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Yes! I remember the hilarious look of confusion on the face of one of my college students when I pointed out that she couldn’t call someone who was a British black “African American.” She honestly couldn’t think what else to call someone black: the two terms were synonymous for her, apparently regardless of nationality.

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Look up the “one-drop rule.” For most of US history the gauge for whether a person was black as if they had any black ancestry. Nowadays it comes down more to outward appearance and cultural identity, but the one-drop rule is still alive and well in the minds of many Americans, whether intentionally/maliciously or not.

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