The Hyphenated or Forward Slash American

I dislike African-/American. I dislike Mexican-/American. I also dislike Italian-/American and Chinese-/American.  Discern a pattern here? I assure you it’s non-racist and non-bigoted.

What I dislike is the practice of putting the country of origin before America, emphasizing where one’s family came from before where they are now. It just serves to fragment us into separate ethnic camps.  In my day, we were taught in social studies that America was the great Melting Pot. All the different ingredients poured in, I mean, were poured into the pot where they all blended together into the stew called Americans.

Why is that people who cry “America First!” are so eager to put another country’s name in front of America? That’s what the hyphen or the forward slash does—it separates us from America. I’m all for being proud of one’s ethnic identity and heritage, but when our foreparents came to this shore past the Statute of Liberty, walked onto Ellis Island, and later took the oath of citizenship, they made a pact to swear allegiance to the American flag, not the Greek-/American flag, or the Lebanese-/American flag.  There are two exceptions to the oath takers: blacks who were brought here as slaves and Native Americans. I dislike Native American. I dislike it because it’s inaccurate. Whether they are called Native Americans or Indians they did not originate here, unless America 3000 years or so ago annexed Asia including the foot path across the Bering Strait. There are no indigenous people here. We’re all immigrants, folks! And although American Indian is also inaccurate, it’s a lot closer to “American indigenous” if that’s the point someone is trying to make.

And what about the term Native American? What’s to stop tribes from taking it further and describing themselves as Navajo-/Native American-/American or Seminole-/Native American-/American or Snohomish-/Native American-/American or Cherokee-/Native American-/American? And what about the Sioux? Are they Dakota-/Sioux/Native American-/American or Lakota etc. or Teton etc. or Santee, etc. or Nakota etc. or Yankton etc.? But then you got your Oglala, etc. Lakota Sioux and Mdeakantonwon, etc. Dakota Sioux and both Upper AND Lower Yankton-/Yankton and on and on. It would be the same thing when dealing with Arabic tribes and Palestinians. But I digress.

Let’s take these hyphenated or forward slash labels out to their absurd conclusion. My kids can describe themselves as Russian-/Romanian-/Polish-/Irish-/German-/Native American-/American. What one ethnic group could they possibly belong to?

The Israelis and the Iranians are very aware of their ethnic origins and look how well that’s working out for them.

But we still haven’t reached the limits of absurdity. We’ve yet to arrive at Jewish/- or Christian-/ or Muslim-/ or Presbyterian-/ or Episcopalian-/ or Lutheran-/ or Baptist-/ or Southern Baptist-/ or Mormon-/ or Seventh-Day Adventist-/ or Jehovah’s Witness-/ or Buddhist-/ or Agnostic-/ or Atheist-/ Pantheist-/ or ad infinitum added to the ethnic mix of origin names. Let’s go further: Democratic-/, Republican-/, Green-/, Peace and Freedom-/, Independent-/, and blah blah blah.

And with each additional name, the groups keep getting smaller and smaller until your children are in their own group separate from yours.

So, forgive me if I don’t get into the whole hyphenated or forward slash thing. I refuse to do it for skin color, too. There are no Black or Caucasian or Red or Yellow or Brown Americans to me.

I’ll say it again: the practice of putting the country of origin before America, emphasizing where one’s family came from before where they are now, just serves to fragment us into separate ethnic camps. It puts ME in front of US. And take a look around our country today: it’s US against THEM, them being the powers that be that are intent on helping us build our separate camps.


So, I for one will eschew all of these hyphenated or forward slash American labels. Because when the day comes and the space aliens land and interbreed with humans, I don’t want to even begin to think of learning how to spell THOSE names…






A Piss Poor Way For The U.S. Marines Brass To Handle The Situation

OK,  I get the p.r. hit to the U.S. with the symbolism of American Marines urinating on dead Afghan fighters. But please explain this: why is it perfectly OK for the military to blow living people to pieces with drone bombers but it’s a court martial offense to piss on a dead person’s corpse? To me, all of this outrage is artificial and self-serving because our only fear is of terrorist retribution because we “pissed” them off..
And before we heap all the blame on those four Marines, let’s examine the situation realistically to see where the blame should lie. Yeah, those four guys didn’t show common sense–especially in allowing themselves to be recorded on video. But who recruited these guys into the Marines in the first place? They had to make it through basic training and testing before they could be anointed Marines and deployed to Afghanistan. There was no indication to their commanding officers that these young men–perhaps kids barely out of their teens–lacked sufficient judgment to be left on their own in a combat zone?  For all the outward bravado displayed by U.S. Marines, they are probably more in fear of dying in combat than their Muslim enemies. Sacrificial death seems to be more ingrained in the Islamic faith than in the Christian one, despite its genesis in a sacrificial death. The act of urinating on the bodies of your enemy is a way for young fear-filled minds to confirm that they are ones still alive.
And lastly, do the Marines or any branch of the military offer mandated educational classes for all recruits that instruct them in the sensibilities and the sensitivities of the Muslim mind? As always, the military will scapegoat these four by court martialing them and ruining their lives all for the sale of one thoughtless act which certainly didn’t hurt or affect the bodies that were pissed on. It’s just another instance of military brass face saving by buck passing. Until they act pre-emptively to head off these thoughtless actions, they will be repeated. After all, kids will be kids.