The use of hyphenated identity names seems to be growing; you know the kind I am referring to: African-American, Mexican-American and now I heard of Muslim-American. I have even noticed lately that the media is now dropping the hyphen. The inventors and users of these terms probably are looking for something to unite them but I see their use as divisive. What’s wrong with just being an American?
In addition to being divisive the terms make absolutely no sense. What is the protocol for establishing these hyphenated identities? Is it continent-country, religion-country, race-country or some other meaningless combination?
I have often wondered if a white person born in Africa becomes an American citizen are they considered African-American? And what about an American in Spain, are they American-Spaniards? Or how about a black person in the United Kingdom?
All this makes about as much sense as referring to someone from the state of Ohio as an Ohio-American.
Ethnicity is fun when it comes to food and entertainment. Ethnic origins and backgrounds also contribute to the healthy exchange of ideas and indeed form the foundation of our American experience. Especially offensive among the collection of identities are the divisive terms used to separate us by skin color, race or religion.
The popular use of hyphenated identities should be scrapped; nothing useful or informative is communicated through the use of these divisive labels. We are first and foremost all equal as human beings and we are all Americans.
That’s my view, what’s yours?