This may be the wrong network for this question, but here’s a try. In general, the terms “Black” and “African American” are considered non-derogatory among people in that group, with some preferring one and others the other and many people using them interchangeably. By contrast, many White young people are being taught that “African American” is the only acceptable term, and that “Black” is insulting. I am getting feedback from my students — few of whom are Black, some of whom have gone to integrated schools — that there are places where young AfAm/Black people take offense at the term Black, and other places where young AfAm/Black people laugh off or dislike African American and strongly prefer Black. So I’m pretty sure this is varying. My question is, does anybody know the parameters of how it is varying? What geographic areas or types of places go one way or the other? My hypothesis is that the only places where African American is preferred and Black is seen as derogatory is in White-dominated schools where the Black/AfAm kids are picking up what White kids are taught. But that could be wrong.
As an unrelated example, I’ve gotten from students the information that in Southern California (unlike the rest of the US), there are people (mostly Central Americans) who want to reserve the term Latino/a for Central Americans, and want to use the term Hispanic for Mexicans & Mexican-Americans/Chicano/as. (In the past Mexican Americans typically preferred the term Latino over the term Hispanic.) This debate seems to explain a peculiarity in California prison records, where non-Mexican Hispanics are coded as “Hispanic ethnicity unknown” in the variable that is supposed to be Hispanic: yes, no, not known.
I love this stuff on the shifting & evolving language of race, although I’m only tracking it informally through rumor. But if you know the answer (or some of it) to the Black vs AfAm question, or even have a relevant data point, I’d appreciate a response.