As more racial and ethnic groups insist upon calling themselves names such as African-Americans, Irish-Americans, and Polish Americans, it begs the question: Why can’t we all just simply be Americans? By emphasizing our differences, we are driving everyone else away. We are creating a generation that is more concerned with racial and ethnic differences rather than what we all have in common as Americans.
If this trend continues, we will never be able to fully address all of the past racial and ethnic issues that have plagued this country since its inception. Instead of trying to prove one ethnic or racial group is better than any other, we need to build ourselves up as Americans. Anything else is self-defeating and destructive.
By hyphenating our heritage, we don’t do justice to the history of our country. More often than not, people in the United States are products of several different racial and ethnic backgrounds. It is what makes our country unique, and a true nation of immigrants. For example, I have British, Scottish, Irish, Ukrainian, Dutch, and French-Canadian ancestry; I am a true mutt! If I identified myself as Irish-American, I wouldn’t be respecting all of the other nationalities/ethnicities that make me who I am. There may be some people who can call themselves truly Polish-American (having 100% Polish ancestry and born in the United States), but more often than not, people have backgrounds similar to mine.
We are a nation of immigrants from all over the globe. It is high time that we come together and create our own identity. We as a nation have already been through this process once as a result of the influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe during the 19th and early 20th century. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are welcoming people from Latin America and the Middle East. As a result, now is not the time to concentrate on our differences. It is a time to come together and redefine exactly what it means to be an American.
You might have ancestors that fought during the Revolutionary War or you might be the child of immigrants. It doesn’t matter. Once you are here, you are American. It is time that we all started acting like it. The sooner we all realize this; the better off the United States will be as a nation.
This might be controversial, but if immigrants don’t want to participate in the craziness that we call America, they should not be able to enjoy the rights and privileges that come with being an American. I’m not saying that everyone has to conform to one standard; I’m simply stating that immigrants who wish to be Americans need to agree to a certain set of rules. That means going through proper channels in order to work in the US, not taking much needed educational funds when you are not a legal American citizen, and not getting social security benefits if you are working as an illegal alien. If we create a sensible set of immigration rules and regulations, the better off we will be as a nation.