CBS5’s Eye on Blogs picked up on another tM post, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s “I’m from the same place you’re from, Idiot.” Eye on Blogs doesn’t receive a lot of commenting action, so I was excited that someone (who was not me, someone I know, or Brittney Gilbert herself) chimed in on the post. Ethnic Studies majors will roll their eyes at this one. How often have we heard these exact arguments? I’ve copied and pasted MisterWriter’s comment below. My response follows.
Jul-29 – MisterWriter — One of my pet peeves is the absurd American notion of having to identify every sliver of ethnic component in one’s heritage. I guess that would make me a caucasian -chinese- jew, but really, one is either of the country you are naturalized to or you are not. Your background may be asian, but your are an American, not an Asian American. There is no country Asia-America (other than China owning the country through the national debt). There is no African American (and certainly most of those who claim this have never seen Africa, and likely could not point it out on a map.) Bill Cosby had good points on this topic. It is not WHAT you are; rather WHO you are that counts.
Americans, by their very nature are ethnically mixed. Nonetheless, you are American or not. The rest is simply assertive argumentation and valuable only if your classification can offer tax or job benefits.
The end result of sub-identification is to promote ethnic categories that further impede unification of cultures. The more layers you put on the cake, the longer it takes to get to the center.
What are you? I would spend more time defining whether you are a thinker or a non-thinker. The rest….details.
Sometimes what I really want to ask is, “What kind of idyllic nation state do you live in?” But here’s what I actually wrote:
9:37 AM – theMaykazine — That always sounds well and good, to identify with the country that you are naturalized to and that country only, but for many people it simply doesn’t do much. The fact is most of the world thinks “American” means “White,” and any two ways you look at it, I’m not. I can only speak for myself, but from what I gather, it really ought to be up to each individual to be able to identify themselves – American, Jewish American, American Asian, whatever they prefer. It shouldn’t be up to someone outside of that person’s brain to identify them. Hence, the importance of asking the question and leaving it open-ended.
As for the “unification of cultures,” that’s not a universal goal, and I’ve found it’s impossible to find a middle ground for debating pedagogical enclaves if two people come from either ends of the argument.
Even if I identified myself as a thinker to another American (of any descent), once we part ways, 99% of the time I will be described as “the Asian thinker girl.”
I absolutely appreciate the dialogue, but if you don’t come from the experience of being an ethnic minority in a “diverse” nation, it won’t be an easily understood concept – That we diaspora don’t always feel just American. (Take, for instance, your commenting name. You are a “Mister” and a “Writer.” Why is it so strange that I see myself as “Asian,” “American,” “female,” and “writer,” all at the same time?)
Lotta, a woman who looks White and lives in the United States but is not from the US, left more open-ended question options on the original post. She also brings up the importance of something I overlooked: the follow-up.