Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm Proud To Be An American

Maybe it's the rush of the Winter Olympics coming to a close or the fact that all of my Canadian friends have been relentlessly taunting me about winning the gold in hockey, but either way, I am constantly baffled by the affectation (or maybe hypocrisy is more appropriate) of most Americans. Nothing to due with sporting events necessarily, but rather just our general arrogance and national chest puffing about being the biggest, best, strongest, richest, etc, country in the word, yet when asked, "what is your nationality?" the answer is never "I'm an American".

Try it. Go out and ask ten people on the street in America what nationality they are. Ten out of ten people will give you an answer other than American. You'll get answers like "I'm a quarter Irish, a quarter Czech and half German" (unless you come across anyone with a fraction of Italian. Someone who is a sixteenth Italian will proudly boast "I'M ITALIAN!"). A strange phenomenon. Maybe it is because I have had the wonderful good fortune to visit Europe several times that this strikes me as so strange. If you went to Spain and said to someone there that you are Spanish or of Spanish decent they would look at you as if you had seven heads. In Europe you usually don't even have the chance to make such a mistake because people will almost immediately just point out, "oh, you're American". A common question asked in polite company is cities like London is "where are you from originally?". This seems like the appropriate question we should be asking here in the good ol USA. Maybe I'll try and bring that back (kinda like I want to bring back the work Tenderoni).

I discussed this topic with some lovely gentlemen from England the other night and they were completely floored when I told them Americans don't ever say they are American. We came to a couple of conclusions. Firstly, The United States of America is very young by comparison to countries in Europe with literally thousands of years of history. Secondly, we are a very large country with fifty states whereas Europe has neighboring countries with different customs, language etc as close in proximity as Arizona and California. The USA is commonly referred to as a melting pot of culture, race and custom so we may all be searching for our historical identity. We also sort of stole this land in a rather brutal way and maybe there is a tinge of guilt with claiming native ownership, so to speak. Either way, maybe we should all revisit our own sense of national pride and identify with it. After all, nationality is just geography.

U - S - A!!!

~ Kate's Rant

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