Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Anti-Americanism of Hyphenated Citizenship

Take a look at all of the hyphens around you. If someone's traits, ethnicity does not lend itself to the mighty hyphen, the person tries anyway. Skin tone or color don't lend themselves to the use of the hyphen and when tried seems silly. "I'm a cream beige-American." Be honest. That doesn't have the zip of an ethnic adjective such as Hispanic-American. Even then, some ethnic adjectives don't work well either. Early on, in 1909, Teddy Roosevelt commented that hyphenated-Americanism should not be allowed to stand. The point was that hyphenated-Americanism erodes the very traits or qualities that make our nation one; that make our nation able to withstand attacks from external forces designed to overthrow our culture. From within, the hyphen accomplishes what armies armed to the teeth could never hope to win through overt attack. Among other reasons, Roosevelt said that it fractured the nation and it also fractured the identity and loyalty of the person thus hyphenating himself. What do we have today? Hyphens everywhere you look. Some say, hyphenated-Americanism is a point of ethnic pride. I say think again. The hyphen is a source of group identity that self-styled leaders of for-profit groups use to squeeze money from the individuals who feel they must belong for "group solidarity". For what? Be honest now. What group is oppressed in American today aside from the white male? He is discriminated against in job applications and for promotions. And, he doesn't have a group to belong to. Worse, none of his ethnic groups lend themselves well to the hyphen. Talk about oppressed, the white male doesn't even have the hyphen. Even if he did, I very much doubt he'd hide behind it. I say hyphenated-Americanism is self-defeating and it lends itself to self-profiling. It also surrounds itself with an aura of victimology instantly calling upon the other person to say, to think, or to sign in some manner, "Oh, I understand you have been so put upon..." with preferential treatment, government set-aside contracts, etc. The mind cannot help but recoil at the stigma associated with the hyphen. The consequence is unintended but there it is. For me, the hyphen isn't cute any more. It smacks of an anti-Americanism. Ken Hamblin says he has a bumper sticker on the door to his office. It says African-American. Under it, he has written, "Pick one." Yes, pick one. Don't let yourself be split by the hyphen. Hyphens weaken America. Hyphens weaken the person who has chosen to hyphenate himself. While I'm on that thread, the hyphen insults me just by you using it. Someone says, "Well, I'm a African-American. No body can understand what it's like to live the black experience in America." (circa 2006) The insult comes in across the board because Americans are letting themselves be defined by the hyphen, not by their Americanism. Morgan Freeman said it best when he said, "I am not a black American. I am an American who happens to be black." We saw that the terrorists didn't care about the hyphen on September 11, 2001. We didn't care about the hyphens. We were Americans. The hyphen is designed to divide us and to take away our strength much like the cutting of Sampson's hair made him weak. Hyphens divide us. Racial name-calling divides us. Yesterday, a man in Texas called me an Anglo. I asked what was wrong with being Anglo? He said, "Nothing." I said, "No, nothing wrong with being Anglo except that is not how I define myself. I am an American. I define myself as an American. We, you and I, are Americans. Our external enemies don't care about the hyphens. Our internal enemies use the hyphen to separate us." "Yes," he said, "we cannot let them get away with it." I agree. So, stand tall, be proud. You are either an American or a hyphen. Be an American! God bless you; God bless Americans; and erase the darn hyphens, now!


Blogger Papa Ray said...

Sounds like you nailed it.

Them pesky ol' dashes get in the way of clear thinking, and cause trouble almost everywhere you find them.

Lets start a revolution against them. T shirts, coffee mugs and of course, panties and underware.

How about: Down with Hyphens, they just get in the way.


Down with Hyphens, they aren't needed anymore.

Lets hear some more suggestions.

Papa Ray
West Texas

5:08 PM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

Down with hyphens, they take up more white space and clutter the Tees.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Russet Shadows said...

If "no body can understand what it's like to live the black experience in America" does that include the author of that statement? I'm just wondering. :)

9:54 AM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

RS, I hardly have time to understand the black experience, I'm still trying to learn the experience I'm dealing with. So far, the experience is winning.

