There are African Americans, as in the term long used by many to refer to black Americans, and there are African Americans, as in immigrants from Africa and their families. One blanket label, two groups with very different histories and identities.
The question of how to distinguish the two in words is an old one, but it's had a bit more attention lately. A post today on Multi-American's sister blog DCentric in Washington, D.C. highlights a recent Associated Press story by reporter Jesse Washington in which he describes how "African American" became a popular term in the 1980s, and the backlash against it as many people today prefer to be described simply as black. Blogger Elahe Izadi puts the debate in context, taking in where black Latinos or lighter-skinned North African immigrants might fit in: