January 30, 2005

What's wrong with just, plain American?

I read a speech an an alumni magazine this weekend given by the president of the university in which he reflected on the civil rights struggle in the South and spoke about how "African-Americans" and "Anglo-Saxon Americans" joined hands and fought the good fight. Well, it was a good fight, no question about that. But what sent me over the edge was this pathetic example of academic, racial group think/categorization, speech. The good president meant, White. If he meant Anglo-Saxon American, he left out all of those of Italian, German, French, Polish, Russian, etc. heritage who did their part in the civil rights struggle. Besides, do we really need to point out that the Angles and the Saxons have not really been around much since, oh, the Roman occupation of Britain?

What's wrong with just plain American? It was good enough for my ancestors when they became American. They did not insist on some prefix to "honor their heritage". Besides, I think I've said this before, but claiming kinship with the entire African continent is just stupid. How many different languages are spoken in Africa? A lot. Too many for someone to claim a connection, credibly, to the entire continent.

Why aren't we happier about just being American? It is good enough for me.

Posted by Random Penseur at January 30, 2005 04:50 PM

I was all excited to see that you'd posted something new...cause the last post just made my blood boil (yes, I agree with everyone else, horseshit.)

Then I read this post...and realized that it makes my blood boil too.

I'm with ya RP.

Posted by: C at January 30, 2005 05:12 PM

:oP to this horseshit, too!

Posted by: Mark at January 30, 2005 06:44 PM

I was watching something on TV recently and a white man referred to the friend to his side as African-American. The friend looks at him and says, "No. We're not African-Americans anymore. We're Blacks again." So, just wait a few years and the political correctness statements will change.

In other words, what's good enough for us doesn't mean what's good enough to those who are hyper-sensitive about their heritage.

Posted by: Linda at January 31, 2005 08:14 AM

Why is the assumption hyper-sensitive? Maybe it has to do with pride.

I myself am an Asian-American, according to my brith certificate and documents from home. In the school systems, in my documents, and in the pictures of my family, I am an Asian-American. And I am proud of it, actually. My father came over, immigrated at a tender age, and made a real difference in his life.

Over here, I am an American. There's no need to tell people I am of Asian origin, but if they ask, I will tell them. I'm not hyper-sensitive, I am not indignant, and I don't carry a flag around. If people just call me American, that's ok. But I have been classified as Asian-American and I am pretty damn proud of it.

It's a tribute, I think. And one I am ok with.

Posted by: Helen at January 31, 2005 08:34 AM

Thanks for a different point of view, Helen. As always, you add something valuable to the conversation.

Posted by: RP at January 31, 2005 09:37 AM

Aren't we all technically hyphenated Americans? I'm second generation American, my grandparents on both sides came from Eastern Europe, so that would make me Polish- or Russian-American. Right?

Posted by: Howard at January 31, 2005 02:56 PM

That's my point exactly, Howard. Most of us are from some place else, originally. And now we're all Americans. And that should kind of be enough, I think.

Posted by: RP at January 31, 2005 03:07 PM

Helen - There was no offense made by my comment. I really was speaking of people who ARE hyper-senstive. While you may not be, it's those who are who make a big deal of the distinction. As mentioned in the previous two comments to this one, we are all ???-American. I'm Norwegian-American, Bohemian-American and German-American. Just becauae I don't NEED the distinction doesn't mean I'm not proud of my heritage. It just means that American works just fine.

Posted by: Linda at January 31, 2005 06:51 PM

I've always felt it was odd to refer to black Americans as African-Americans since many could well be Of Australian Aboriginal descent, and either not know or be referred to as African-American by someone who doesn't know. And I would be Roumanian-Scottish-French-English-Irish-Hungarian-Greek-American, and who the hell wants to repeat that all the time? LOL

Posted by: Mark at February 3, 2005 10:04 PM
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