2:38 PM  
Blogger John Wallace said...


The Racial and Ethnic classification of Americans is nothing more than institutionalized racism and must be ended. The United States of America has been known as a country of rugged individualism based on individual freedom and liberty. Why has America become a country obsessed with classifying its citizens into different racial and ethnic sub-groups?

The only groups that actively support the continued collection of racial and ethnic data are big government bureaucrats and "racial and ethnic special interest groups” that also happen to receive significant funding from the federal government. These organizations argue that identifying people by race and ethnicity is necessary in order to redress some past injustice and that the federal government must continue to collect and use this information in order to set up special racial and ethnic programs, affirmative action quotas and other set-asides for these groups, some of whom consist of new immigrants, illegal aliens and non-citizens. Nothing can be further from the truth. In a country where we can no longer ask people what religion they are, what their party affiliation is or what their sexual orientation is, why are we still asking them about their racial and ethnic background?

Americans are beginning to realize that racial and ethnic identification is more a matter of personal choice than anything else. In the 2000 Census, seven million American citizens refused to place themselves into a single category by refusing to describe themselves as only white, black, Asian, Latino or any one of the other specific categories listed, because they were of mixed race. Attempts by the government to create a “mixed race” box for the 2000 Census was met with resistance by racial and ethnic special interest groups like the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza, because they feared that a mixed-race box could pose a danger to the justification for their existence. The fuzzier such racial and ethnic categories become, the harder it will be for these racial and ethnic special interest groups and the government to traffic in them. If a mixed-race category were to be added, every brown-skinned person of mixed race registered in this category would shrink the government’s official count of Blacks, Latinos, Asians or American Indians, eventually reducing their political influence and ultimately the amount of money these groups receive from the federal government, which amounts to approximately $185 billion a year.

Through the mandated collection and use of racial and ethnic specific information, more and more of American taxpayers’ hard earned money is being routinely distributed to these racial and ethnic special interest groups at the expense of all other Americans who may or may not be members of these groups. Through executive orders, congressional legislation, affirmative action programs, racial set-asides, quotas and other programs based solely on race and ethnicity, our federal government is playing the key role that pits one racial and ethnic group against another, which could eventually lead to our destruction as a country.

Rather than helping a diverse population become assimilated and united as one nation, the Federal government is doing what the Nazi government of Germany did in the 1930’s and 40’s; creating government supported institutionalized racism by the intentional classification of it’s citizens by race and ethnicity.

With the support of racial and ethnic special interest groups, our federal government seems to view our citizens not just as Americans, but rather as “pawns” in some social science experiment to be classified and separated into different racial or ethnic sub-groups for some unknown purpose. By mandating the classification of Americans into specific racial and ethnic sub-groups, the federal government and the advocates of “diversity” are actually perpetuating institutionalized racism and keeping Americans divided. Maybe the real purpose of collecting this data is to justify the continuing flow of government money to these racial and ethnic special interest groups.

If we want to help poor Americans escape poverty, get better health care, find a job or get a good education, why should it matter what their race or ethnic background is? The answer is: It should not! Americans need to come together as members of one country and remember that we are all individual Americans, regardless of race or ethnic background. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired a nation when he voiced his dream for a color-blind nation, a nation in which people would be judged by the content of their characters, "not the color of their skin." The answer to this government encouraged racism is the concept of Liberty with a limited, constitutional government that is devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than the claims of different racial and ethnic special interest groups. Where Liberty is present, individual achievement and competence are rewarded, not people’s skin color or ethnicity.

I will support legislation barring the federal government from the collection of racial and ethnic information about the American people and/or the classification of American citizens by race and ethnicity, including the collection of census information. Exceptions should be made for law enforcement, hospitals and medical research purposes.

I will also support legislation that bans affirmative action programs, racial set-asides, quotas and any other programs that give special preferences based on race and ethnicity.

Candidate for Congress
New York’s 20th Congressional District

8:48 AM  

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