At O.Y.E. we are continually searching and listening to online conversations to create multicultural reports on trending topics. In these last few weeks, we used our software to analyze company response and support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Along with this work, we examined the terminology we used to identify multicultural conversations online.

Black or African American

Currently, within O.Y.E. software, we use the term African American to identity any conversation shared or posted by a black person who resides in the United States. However, we learned from our recent research that many members of the black community do not prefer the term African American as they were born in the U.S. and may not feel a connection to Africa, the continent. So, we dug a bit further. We asked our peers and partners from the black community to settle on which term, Black or African American, would be most appropriate to use in OYE research analysis.

Black or African American?

In a recent article on the topic of which term is most appropriate, Keith Mayes, an associate professor of African American and African studies at the University of Minnesota, states that the words can be used interchangeably. He added that some believe African American is too limiting for the current population.“Those who are descendants of slaves were referred to as African American. The percentage of those black folks are going down. It used to be 97, 98 percent of black folk that you would encounter that would be descendants of slaves as African American,” Mayes said. “We have a lot of East Africans here. West Africans here, always had a lot of Caribbean Blacks in the United States.”

In another recent article from CBS News, author Cydney Adams explains that, “Black is often a better default that recognizes and celebrates the race, culture, and lived experiences of people all over the world.”

After educating ourselves on this evolving topic, we decided to switch to the term Black, with a capital B, in all future O.Y.E. reports to be inclusive of all black people in the United States. When reading future O.Y.E. reports, this means that all graphs will identify the ethnicity ‘Black Americans’ and will refer to Black Americans as ‘the Black community’, ‘the Black audience’, and other similar phrases using the capital B version of black.

Initiatives by O.Y.E. Sister Companies to Support the Black Community

To learn more about other initiatives from our sister companies, read our latest blog post on Nativa Doing More To Support The Black Community.