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Eamonn

.... - American

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If you were to ask my son what he is?

He would reply that he is an American.

If you were to ask my wife or myself what our son is we both would say that he is an American.

He isn't Irish- American or Anglo-American.

Just an everyday plain no hyphen needed or required American.

 

At one time we, his Mother and myself had this silly idea that when he got old enough he could or would choose what he wanted to be. But that was soon pushed aside and forgotten.

I'm really happy that he knows what he is.

It's something that I never really knew and still don't.

As far as we know and can work out both sides of my family have been Irish for many, many hundreds of years.

I was born in England, was educated in England talk with an English accent, but was raised Irish.

This is hard when your a kid in England.

It's also hard for an English kid in Ireland.

For a very long time it seemed to me as if no place was home.

One year when I was a teenager I went to Ireland to watch my cousin play in the All Ireland Final I was proud to see my cousin turn out in the Meath colors but if the truth be told I had no idea of the rules of Gaelic Football. Maybe if he'd been playing cricket?

I strongly believed and still believe in a United Ireland.

But it was hard being Irish in London when the IRA were blowing things up.

It was hard sitting in a pub trying to avoid the people who were collecting money for the IRA.

These people were strong in their believe.

They didn't want to hear about another cousin of mine that was a member of the regular Irish Army who while patrolling the boarder was killed by a bomb left by the IRA.

It would be a cold day in Hell before I gave them a halfpenny.

After a little more than half a century I've decided that I'm OK being a mutt.

I may have been born in England but I'll get my own back, God willing I'll die in Ireland.

The good thing is my son doesn't have to worry about any of this. He knows that he is an American.

Still I wonder about the kids who have parents who hail from other lands.

The BSA wants to reach out to these kids.

I'm not sure what the best way to do this is?

My son knows about his heritage. He knows how proud I am of it. I have never tried to force it on him or try to make out that it's better over there than it is here.

Heck if it's so good there, what the heck are we doing here?

Is it wrong to expect these kids to be Americans?

Or will they always need the hyphen?

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My Grandfather told me once, that my family was American.

 

We don't know when we became Americans, other that it was whatever day my ancestors arrived in this country from whatever country they came from.

 

I really don't care where my ancestors game from...as an American, it is unimportant....so I don't have to hyphenate.

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There was an article a few years ago about an incident that took place somewhere in the United Kingdom. A woman who was part of a group of African-Americans intending to tour the county for two weeks was asked by customs to declare her citizenship after they landed. She proudly responded African-American. The short story is that it took a representative from the American Embassy to convince the women that she was on the next plane back to the United States if she continued insisting she was African-American. Apparently a Senator got an ear full when she got back.

 

Barry

 

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Times have changed, and I'm not a fan. The newest immigrants seem to want to maintain their heritage. Pride in one's heritage is great, but this is America, and I don't think that all of the divisiveness (is that a word?) is doing us a lot of good. I think that our parents' generation tried to become "Americans" as quickly as possible. It was part of achieving the American dream. I don't know that I'd recognize the American dream is anymore. What is it, and how are our newest Americans going to achieve it?

BDPT00

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"Stripes should be quoted far more often in national policy discussions."

 

That and John Belushi's pep talk in Animal House!

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I doubt one-in-ten of us born in the United States knows what our official nationality is. It sure isn't American. In fact, certain hyphenateds, like Mexican-American, is redundant. Mexicans are Americans - no matter where they are hanging their hat. So are Canadians, and Costa Ricans, and Peruvians, and Brazilians, etc. If you were born on on of the two American continents, you are an American.

 

If you were born in the US, your official nationality is: United States of America. Not even United States of American, no, it is United States of America, and that's what should be entered on paperwork entering another country.

 

"The newest immigrants seem to want to maintain their heritage. Pride in one's heritage is great, but this is America, and I don't think that all of the divisiveness (is that a word?) is doing us a lot of good. I think that our parents' generation tried to become "Americans" as quickly as possible. It was part of achieving the American dream."

 

Historically, immigrants maintained their heritage and did not try to become "Americans" as soon as possible. Folks born in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, etc. etc. worked at maintaining the familiar culture of their home countries. What these immigrants did do was to enourage their children to become "Americans" while trying to instill a sense of pride in the home country. None of that has changed with the newest immigrant groups coming into the country.

 

While we may not identify ourselves as Swedish-Americans, or Scottish-Americans, etc. etc., most of us still follow traditions of our ancestors from "the homeland", especially at Christmas. Think about your family's traditions and see if you can trace it back to those ancestors that brought it here from away.

 

Historically, different immigrant groups have always faced the kind of rhetoric we see being directed towards our latest immigrant groups. THe Irish, the Italians, the Chinese - all have faced anti-immigration forces in the past. Heck, the Dutch hated the English that were invading their turf in the New World back when the Dutch controlled what we now know as New York City and environs.

 

Kind of begs the question, what is an American? I lean towards the "Mutt" answer.

 

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Let's see, I am part English, part German, have some Scandinavian, some Romanian, some Colombian, and some Irish in me.

 

I think German is the biggest part . My last name is Fisher, which came from Fischer.

 

I consider myself American which in a way is a cop out because unles you were Native American, it just means you originated from somewhere else.

 

Now, I think what would describe me best - and keeping in line with para medic, para lega, or any other "para" qualification.....

 

I call my self: Para- Normal ! :)

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Eamonn, I have discovered the secret to a very long lifespan for you. Now that you have asked a deity to have you die in Ireland, all you have to do is never, NEVER, EVER go to Ireland again. This supernatural stuff is just way cool.

 

Calico, people from Costa Rica call themselves 'Ticans'.

 

BDPT00, "The newest immigrants seem to want to maintain their heritage." Hellooooo.....St. Patrick's Day, Octoberfest, Scottish Games, Amana Colonies, The Amish, etc. Oh, I get it, this is off-limits for 'new' immigrants, wink, wink.

 

Scoutfish, this 'Native American' thing is just as bogus. They immigrated too, just a long time before the Europeans. We ALL came from Eve who originated somewhere in Africa. And then we literally swarmed over the rest of the planet.

 

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Pack,

 

The singular St Patricks DAY or Octoberfest weekend is a far cry from what current immigrants do. I know, I drive thru our "Mexican" part of town each day going to and from work. They are living here, but in their own little microcosm. They have little desire to assimilate into the American culture as previous immigrants did.

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SR540Beaver, Little Italy, Chinatown....I think your observation has been stated for almost every wave of immigrants in the past. Is it wrong to be in a community in which you feel comfortable?

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Being an American or something else is a state of mind that has little to do with one's racial or ethnic heritage. The people that I have met and befriended over the years who are immigrants are usually the most staunch in maintaining that they are American before anything else. All these acquaintances are proud of their backgrounds but they came to United States for a reason. They have transcended the questions of where one was born and why does or does not matter.

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I get a kick out of my Caucasion friend who immigrated from South Africa.

 

He IS African-American, whereas few of our dark-skinned brothers can trace their ancestory so accurately.

 

I guess you could split the hair and say that he's 'South African-American', but that would segue too easily into Tampa Turtle's comment about 'Southerners."

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