American Americans

James - Houston, Texas
Entered on February 29, 2008

This I believe “American Americans”

I teach Kindergarten in Houston Ind School District.

I often hear people in the media refer to various groups today as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Mexican Americans, Chinese Americans, Polish Americans, Russian Americans, Latin Americans, Italian Americans, Irish Americans, People of Color, etc.

We Americans seem to be casting about for ways to identify our distinctions and differences. And always the word “American” comes second in the order of the two descriptor words. But I think it would be better if the word “American” came first. Then, we could be American Africans, American Hispanics, American Mexicans, American Chinese, American Irish, American English, American French, American Arabs, etc.

Now as a teacher I know this may not be considered grammatically correct, but these days, when so many of us are drawing proud distinctions between our group and others, I would propose that to “promote the common good” in this great and proud country, that we don’t subdivide our identities first, but rather identify our natural unity of American experience first, and proclaim ourselves to be Americans first in importance and secondarily where we came from in importance.

My family arrived in this country from Scotland in 1867 after the U.S. civil war, and I would be happy to proclaim myself American Scottish or Welsh. We are all here in America now, today, and we came from other places, or our ancestors were immigrants voluntarily or involuntarily, except for the, shall I say, “American Natives”.

I believe we should accentuate America first and where our genes came from secondarily, and look for points of American commonality instead of accentuating international otherness. Otherness promotes wars, prejudice, discrimination and hatred. Our communities will not be so divided by fear and the hate mongers if we all came to believe that, “Hey, we are all in this together!” and we need to pull together to solve our common problems on this planet, not accentuate our otherness..

Perhaps the ones who can see the essential oneness of all human beings come to the fore, in politics, in religion, in society, and in our neighborhoods, will be those that can lead us toward an oneness of purpose that will bring peace to this planet before we destroy ourselves.

Perhaps those folks born in this country, “American Americans,” will lead us all to a much brighter future.

This I believe.