Living In a Hyphen-Nation

We live in a Hyphen-Nation. People who are one-hundred percent American refuse to own their nationality and instead prefer to look backward. Well, when you are looking backward you can’t see what is in front of you.

A person can certainly claim their heritage is from a certain place or country, but if that person knows nothing about that place, has never been there, or is not known by anyone in that country, they cannot honestly say, I am from there. For example, a person with an unknown Asian history cannot just one day up and say, “I have an affinity for Cambodia, I believe and identify as a Cambodian, and therefore I am from Cambodia. Sadly, it just doesn’t work that way. Likewise, if someone has been in their antecedent’s adopted country for decades or generations, they can no longer realistically be able to identify as being from where their relatives originated. Doing so just doesn’t make sense and it could be hurtful to both the person’s new home and their predecessor’s historical homeland.

The moment you divide your identity, the moment you dichotomize what you are a part of, the moment you refuse to accept responsibility for, or take pride in what nationality you are, that is the moment a person allows themselves to see themselves as something other than an American. Hyphenation divides, and Americans should unite.

How would you feel if the White person in your conference, classroom, or interview continued to identify himself kept identifying him or herself as a European-American? One is likely to say that person is one: being absurdly provocative, two: either trying to purposely get attention, or three: intentionally trying to separate themselves from the rest of the group. Well, while many won’t admit it, that’s how many feel when their fellow Americans, many of which have been here four five to six generations refer to themselves as African-Americas, Asian-American, Latin-American, etc. Hyphenating identity inhibits assimilation and integration.

Now if you have two passports or can be considered a dual national — well knock yourself out. If you have a passport from both Italy and American, feel free to call yourself Italian-American. If you recently moved here from Ghana, feel free to call yourself African-American. If you are from Iraq and applying for citizenship in the U.S., feel free to identify yourself as Iraqi-American In those types of cases, you can truly be one or the other. Preferably you are identifying with the nation you feel the closest affinity for in the hyphen, (i.e., American-Irish) but that is that person’s call. Conversely, if a citizen of the United States of America has but one passport (or none) they are an American. The sooner one appreciates the importance and value of their national allegiance by identifying as a proudly un-hyphenated American, the sooner they will be become a vital part this great country.

Equalitarian partty