It can get pretty sticky sometimes.
It doesn't sit well with me to refer to groups of a race by their race. Of course I support them if that's an important part of their identity, but I prefer to think of them as "people" first and "black" or "Chinese" or "Native" last. Occasionally it is relevant, e.g. the Indigenous Peoples are going through a lot of struggles in Canada right now, trying to reclaim their land and their birthrights, so they are acting as a unified group on account of their race. But more frequently, I find that "group labels" are used to generalize about irrelevant aspects of their character. "Blacks are like this" or "Natives are like that." Yech.
Many black people living in the US are not of African descent. I secretly giggle when someone refers to someone who is obviously Jamaican as "African."
Hey, how did Jamaica get full of black people anyway? Geographically, wouldn't it make more sense if they resembled the native populations in Cuba or Columbia?
Many Alaskan Natives only became Alaskan when Canada and the US arbitrarily put up a border. Traditionally, they were nomads, following the herds across barren fields of ice. So genealogically, Alaskan Natives are the same as Canadian Inuits.
We don't have many black people in Canada, and most of them are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants. So if we call them anything, it's Nigerian or Kenyan or Sudanese.
What we do have a lot of is Indigenous Peoples. Colonial genocide was far less effective up here, thankfully. That being said, our government did a real number on their culture.
I'm always surprised that a lot of Natives use the term Indian, and own that label with fierce pride. When I was young, I learned about the misnomer, how the first Europeans thought they'd made it all the way to India. So to me, "Indian" was always the "worst" thing you could call a Native because it was so patently "wrong." But then again, most black people aren't really black, and white people are anything but white.
I also think it's interesting how fiercely Americans guard putting "American" in racial labels. Chinese Americans, African Americans, Native Americans... Rather than "of Chinese descent" etc. But then, Canadians aren't nearly as loud in their patriotism, so I've never been able to relate to that phenomenon.
Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).
The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."