Time for Americans To Be A FamilyBy D.
C. BurchIt seems to be a time for Americans to try and be a family again. Maybe aquarrelsome and restless family not entirely happy with each member all of thetime, but a family nonetheless.OK, I admit it. I am confused and perplexed by the storm of politicalcorrectness sweeping throughout the nation, raising dust-devils and tempests;leaving destruction and chaos in its wake.The English language is being transmogrified to quell and satisfy members of theAmerican society who feel they should somehow, be special; apart from ourcitizenry. Thus my confusion.
I’ve been called a privileged white-boy by some, honky by others, and cracker byothers still. All this because I grew up in a middle class family in Toledo,Ohio? I’ve never considered myself to be anything special, certainly neversuperior to anyone or anything by virtue of my ancestry, just your basic, run-of-the-mill guy who wants to do the right thing.From the time I was little boy, I have seen one particular group called colored,Negro, black, and now, African-American. I can’t seem to find a consensus outthere in any media, one moment the reference is to blacks, and the next toAfrican-Americans, when they are referring to the same group of people.I’m not knocking what people want to call themselves, it’s the mixed messagesI’m getting and the inaccuracy of the terminology that frustrates me.Look around and you will see there is the National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People, the Black Muslims, and African-Americans.All of these terms are used to refer to members of one group of people.
Is itany wonder I’m confused?I have particular problems with the term African-American, a misnomer whichwould lead me to believe these people somehow hold dual citizenship with anothercountry, or even worse, lead everyone to believe all those who use that term todescribe themselves are of African origin and are exclusively black in color.As we all know, there are white Africans, too. Should they choose to come to theU.S., they too, would be eligible for the label African-American, which wouldfurther confuse the issue.Enter the U.S.
Census Bureau.Rather than help clear up the mess, they perpetuate it by requesting racialinformation and make-up of families that does nothing more than perpetuate thelies we tell one another. At least with the Census Bureau, their are Asians,Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Other, and Whites. I don’t know about youfolks but, I was born here in the U.S., so logically, I’m as native an Americanas one can get.Why do we continue to confound ourselves with inaccurate and self-serving terms?Why perpetuate lies? Either we are Americans first and foremost, or we aren’t.
There really is an easy solution to this whole problem, those of us born withinthe boundaries of the United States are Americans, period. Should we choose toidentify ourselves as being Americans of a given ancestry, wouldn’t that servethe purpose?Those who have emigrated from other countries should continue to refer tothemselves as natives of that country until such time they choose to becomenaturalized citizens of the U.S. Then, they too, are Americans.Separating ourselves into groups and isolated pockets of society will only serveone purpose, it will allow others to divide and conquer us all that much easier.There was a time that we were all considered American, we had a common goal anddestiny to fulfill.
We had a message to share with the rest of the world thatof hope for a tomorrow that would be better for all of us if we would just putaside our differences and work toward a common goal: Peace in our time for alltime.Have we achieved that goal? No, not by a long shot. But we have made significantsteps in the right direction.
For every step of progress we make toward that end, I think we slide furtherback by accentuating our differences rather than focusing on our similarities.