Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hyphenated Americans

Have you ever stopped to think about how racist hyphenated-American titles are? We call people (or they call themselves) “African-American,” “Asian American,” or “Hispanic-American” for no other reason than the fact that they don’t “look” like they are of white European descent.

My family came here from Norway in the late 1800’s yet no one has ever called me a Norwegian-American or European-American. I’m an American. But the families of many Asian, African and Hispanic Americans have lived in America long before the late 1800’s. If ancestry carried any weight, many of these folks have much more claim to the name "American" than I do since their families have lived here longer!

Yet we continue to call people “African-Americans,” “Asian-Americans” or “Hispanic Americans” as if they were only part American, or maybe not quite as fully American as us white European Americans. We persist in using discriminatory hyphenated titles for many Americans simply because they do not look like they are of white Europeans descent. Isn’t that racist?

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