You are not Mexican, Irish, or Italian, you are an American

#61
Well, one can be Italian in New York, but if they don't speak Italian, don't observe Italian traditions, have never been to Italy, it's weird. (and btw. ltaly is not culturally and linguistically monolithic)
 
#62
Well, one can be Italian in New York, but if they don't speak Italian, don't observe Italian traditions, have never been to Italy, it's weird. (and btw. ltaly is not culturally and linguistically monolithic)
Muddying the waters are we?

Of course there are thousands of documented instances of Italians moving to New York, however the correct answer to the question, "Where in Italy are you from?" isn't New York. New York is not a part of Italy, and as such can never be the correct answer to that question.

BTW, I have been to Italy, I know a thing or two about the place.
 
#63
How diverse other countries are, has nothing do with American history, immigration and why people use hypenated identities to identify themselves in USA.
  • Hmmm. Sounds like your frame of reference is USA, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Korea.

  • Spend a couple of months in any one Latin American, South Asian or African country, then reconsider.

Diversity in the former is a fun thing: dressing up for a holiday fest, eating certain foods on special occasions, going to festivals whereas in everyday life, diversity does not drive life or death decisions over control of essential resources like claen water, clean air or access to food.

Diversity in the latter is a double edged sword. Its there, people cannot change it. They are born into it, they migrate and take it with them. If they are lucky, they are born into a powerful group and get all the resources and can steal even more from the weak group. If they are unlucky, they are born into a weak group and their only way out is to leave. Preferably to a country in the first category where they get to enjoy their identity w/o the repercussions of brutal power from the other groups.

There you have it. That is your connection. If you still don't get it and you really do care, spend some time in places where it matters... seriously.
 
#64
  • Hmmm. Sounds like your frame of reference is USA, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Korea.
  • Spend a couple of months in any one Latin American, South Asian or African country, then reconsider.

Diversity in the former is a fun thing: dressing up for a holiday fest, eating certain foods on special occasions, going to festivals whereas in everyday life, diversity does not drive life or death decisions over control of essential resources like claen water, clean air or access to food.

Diversity in the latter is a double edged sword. Its there, people cannot change it. They are born into it, they migrate and take it with them. If they are lucky, they are born into a powerful group and get all the resources and can steal even more from the weak group. If they are unlucky, they are born into a weak group and their only way out is to leave. Preferably to a country in the first category where they get to enjoy their identity w/o the repercussions of brutal power from the other groups.

There you have it. That is your connection. If you still don't get it and you really do care, spend some time in places where it matters... seriously.
You are again missing the point. We are not debating, arguing, discussing or comparing diversity in USA vs other countries or the regions.

The discussion is about a more narrower topic of how people in USA identify themselves. What has that got to do with anything about diversity in other countries (which is moot).
 
#65
You are again missing the point. We are not debating, arguing, discussing or comparing diversity in USA vs other countries or the regions.

The discussion is about a more narrower topic of how people in USA identify themselves. What has that got to do with anything about diversity in other countries (which is moot).
The past and present history is pretty clear on that. Irish immigrants from the 1850s were discriminated against by the incumbents in the US, so they stuck together, lived together, had their own street gangs, their own political machines.
Rinse and repeat for each and every successive group of immigrant in the US, ie German, Italian, Eastern European Jewish, Chinese, Japanese and finally Latin American.
As each group became accepted, integrated and powerful enough to discriminate on their own, the next group followed the same pattern.

So why do people STILL identify as the group to which they only have fleeting genetic ties, ie 25% Irish, 12.5% Italian etc. ?
Its the folklore of the Accepted and Integrated groups. You can choose to be Italian American w/o any negative repercussions. You cannot do the same as an Arab American.

Btw, the US is NOT and island. The prejudices from the home countries are imported along with the people who have them. Just ask WHITE Cuban Americans what they think of black people, regardless of if they are Cuban or any other descent.
 
#66
Btw, many countries do not have strong national identities.

There is a reason why everyone in Colombia, Brasil, India, Pakistan is a fanatical supporter of the football or the cricket team. They have little else that binds them together.

By contrast, the US has an extremely strong national identity that has traditionally forced all groups to assimilate whether they want to or not. This even includes those who preceded the existence of the US, ie Native Americans and Tex-Mexicans.
 
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#67
Btw, many countries do not have strong national identities.

There is a reason why everyone in Colombia, Brasil, India, Pakistan is a fanatical supporter of the football or the cricket team. They have little else that binds them together.

