My father is half black and half Irish. My mom is pretty much 100% English. That makes me half black Irish and half English. But my dad grew up in Cleveland, and my mom grew up in the boondocks of New York on a dairy farm. So, basically, I’m 100% American, but half rural and half urban.
America is supposedly the melting pot of societies. It’s where distinct, individual cultures go to die and melt into cheesy goodness, whereupon other societies dip apples and bread into our economic pot of whatever. I totally got lost in that train of thought, because cheese is my favorite food. So we’ll just let that metaphor die, shall we?
Anyway, for a country that used to be so “WE’RE ALL ONE,” things are getting increasingly polarized. Rick Santorum is campaigning on the concept that President Obama forgot about “real Americans.” Um… I have a feeling that Mr. Santorum is one of those annoying people who is positive that Obama was born in Kenya, is Muslim, a socialist, and secretly wears his wife’s clothing in the Oval Office. (Here I would insert a photo-shopped picture of Obama wearing one of Michelle’s sleeveless dresses, but I’m too lazy and I rather like the First Couple… Plus, I don’t particularly see anything wrong with those things)
Let me get one thing clear: there is no “real” or “fake” American. There are real or fake people, and you tend to notice more fake ones the more time you spend near sororities/fraternities, country clubs, plastic surgery clinics, and Hollywood nightclubs. If you’re born in the United States, have dual citizenship, or are Superman, congratulations! You are an American.
But there is a fake aspect to being an American. And here’s where I’m going to offend people, so if you’re easily offended… I’m kind of sorry. Not not. Not. And this fake classification annoys me so much that I’ve developed a tic on the right side of my face just thinking about it.
This fake aspect comes when we hyphenate ourselves. What do I mean, hyphenate? Well, the media likes to refer to people as “African-American” or “Mexican-American” or “Chinese-American,” but for the purposes of this entry, we’re going to focus on the first term. Which is entirely bullshit. We think it’s politically correct to call someone that, but in fact, it’s politically idiotic, as with most things political these days. “Politically correct” is just another fancy term for “biased”.
Back in the days of slavery up until the sixties (probably), there was this “one drop” rule. If you had “one drop” of black blood in you, then you were considered black. You were shunned, denied rights, and discriminated against. Even if you looked like me, and people only knew when you showed them a picture of your father. In fact, there’s a whole book about what I would’ve had to do back in the day. It’s a novel called Passing and it’s pretty depressing. Mixed women pretending to be white (even though they looked white), because if they owned up to their black heritage, they would be forced into the ghettos and lose all their rich-lady privileges. Back then, people were definitely, violently racist–and some still definitely are–and the hyphenated system came about as a way to try and be friendlier to people with beautiful skin tones. It was more like, “Hey, let’s try and make up for all that slavery, lynching, and bias stuff by being biased and calling you something a lot nicer sounding than n****r, but with all the remaining pretentiousness that comes with having pale skin.”
Ah, the joys of being politically correct.
For instance, people like to call President Obama an African-American. He’s not. His father qualifies, but he is American. He’s half white and half black. And from Hawaii. So if you want to get really, really politically correct, you should refer to him as an Asian Pacific-Hawaiian-Caucasian-African-American. But he only holds one citizenship, and that’s to the United States. So just cut the crap and say he’s half black. I won’t be offended.
I think people who hesitate to refer to someone as “Black” or “Hispanic” are probably racists. Not that they harbor any ill will to people blessed with darker skin and the ability to tan (Damn you! I got all the pasty white genes), but because of the trepidation that’s
built into our society. A lot of people feel like they have to tip-toe around issues like color, and that’s crap. Who cares what color you are? Seriously. It’s 2012. Get over it. All I care about is whether or not you give good hugs, if you like Disney movies, dogs, books, and dessert. If you don’t, you’re a buttface and I want nothing to do with you (Should we call those people Buttface-Americans?).
Let me give you an example for why hyphenating everyone of color is the dumbest thing ever. A few years ago, a kid was suspended from school for applying for an honor award. Why was he suspended? Because the honor award was for African-Americans. What was the problem? He was white. Oh, you say, well that makes sense. Except for the fact that he was born in South Africa and moved to Omaha (what a poor choice in relocation) when he was six, making him a legitimate African-American. There was a big hullabaloo, with a court case and everything.
And why do only people whose skin looks so much better than mine get to be hyphenated? Why isn’t everyone a Caucasian-American, or, as I am, an English-Irish-African-American? Or an English-Irish-African-Rural-Urban-American? Because that’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever had to type, and America only cares what your ethnicity is if it’s not European.
America should not care at all, is what I’m getting at. Whitney presents: Equality! In the weirdest way ever!
Writer’s note: I apologize if now anything written with hyphens makes you want to gouge out your eyes. I definitely over-used them (See what I did there?). To make a point.