June 8, 2005

Abstract argument of the day

In favor of homogenizing cultural identity, Joe Malchow reacts to a comment made on Eschaton:
Duncan Black:
I can't help but wonder if Asian-Americans will ever stop being considered to be "foreign" by a large chunk of our country. It's a very insidious manifestation of racism which is far more damaging than is often acknowledged.
Perhaps the name 'Asian-American' is what sends the foreigner signal. I don't consider any of my friends whose parents are Chinese to be foreign. But if they referred to themselves as Asian-Amercians, the hairy eyeball is coming [sic] out. I suspect pretty much everyone- with the exception of the obsessively politically correct- already has that bit of common sense.

Some people, Atrios will be surprised to learn, actually desire to be, simply, 'American.'

I don't at all desire to be, simply, 'American.' Incidentally, my mother is a first-generation immigrant, though she did not to come to the U.S. under the kinds of circumstances most immigrants do. And I'm not considered a foreigner.


  1. It doesn't really matter whether or not I choose to call myself Indian-American. The decision of my American-ness is made for me, whether or not I want aspire to be "simply American."
    In most of this country, until I open my mouth and let my un-accented english spew out, I am assumed to be foreign. For my parents, who do have accents, they will never be regarded as American, or at least, not in the sense that Joe and his parents are.
    Besides, I'm not just American. My life is shaped by the unique circumstances of my ethnicity and my parent's culture. I have no need to invoke my race every 5 seconds, but for the purposes of a term meant to imply something about who I am, I think I am just as valid in insisting that I am Indian-American as any other American who insists he/she is from New Jersey, or the South, or from Latino heritage.

    The "hairy eyeball" (wtf...?) is the generalization and assumptions most people make based on physical appearance, not the labels that we use in an attempt to accurately express our identities.

    (And really, I guess it would be most accurate to describe myself as a Indo-Jersey-Dartmo-American, but I think that would just confuse people.)

  2. Anonymous10:18 PM

    You're all a bunch of wide boys.