By contrast, the US has an extremely strong national identity that has traditionally forced all groups to assimilate whether they want to or not. This even includes those who preceded the existence of the US, ie Native Americans and Tex-Mexicans.
National identity is an artificial and modern construct. Very few existing countries are natural nation-states. If you go back 300 years, many of the states which are considered nations today, weren't so. I like what Samuel Johnson said - patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. We see politicians of all hue and tribes resorting to it in every corner of the word.

In my original post, if you care to read it, I have argued that identity is multi-layer and we can have parallel identity depending on which one is being chosen to be expressed. How a person identifies themselves is a result of both their internal (or internalised) drivers and external forces/perception. Wasn't there a case of lady from WA who so strongly identified herself as African-American though by birth she wasn't. Identity is very complex subject. It creates a us vs them mentality and that is how through the history many of the leaders have used it to create havoc, massacres, genocides and wars.
 
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#68
National identity is an artificial and modern construct. Very few existing countries are natural nation-states. If you go back 300 years, many of the states which are considered nations today, weren't so. I like what Samuel Johnson said - patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. We see politicians of all hue and tribes resorting to it in every corner of the word.

In my original post, if you care to read it, I have argued that identity is multi-layer and we can have parallel identity depending on which one is being chosen to be expressed. How a person identifies themselves is a result of both their internal (or internalised) drivers and external forces/perception. Wasn't there a case of lady from WA who so strongly identified herself as African-American though by birth she wasn't. Identity is very complex subject. It creates a us vs them mentality and that is how through the history many of the leaders have used it to create havoc, massacres, genocides and wars.
OK, fine, you get to have the last word on this thread.
 

David

Administrator
Staff member
#69
Let me add to this discussion by saying that America is near the top of the list of countries with the fewest bilinguals. When someone says they are Italian, I hope there is someone who then speaks to them in Italian.
 
#70
This is a complete misrepresentation of my OP. I in fact posted a positive view of hyphenated identities, it's the non-hyphenated, fully taking the ancestral identity, such as when a person who's born in the USA with 4 generations of family within the country calls themselves "Irish", "German", "Chinese", etc. being confusing and leading the person who is listening to assume that the person means they were actually born and raised in Ireland, Germany, or China and migrated to the states.

Interestingly, not a single poster has actually disagreed and argued that is doesn't result in confusion. I remember when my cousin, who moved to the states at a younger age than me and assimilated much more than me, told me his fiancée was Italian. My immediate question was, "Oh great! Where in Italy is she from?", to which he dissapointingly answered, "No she's not actually Italian, she's from New York".
It doesn't confuse me.
 
#71
It doesn't confuse me.
Interesting. So you're able to discern whether a person who's not actually there, but rather is a subject of a conversation you've never met, is actually Italian or an American who's parents were also born in USA, with one set of Italian grandparents? Or you are just so jaded that you dismiss the Italian portion until you've verified the passport, birth certificate, and Ancestry.com print out?
 
#72
So I wanted to discuss the issue of the US penchant to have people who are born and raised within the country, in some cases for generations, refer to themselves as members of another country, which causes us Latinos a lot of confusion and consternation.

Examples of this confusion:

A career Airman starts a speech saying he's Scottish. He then goes into a speech about why the United States is so much better than any other country. All the meanwhile I'm thinking he's a dirtbag of a Scotsman, and I brought up asking "aren't you a Scotsman?", causing quite the awkward moment. Years later I figured out he probably had one grandparent or great grandparent who actually carried a Scotland Birth Certificate.

A friend of mine tells everyone in college he's Italian. Everyone thinks he was born and raised in Italy, when he's actually never even been there, nor have either of his parents.
Well because the US is the only country in the world where, besides the Native Americans, EVERYONE has foreign ancestry. Within that context, it's a bit easier to understand that when people say 'I am Italian', what they really mean is not that they were (necessarily) born in Italy, but that their ancestors were. Of course, this is indeed confusing to someone from another country who does not understand this cultural context. But I wouldn't really over-analyze it beyond this. It does not cause any confusion and consternation within the US (except for PR as you say). As for confusion when a foreigner speaks with an American, there are probably many other 'worse' sources of confusion and consternation :p
 
#73
Well because the US is the only country in the world where, besides the Native Americans, EVERYONE has foreign ancestry. Within that context, it's a bit easier to understand that when people say 'I am Italian', what they really mean is not that they were (necessarily) born in Italy, but that their ancestors were. Of course, this is indeed confusing to someone from another country who does not understand this cultural context. But I wouldn't really over-analyze it beyond this. It does not cause any confusion and consternation within the US (except for PR as you say). As for confusion when a foreigner speaks with an American, there are probably many other 'worse' sources of confusion and consternation :p
I disagree on one point. What seems to be the case, is that the United States is the only country in the world where, besides the Native Americans, EVERYONE thinks that it's the only country in the world where only A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, etc. hold true. Regarding ancestry specifically, most of Latin America shares that attribute with USA.

