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DrJays.com Debate: Can a white man be African American?

Submitted by on May 15, 2009 – 10:00 am11 Comments


A Caucasian man by the name of Paulo Serodio calls himself African American. The 45 year-old was born in Mozambique, and later became an American citizen.

He claims that he was harassed and eventually suspended while he attended a New Jersey medical school, for calling himself “White African American”.

Serodio is now suing the school, stating to ABCNews.com, “this has destroyed my life, my career”.

He was ridiculed, assaulted and had his car vandalized after describing himself as White African American.

Serodio is seeking reinstatement at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, an undisclosed amount in medical damages and public acknowledgment that employees at the school violated his rights.

Your thoughts?

Source: BET

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  • Really good topic kiki. It depends on how you look at it. I say yes because if you go to africa there are white people there. People that were born and grew up there. So yes it’s their right. I think people over reacted at the “white” part with “african american”.

    The US is stupid at times. Especially at schools. If you think about it it’s kind of hypocritical lol. I’m black and panamanian… well and a bit chinese. One time I got corrected by a faculty member when I was asking for another one. I said “black” and he said “african american”. This went on for a bit. I salute him trying to be politically correct but not all blacks are or will consider themselves african american. Even if their history somehow goes back there over the span of whatever. There’s blacks from england, greece, cuba, jamaica, panama etc. If you refer to them as african american they’ll say no i’m greek, english etc.

    So I say black just to cover the whole range because as I explained to this one greek brotha one time, that he’s black. Your in the US now and if we get pulled over by a cop and they say all the black people get out the car. Nigga you gettin out the car with us because they will hit you with a night stick before you can say the word gyro. Hell I’m mixed and I know to get out the car. I’m not sticking around to clarify.

    But by that logic he’s in america now so he’d be considered white. There’s a point and time to where you haft to adapt to the environment. Or atleast know how others are thinking so you can better school them.

  • B Easy says:

    technically…a african american is a person who eitha has extremely close roots to africa (meaning that it hasnt been many generations since his or her family came to the states) or a person who has migrated here from africa and has claimed citizenship, henceforth coming the name “african american”.

    most ppl here have it conufused….this man really should be considered an african american. those of use descending from slaves should really be considered black americans becuz thats what we are. we were neva part of the african culture. its jus a matta of improper jargon…but its all good

  • B Easy says:

    and another thing ppl confuse… the term black does not describe nationality. its a description of a skin color. people outside of the US would view me as an American, not a black becuz saying im “black” does not tell them my nationality.

  • luxurylife says:

    Ok I agree but most white in african are of danish or England background and to be honest this guy did this to stir up controversy get 5 mins of limelight becuse race is still a big issue here had a black man considered himself white would be having the same conversation???

  • Pebbles says:

    this is dumb as sh*t although yess it sounds odd calling a white man an african american if he was born and raised in Mozambique he is African that does not mean he is off African descent but he is technically an African American. Cuz foreal if we taking it there that a person cant distinguish themself by where they are from then unless we are Native American we shouldnt be callin ourselves Americans either, its the same damn thing we all come from different places 9 outta 10 of us our ancestors dont come from America they come from some other country but we all still call ourselves Americans cuz we live here….dude was doin the same thing! Luxury how you figure he jus wanted his 5 mins of fame when his a** got suspended from med school i sure nuff would be makin a big a** deal if i got suspended fromschool for sum bs like that too. Even if he does refer to himself as an African American (which I dont see any problem with being that he is from African and then received his American citizenship) what I dont get is why did it bother other people so much to the point he had to f*ck up his studies to please other people. Like i really dont understand why that would offend someone that bad that the school would have to go to such lengths. But who knows Luxury you could be 100% right his a** could jus be makin the situation a bigger deal than what it is. Its hard to know the full story only readin a couple lines

  • Chris J The Genius says:

    Okay, I let the debate fester. Now it’s time to add my two cents. This reminds me of a quote by Malcolm X that is very timely in this discussion. Malcolm X, of course, had preached Black Nationalism for most of his adult life. However, after returning from his pilgrimage to Mecca, he had this to say:
    “Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white, but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all together, irrespective of their color.”
    He went on to say that these people were all seen simply as what they were – human beings. I am a Christian, and despite different religious views I can respect, acknowledge, and appreciate the merit of the late great leader’s words. We have had it wrong for too long here in America, judging people based on where they come from, how they look, and what labels we have for them. How shallow are we in the land of the free and the home of the brave? It’s a shame, ladies and gentlemen. Regardless of labels, countries of origin, ethnicity, nationality, etc; we all need to learn to see past the colors that make us different to the nature and essence which make us the same. He was born in Africa, moved to America, and his skin is white. That makes him a white African American. Even those who disagree with this should be able to allow the man to call himself what he wants. He has a right to express himself, as do they. They are free to voice their disagreements but absolutely no one should be penalized. Because they have punished him, his rights have been violated and I look forward to hearing the outcome of his proverbial “day in court.”

  • Kwaping says:

    Sorry I’m late to this, been on vacation…

    First of all, yes the man is a true African American. It doesn’t get any more plain and simple than that.

    What this whole thing highlights is how it is wrong to call all pigment-blessed people African American. This is what B Easy said, in a nutshell.

    What we really need is a better “pc” way to refer to pigment-blessed people. Would “dark-skinned” be best? Can we say “black” again? Caucasians are not actually white (well, most aren’t), yet nobody gets upset when the term “white” is used. Why is “black” different? We know you’re not actually black (unless you’re really, really tan).

    I am a “white” man who wants to know how to refer to “black” people, and not offend anyone. Please help me!

  • Chris J The Genius says:

    You can’t go wrong if you use the simple term, “Brotha.”

  • Rick Lexington says:

    Actually yeah you can lol. It’s all in your tone and aproach. IF YOU CAN’T RELATE DON’T TRY TO ACT LIKE YOU CAN. Stuff just goes wrong. BUT DO TRY TO UNDERSTAND. Some dude in panama approached me all crazy like he was in a rap video and I almost dropped him. He was saying bro blah blah… but his tone and body actions were saying imma hit you.

    Ok we see your white. Just talk how you talk to other people. I got a lot of asian friends and sometimes when they try to relate I want to say “eh STFU that’s not how you talk to other people so show me the same damn courtesy”. Sometimes at parties, oh man. And when we go out.

    I used to work with a white dude who talked hood but I and every black dude were cool with it because he was from the hood and could relate. Not everyone knows about ben davis etc. There was this white girl from school and it was just weird. She would talk normal but then one day she saw me at a taco bell and came with mad lingo. Then another time we had a class discussion and when it was between her, me and this other brotha the slang came again. I looked at him and this sista like wtf. They said “I know” at the same time.

    Sorry for the lecture but I just felt it had to be said lol.

  • Veronica says:

    oh Kwaping, don’t say “brotha” if your from the south, people might think your tryin to be a smart a$$. lol. I never heard of a black person offended at a white person calling them black. easy way to know what to call people of another race is to call them whatever they call them on the news, because they always use the most politically correct way to refer to anyone. Always, its like they research it.

  • [...] 45 year-old was born in Mozambique , and later became an American. Here is the original post:  DrJays.com Debate: Can a white man be African American? | DrJays … Share and [...]

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