Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy Hyphenated-American Day

Today is the day that I hold as evidence that these populists who are always whining about so-called Hyphenated Americans and asserting that multiculturalism is ruining America and stuff are full of shit. Their idea (in practice) is that if (for instance) Mexican immigrants really wanted to be Americans, that they wouldn't retain ties to their ancestors' culture through language, flags, holidays, customs, etc.

Listen, in Chicago they dye the river green on St. Patty's Day, fer chrissakes! This is not the United States of Ireland, is it? Until I see one of the Anti-H-A crowd lead a campaign against that, I am not going to be too sympathetic to their arguments. (To be honest, I still wouldn't be too sympathetic afterwards, either, but at least I would credit them for being consistent.) As long as Chicago does the annual greening of the river, I can't see why I'm supposed to get upset over a bunch of first- or second-generation Mexican immigrants driving around with Mexican flags on Cinco de Mayo.

I have to say that objecting to "Hyphenated Americanism" is not necessarily racist, but I also have to say that it is an easy veil to throw over xenophobia or mysoxeny. (New word?)

Speaking of new words, let me cite William F. Buckley, who opined that words exist to meet a felt need (briefly explained here). Why do the terms "African-American," "Italian-American," "Arab-American," etc. exist? Because in the market of free ideas, enough people have found them useful definitions that they have stuck. When people stop finding utility in those definitions, they will fade.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home