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Thread: You're American

  1. #1
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Default You're American

    Clarification: When I say first generation, I mean the first generation to be born in the U.S. (not the immigrants to the U.S.)

    Link: Facing a cultural divide in my mixed marriage

    I recently came upon a post about a Mexican-American having a cultural divide between his Mexican part and his American part. In one hand, he is American. On another hand, he is Mexican.

    It is very common for first generation born Americans to have this cultural divide. I feel too young to be considered a first generation (even though I am a first generation) because my attitudes aren't exactly like them, but I feel too old to be considered a second generation born American (that generation seems to eat McDs like every single week.) I am the only one in my family where my parents would refer me to my English name. I still have lingering attitudes, though they aren't as heavy as my next sibling who would be considered the older part of the first generation.

    On one hand, I am told I don't act Asian enough. On another hand, I am told that I am Asian or "Asian-American." Yes, I still eat Asian food, but I also like eating "American" food. I'm told that I am "Americanized" of some sort as if it was something bad. I can communicate to my family and relatives in another language, but only limited amounts compared to my sibling.

    I, at times, feel like I am in a tug-o-war between what it means to be Asian and what it means to be American. Sometimes, all I can think about is that I live in America, not your country of origin. But at times, I am treated as if I am not particularly American.

    Anyone else feel this way? Are there particular ways to quell this?

  2. #2
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    I want to say that those of us who were born and raised in America should be called Americans, and forget about all that other culture(al) stuff.

    But..

    As long as we have a heavy flow of a variety of new immigrants who are tied to their culture from another land, the forming of just one "American culture" can never happen. (Not that I wish it too happen).

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    Senior Member Santosha's Avatar
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    IMO- If you are a citizen of the United States, you are an American. You might be an American with asian heritage.. but having a different heritage does not make one any less American.. as the majority of the people in this country are not Native-American. When my grandfather migrated to the US from Scotland, he was very proud to identify as an American. America is a melting pot and just about everyone in at this point has heritage from somewhere else. To identify as an American does not mean that you give up or have chosen to deny your biological heritage. Quite the contrary. America was built on immigration, and embraces diversity. I do not understand this need to idenitfy heritage over citizenship. The great benefit of being an American is that you can celebrate whatever customs, religion, etc. you choose.. and it's nobodys business. If you are proud of your heritage (and I think everyone should be) you reflect ths through action, not words. I also find it rather offensive that you believe 2nd gen Americans should be identified by eating at McDonalds. There are many people thats family roots have been here for quite some time that despise it.
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

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    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Didn't mean to make that comment offensive. I was just taking note of something I found related to my second generation of relatives.

    I guess the better term to say would be more "assimilated"(and no.... not by eating McDs.)

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    Senior Member Santosha's Avatar
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    Understood
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

  6. #6
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    I think it's probably a good idea to still be an American but honor your heritage. My ESFJ ex is mixed, Mexican on his dad's side and English (yes, like his mother was born in England) on his mother's side. His father was actually born in the U.S. as a Mexican-American, so that makes my ex further down the line...but he would act ashamed of his father's side of the family, I guess because of so much racism toward Mexicans, he identified heavily with his mother's heritage, refuses to speak Spanish, et al.

    The closest he gets to honoring that part of himself is watching Mexican films and eating Mexican food, which really isn't much. He will not participate in any sort of activities that are traditional to his father's side of the family, though this may be because of things like their Catholocism (he is agnostic-atheist) and something about one of his uncles molesting his cousins despite being so religious.

    I think that shit is fucked up, I mean to deny a part of yourself, but it's his choice to be who he wants because THIS IS AMERICA.

    I do not think people should just drop their culture when they come here.

    On the other hand, I know someone else with mixed Japanese heritage whose family has been here for several generations who actually speaks a little Japanese and seems to feel a little more connected to his family's culture.

    I point this out in particular because I find that people from non-Western European cultures who are immigrants, or who even have heritage into the second, possibly even third generation who were born here and so were their parents, have more issues with this for some reason.

    I don't see this as much with people of Western European lineage, which just clarifies that a lot of this is just racism and nationalism in America, that people from non-Western European countries feel more conflicted, like from especially from Asia, Central America, or South America.

