Recently, I was thinking about who I actually am……..as in what category do I fit into with regard to nationality. Since I was born in the United States, I think I am considered an ‘American.’ However, so much media and social media diversifies everyone into labels: African-American, Asian-American, Arab-American, Mexican-American, Japanese-American, Chinese- American, Native American etc. So, where does that put me? Am I an American-American?
In my opinion, we need to change the focus of the whole concept so that we can all just be Americans first. After-all, history has shown us that immigrants come to America to work, live, and enjoy the freedoms, and, even, become American citizens.
So – let’s just reverse the labels and put ‘American’ first! This one simple change might possibly unite us, bring positive thoughts of being one nation, and help to extinguish some of the argumentative and difficult behaviors. People just have to think of themselves as Americans first. So – we become American-Black or (African), American-Asian, American-Arab, American-Mexican, American-Japanese, American-Chinese, American-Native. It is a simple conceptual and internal change that might create a new level of communication and understanding.
Still, however, I am not sure what that makes me……American-American, American-Born, American-Natural or American period. Or, do I really care if I have a dash and second part to my citizenship. I’m quite happy just being an American and going with that! But, there isn’t always a box to check that just says ‘American’. I guess I could just check ‘other’………..
So, how about it? Let’s put ‘American’ first. If we are all Americans, we have leveled the playing field for all……….Can’t we all just get along?
Just a thought …
Anthony Jasso says
Hey Ginger, On a basic level I do agree with you that by the legal definition of “If you were born here you are an American” regardless of who or where your parents were born. This I think we ALL can and for the most part have agreed on. For those who can and do look past the “Physical” differences of color and accent and gender and more this is also true and Hurry for them. However I think we both know too many other that can’t or won’t. All they seem to care about is their own. With my experiences of being a musician and playing around our great state I have met some wonderful people from some very many cultural backgrounds. ALL very patriotic and loyal Americans but with a very healthy dose of Self Identity as well. I tend to get along more easily with people who have this dose of Self Identity of their own History and Heritage. Meaning those who not just know where they come from across the ocean and still practice those customs and language are more accessible and open to great me who is obviously “different” than those who don’t know their own beginnings. Those who are German, Swed, Italian, Czech, Vietnamese, Filipino, ect and still practice their culture and langue I fine much easier to establish friendships and relationships. Not that it’s not better but just easier. Those that are stuck with the “ME” or “White Only” I have found that they either have no sense of their own True Identity, History or Heritage. That or either they have been fed the wrong information about who they are and where they come from just to fit into the wrong group of hateful people. Those who know know we ALL came from elsewhere for a better life and freedom. Freedom for all who make it here. All who were brought here by force or those who the boarder crossed them. Yes Ginger I do hope and wish for the day we can all look at each other as Humans and treat each other as brothers and sisters with all of our differences and uniquenesses. Accepting and knowing what really brings us ALL together is Freedom and Humanity.
Thanks Anthony……I am glad to hear your comments on this topic. And, I appreciate that you took the time to respond to my blog!
Jim Potter says
I don’t think the order of the words makes a lot of difference. Its about how we portray and treat certain groups of Americans. It’s about labeling and stereotyping an individual in an unflattering way. We need to focus on seeing one another as individuals–whether they are American or not. When we respect the person, then that person’s culture will reveal itself. Then our new friend can tell us their preference as to American-This or That-American.
Thanks for your comment Jim! I appreciate your thoughts!