"Deep within the word “American” is its association with race. To identify someone as a South African is to say very little; we need the adjective “white” or “black” or “colored” to make our meaning clear. In this country it is quite the reverse. American means white, and Africanist people struggle to make the term applicable to themselves with ethnicity and hyphen after hyphen after hyphen."
Toni Morrison, “Romancing the Shadow”