What is American?

It turns out that with the exception of the Native American population, all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries (wiki). Given the fact that America is a collection of immigrants, Americans do not equate being American with their ethnicity but rather with their citizenship. To put it into simple words, a person with American citizenship, can be Irish, Italian, Mexican, Indian, etc.

It happened that Britain colonized America, and therefore the founding fathers were Caucasian, including nine born outside of the thirteen colonies. However, and proudly, America does not have one kind of people that make up our country.

The history lesson is needed for a lot of people who become enraged anytime any non-Caucasian American is put in the spotlight. They say that a Mexican-American kid singing the National Anthem is disrespectful to our nation. They say Americans have to step it up when an Indian-American wins the National Spelling Bee by tweeting hateful comments and misspelling the word descent (decent in the tweet). I loved the response from Hari Kondabolu, ‘Hey white people, learn the language’.

It seems like an obvious point to make, but both Sebastien de la Cruz, and Arvind Mahankali were born in America and are therefore American.

The comments made via social media about the accomplishments of these kids clearly highlight the racism that is still very much alive in our nation. Those types of comments set us back many years, and erase the many strides we have made to truly fulfill our pledge of allegiance ’ … One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’.

Interestingly, no one objects when so many athletes become naturalized for the sole purpose of repping the red, white, and blue in the Olympics. So it seems that as long as your skin is white and you went to summer camp, you can be American. But the rest of us cannot.

The comments about Mexicans in relation to Sebastien where not only false because he is American, but also because they are not true about Mexicans.

It’s sad, really, that people can be so ignorant to the history, current demographics (Hispanic high school graduates have surpassed Whites in rate of college enrollment-Pew Research), and trends of a country they say they love. Isn’t a country just the people who make up said country? So, by default, you already love us, embrace it.