You can't say with any certainty that a black man is african-american. He may be cuban, or jamaican, or australian.
Apparently no one bothered to explain to him that black, like African American, is a community, a culture, an identity, not a simple description of skin colour.
This quote, especially in the context of comments about how complex our use of the term "black" is, seems to me to be quite frankly racist in its own right. Really, "black" is a community, a culture, an indentity?All these pacific islanders must have exactly the same culture as african americans - after all, theyre black. All these africans must have exactly the same culture as cubans - after all, theyre black.
At the very least it seems to be offensively US-centric (or australian centric, judging by one of the quoted conversations?), where they have failed to even realise that there are black people who might not be african american. At the very least it shouldnt be that hard to remember that there are africans as well as african americans, and to realise that african american culture is not interchangable with african culture.
“Where are you from?”
“No, where are you really from?”
“Wow, your English is so good! You’re always so quiet, I just assumed… ”
(Apparently only foreign people are quiet and keep to themselves?)
I have a relevant anecdote: My cousin, who is a tall, confident, fast-talking, white, Australian male, has been to the US a few times... iirc this particular time he went as part of a basketball exhibition tour. He reported a very similar exchange.
"Where are you from?" "Australia" "Oh, wow, your english is really good!"
Having dark skin and being quite may have had something to do with the reactions this writer got, but these things also happen to people who are neither dark skinned nor quiet.