Posted by: al66888 | August 9, 2007

Are we Americans or hyphen-Americans?

Bo brought up an interesting question in his post Divided States of America, asking if everyone is here seeking the freedoms of America, how can we be so divided. It got me thinking, like a good post does, and as I had this in the back of my mind a few days ago I’m going through the news of the day, and it’s division, division, division. So it got me thinking- are we Americans first? Or are we something else and then Americans.

To give you an example of what I mean, I hate hyphenated descriptions of Americans. Not that I find any offense to the specific groups, but America, at least at some point, was the Melting Pot. A place where you brought your customs and traditions but assimilated to the culture of America. Nowadays, it seems like anything but. Governor McGreevy (former Gov of NJ) calls himself a Gay-American. We refer to ourselves by our heritage, African-American, Irish-American, Add any nationality you want-American, even though most of us are 2nd generation Americans or greater. We sit through hours and hours of ‘diversity’ training, which hammers home the ideas of how different we are from one another.

Take a look at some recent stories, each of the headers is linked to the story.

Firefighters complain for being forced to attend the Gay Pride parade

I have no problem with the Gay Pride parade. If you’re gay and proud….congratulations, I’m happy for you, every person should be proud of who they are. But why are we forcing people to attend the parade? If you want to go, go- and if you don’t, don’t. I have some friends who are gay, and I actually feel bad that they let that aspect of their lives define them as to who they are more than anything else. There is so much to a human being besides sexual orientation. Can’t you be an American who happens to be gay instead of a Gay-American?

Does race trump all in the case of CAIR or Vick

In the first story, these two aren’t even Americans. They are two Middle Eastern boys, here on visas, pulled over for speeding, and found with home made explosives. This of course all happens near a Navy base.  Sound familiar? Not to those in CAIR who believe this is racial profiling.  To them it is more important to be Muslim than it is to be American. Remember, CAIR is an organization in America.

In the second story, the SCLC, the Christian group founded by Martin Luther King said they would stand by Michael Vick no matter what the outcome of his trial. Now, I have no problem with supporting the man, and trying to help him. But to say you support him no matter what, just because he is a black athlete is ridiculous. MLK’s own words were “…..that they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. It appears however that this group stands to be African-American instead of Americans with African heritage.  I’m all for a Christian group offering support, counseling, and help to a man who obviously needs it. But to say we stand behind him, even if he committed the crime, is just wrong.

Now, I know, race and sexual orientation are touchy subjects to write about. Some people find everything offensive, but if you find anything in here offensive, than maybe, just maybe, this article was written for you. I think as Americans, we need to get back to the core that unites us- the hopes, the dreams, the opportunities. I don’t think anyone should ever forget where they came from, or what their forefathers did to get here. I do think that everyone should remember- There is a reason why they decided to come here, they wanted to have a better life for themselves and their children. It’s time to stop referring to ourselves as Conservative-American, Italian-American, Catholic-American, and start realizing that all of those things have 1 thing in common……..AMERICAN.  Its time to stop teaching diversity, and start teaching unity. A unified people will share their cultures and experiences with each other out of common respect and a willingness to both share and learn. We don’t need anyone to jam it down our throats, because that’s when it is met with resistance.


  1. Theodore Roosevelt had a great “speech” about hyphenated Americans. It was actually a post Presidential letter to a friend but like X-Mas gifts it’s the thought that counts. MONO culturalism is the way to go. When in Rome… This isn’t an oversimplification. In the quest of all that is multiculturalism we have divided all. That is not good for the United States of America.

  2. I found the recent Michael Vick case particularly disturbing because it seemed so logical and clear cut that a law was broken and that this man had acted not only unlawfully but also immorally and cruelly – a famous sporting figure tortures and kills animals for profit and also personally enjoys the torture and death of creatures for his own amusement – seems pretty disgusting to me and many Americans – so we don’t care who the person is or what is the color of his skin – he will be vilified. I am 100% certain that as a nation of many dog-lovers, if a white sports figure like Joe Namath had done the same thing, the public and media would have eaten him for breakfast as well. How ridiculous to call it racist that people are offended by his actions. I am sure there are better discrimination cases for these anti-racist organizations to go fight for and help people who are poor and not celebrities. Vick was hardly running out of money to defend his own case. No one should have brought race into that case and it was shameful that it happened and that liberals did not speak out against that blindness and reverse discrimination.

    Did you catch the recent one about the Archbishop of Canterbury in the UK arguing for ‘some’ Sharia law in the UK (suggesting that immigrants are OK to be Muslim first, British second when living in the UK?) – this is not only a US disease! Unfortunately this ridiculous attitude is happening all over the western countries in the name of ‘acceptance of others’ – now we are going overboard and pretending our own western culture and laws are without value. Hyphens are added everywhere.

    By the way – I am a liberal, or even radically left. I believe in socialized medicine for example and would happily pay extra taxes to have a system as good as the one in France replace what exists now in the US and get rid of ridiculous insurance premiums and people going bankrupt to pay hospital bills.

    In my mind, I don’t consider the molly-coddling of the Muslim extremists and Sharia law to be ‘left’ or ‘liberal’ at all even though many doing it call themselves that term – I consider it to be ridiculous and chickensh*t and just plain dumb backwards thinking.

    As a feminist and being against discrimination, I am tired of everyone mentioned in the media being identified as an African-American X or a female-X – can’t they just be an ‘amazingly good American writer’ when someone writes a book review – or is that term only reserved for white male American writers and if you are not that, you must hyphenate (for what reason??)? To me those labels and hyphens become discriminatory pigeon holes in and of themselves, making someone’s acheivements seem lesser by sub-catagorizing them.

    I know conservatives like to hate France, but they are big believers in integrating their immigrants. In France they have laws against wearing religious scarves and other headcovers, big crosses or turbans to public schools. They believe if you want to move to France it’s to be French, not Muslim-French or Catholic-French and that this is one way to get people from the time they are children, to integrate into western French society.

    They happily recognize that the cultural basis of France is Catholic (even though officially the government is non-secular) and so they follow Christian holidays – not Muslim ones – without apology. They made speaking French part of the test to become a citizen. Why? Because funny old thing – the French speak French.

    Is it really so much to demand from a person asking to be naturalized (ie adopted by another country as one of ‘its own’) that you can speak the language the majority of people in your adopted country speak? This is only to help you – in that way you have a chance of finding gainful legal employment, normal education and can properly read road signs, local laws and understand the local news broadcasts and don’t become a burden to the state welfare system or a criminal to make your living. It takes several years to gain citizenship – that should be plenty of time for someone to learn the basics of another language for this type of test.

    I think in efforts to teach people ‘acceptance’ of all others and combat past racism and other forms of discrimination many people have now gone too far in the other direction in letting those who immigrate elsewhere think they can make a ‘miniature’ version of their old country to cling to forever, and never integrate into the culture of the one they CHOSE to move to. I disagree with that philosophy and like the point you made here that we should drop the hyphens and make more effort to integrate, not separate when talking about people. That way of thinking would become a habit, and I do think those kinds of subtle changes in language do have an effect on the overall psyche of how people are viewed and will help strengthen the American culture. American culture will always be a mixed – but whether that mix is compartmentalized and catagorized by hyphens or smoothly blended into a ‘whole’ depends on how we act with regards to the differences currently found in our country going forwards.

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