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That's true, we do say Native Americans. I didn't think of that, I think I was only thinking of recent immigrants. I would put them in a whole other category. Other than Native Americans, if a person's family has been here for many generations they tend to just say they're American. |
I looked up those phrases, and they all just say it refers to a person of that ethnic descent, whatever it may be (Chinese, African, etc...), whether they were born here or moved here. So as we both said, it can mean either situation.
In my daily life however, I only hear these terms used on recent immigrants and their children, or by people who want to purposely declare their heritage. I know people who were born in another country, or their parents were, who don't use these labels at all. They just say "American".
And for some of us, it would be very inconvenient to rattle of all the nationalities we are!
As for African-American, I heard of a famous black person (don't remember who right now) who was actually born in Africa, and moved to the US, and he said that HE is African-American, but black who have been born here are simply "American". Personally I don't see the need to say Anything-American unless you are still very close to that country (you were born there or your parents were). Hmmm, other thoughts come up, but they should probably be another topic...