. But in that case, yeah after Alireza drops we get supposedly 'Iranian French' but for some reason they do 'French Iranian'.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .