It would be a mistake to think that my concern about the identification of my race reflects anything less than my profound pride in being an African American who is the great-grandson of slaves. It is because of that pride that I take issue with the disrespectful mention of my racial identity in this context.
In other words, and to step back and answer the first of my two questions, I am, in fact, an African-American scientist. But that's not all I am.
Like all scientists, I have worked hard in my career, and I have had the good fortune to benefit from several mentors and advisors, men and women of diverse races and ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds who opened doors for me and made sure that I had opportunities to succeed.