You tell me. Can you imagine how difficult and confusing is to explain Puerto Ricos's cultural and political status to a foreigner? Hell, I venture to say that between 25-50% of mainland Americans don't know we have birthright citizenship.
 
#74
I disagree on one point. What seems to be the case, is that the United States is the only country in the world where, besides the Native Americans, EVERYONE thinks that it's the only country in the world where only A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, etc. hold true. Regarding ancestry specifically, most of Latin America shares that attribute with USA.

You tell me. Can you imagine how difficult and confusing is to explain Puerto Ricos's cultural and political status to a foreigner? Hell, I venture to say that between 25-50% of mainland Americans don't know we have birthright citizenship.
Now you are confusing me (1st paragraph) :p

2nd paragraph: when DHS started requiring passports for ALL travel by anyone from the US to Canada and Mexico, some people found out that they did NOT need a passport for PR and might have inferred that PR belongs to the US. I would not go any further than that when assuming what Americans should know about their own country and its territories.

Btw, I think Puerto Rico statehood would be great.
 
#76
Now you are confusing me (1st paragraph) :p

2nd paragraph: when DHS started requiring passports for ALL travel by anyone from the US to Canada and Mexico, some people found out that they did NOT need a passport for PR and might have inferred that PR belongs to the US. I would not go any further than that when assuming what Americans should know about their own country and its territories.

Btw, I think Puerto Rico statehood would be great.
First pagragraph. Some examples of incorrectly thought as "exclusive to America" that are commonly brought up by Americans:
1. Free Speech
2. Nation of Immigrants
3. Poor historical treatment of blacks.
4. Diverse population/citizenry
5. Rule of Law

Some things I've found nowhere else:
1. Playing the national anthem at local/regional sport events.
2. Diversity of food establishments within a single city (particularly more so now than in the 90s when I moved to USA)
3. Entepreneurs (did I misspell :( ) and inventions. It's absolutely mind blowing the amount of first in America things within the past 100 years.
4. High religiosity for such a wealthy country.
5. A "Black History Month" that exclusively shows Black History in USA, VS Black History of the whole world.

Second Paragraph. WOW, so some people only kind of figured it out after a public announcement by DHS! I moved away from Puerto Rico as a teenager and am unlikely to move back there, so I'm somewhat divested from its political future. I think the status quo only works for large scale American corporate interests, and that precisely because of that, it will be challenging to change it, whether that change ends up being statehood or greater/full autonomy. BTW, what's crazy is that it's the likely Trump/Republican voters in Puerto Rico who want statehood most, while actual Trump/Republican voters in the US also seem to be the most against Puerto Rico becoming a state.
 
#77
Btw, I think Puerto Rico statehood would be great.

I think the status quo only works for large scale American corporate interests, and that precisely because of that, it will be challenging to change it, whether that change ends up being statehood or greater/full autonomy. BTW, what's crazy is that it's the likely Trump/Republican voters in Puerto Rico who want statehood most, while actual Trump/Republican voters in the US also seem to be the most against Puerto Rico becoming a state.
Hmm. Thats odd. The proposed tax changes in the US Congress could greatly diminish any tax advantages that US corporations receive by operating in Puerto Rico. One would think that Puerto Ricans might be worried even though clean water and electricity are more important right now.
 
#78
Hmm. Thats odd. The proposed tax changes in the US Congress could greatly diminish any tax advantages that US corporations receive by operating in Puerto Rico. One would think that Puerto Ricans might be worried even though clean water and electricity are more important right now.
The tax advantages were already greatly diminished with the removal of the Section 936 law, see link below. Puertoricans are far more worried about the continuation of the Jones Act, which acts as a wealth transfer, on average a 20% goods prize hike for Puertorican consumers with all the profits and jobs going to US shipping companies. Making Puerto Rico a state would nullify the Jones act; while granting Puerto Rico greater autonomy wouldn't guarantee its nullification, it's issue number one on any autonomy negotiation.

https://www.puertoricoreport.com/the-end-of-section-936/#.WhuRVzapV7g
 
#79
Making Puerto Rico a state would nullify the Jones act; while granting Puerto Rico greater autonomy wouldn't guarantee its nullification, it's issue number one on any autonomy negotiation.
Making Puerto Rico a State of the United States means they get 2 US Senators and likely 4 seats in the US House of Representatives. For defense contracts alone they are guaranteed at least 1/51st of the total contract volume, similar things apply to many other aspects of Fed. gov spending. This is a no brainer economically.

My personal liking is that it would make the US officially bilingual.
 

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