    My family has a lot of Native American, and I can assure you that there's very little about American culture that is Native American, interestingly enough. What makes up American culture is a mixture of the people who have immigrated here, with very little actual influence from Cherokees or Choctaws, though you still see a bit more appreciation for some elements of Native American culture more so in the South...but if you ask people in the rest of the country, they often see Southern culture as "backward" or "more tribal" and often not in a nice way.

    So we all have our cross to bear. The ex who is half-Mexican used to sometimes laugh at my Southern accent when I was mad, because it would come out really bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112
    I do not understand this need to idenitfy heritage over citizenship. The great benefit of being an American is that you can celebrate whatever customs, religion, etc. you choose.. and it's nobodys business.
    i don't know if it's a need as much as it's a problem of what others see as well. it's hard to feel like you belong somewhere when people are constantly treating you like an outsider, or a newcomer.

    i feel this way about the region i live in, rave. i was born here and my parents elsewhere. i am not really from where they are from, but i am not really culturally from here, either, because i grew up with my parents' native culture. it's frustrating, i know. sometimes i don't feel accepted in either place... like i am always a foreigner.

    i don't know if there's really a way of overcoming it, exactly, though i've grown a little more comfortable with it... i like that i can be "from" both places. i like that i have that deep knowledge of both cultures. i also find that i have to tell people to shove it sometimes... ultimately it doesn't really matter if we have a single identifying culture. we can have two. people who can't handle the idea of that need to face the fact that the world is more and more united, and we don't have to have a single solid cultural identity to be happy, healthy people, and we deserve to be treated as full members of the community.

  8. #8
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    Soothing the Dying Pillow

    The Ancient Romans preferred death to exile, for exile is a kind of living death.

    But we tell migrants anything rather than the truth. We tell them that migrants are entering a vibrant multiculural society, when their culture has come here to die.

    And we lie to our migrants because we feed off them just as we feed off the environment.

    And how cunning we are. We take migrants from many cultures so that no one culture will predominate and swamp us.

    And how very cunning we are. We tell migrants they are welcome in a multicultural society. But when we have a multiculural festival, it is only the migrants who take part. The host culture is not considered part of multiculturalism.

    And the elephant in the room is that there is no such thing as a multiculture, there are only living cultures.

    And migrant cultures come here to die not to florish and live. Their cultures are flourishing and living in other parts of the world, but not here.

    And how compassionate we are. We soothe the dying pillow with talk of multiculturalism

  9. #9
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    IMO- If you are a citizen of the United States, you are an American. You might be an American with asian heritage.. but having a different heritage does not make one any less American.. as the majority of the people in this country are not Native-American. When my grandfather migrated to the US from Scotland, he was very proud to identify as an American. America is a melting pot and just about everyone in at this point has heritage from somewhere else. To identify as an American does not mean that you give up or have chosen to deny your biological heritage. Quite the contrary. America was built on immigration, and embraces diversity. I do not understand this need to idenitfy heritage over citizenship. The great benefit of being an American is that you can celebrate whatever customs, religion, etc. you choose.. and it's nobodys business. If you are proud of your heritage (and I think everyone should be) you reflect ths through action, not words. I also find it rather offensive that you believe 2nd gen Americans should be identified by eating at McDonalds. There are many people thats family roots have been here for quite some time that despise it.
    I don't care what anyone else says, I consider myself a native American

    Some native Americans may have been here a few more generations than I, but I mean, come on, I want this title

    I was fucking born here

  10. #10
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    The whole identity thing is confusing. I don't think people who have never had to contend with it understand it. The thing I realized about being American, is that you don't have to wait for people to accept you, you just can go and claim it. They have no right to be able to judge that. One thing that Marm was close to bringing up.. parts of the country have totally different cultures than other parts. There's no reason to say that being Southern isn't being American. Same for being from Atzlan, or maybe just your house on the block that is 'Asian'.

    Cultural homogeneity is just a big myth that doesn't get questioned often enough. I'll have to dig into it sometime, but I think it's probably only a myth that probably only was accepted after the highways went up and national media happened.

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