June 19, 2013

A COUNTRY, NOT A NATION:

We're all American : Where we came from isn't as important as who we are (KYLE SMITH, June 16, 2013, NY Post)

What's your ancestry? If you said, "American," you've got company.

In the 2000 census and since, more than 20 million people said their origin was American. [...]

In his new book, "Native Americans: Patriotism, Exceptionalism and the New American Identity," James S. Robbins also teases out some other surprising details from what you might dismiss as the Waffle House or NASCAR slice of the country. For instance, a lot of the self-styled ethnic Americans are urban or suburban, not rural: The areas surrounding both Dallas and Atlanta are home to more American-Americans than any other ethnic group.

Demographers have been vexed by this widespread insistence on American origin. In the 1980 census, which specifically asked respondents where their people came from "before their arrival in the United States," anyone who persisted with answering "American" simply was not counted. "To choose 'American,' you have to be a rebel in a way," says a professor quoted by Robbins, who adds, "That was precisely the point." [...]

"We are not threatened by ethnic backgrounds now," Michael Marsden, provost at Eastern Kentucky University and a resident of the state where a plurality identify as American-Americans, says in the book. "I think we realized that we can be different but, at the same time, the same."

Adds Robbins, "Families and peoples that have been in this country for one or two or four centuries should not consider themselves to be from someplace else."

Posted by at June 19, 2013 5:23 AM
  

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