Americanizing the Minoritized | INFJ Forum

Americanizing the Minoritized

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by bamf, Mar 1, 2010.

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  1. bamf

    bamf Is Watching You
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    In my research for my thesis (which is about student activism/militarism in the Chicano movement) I've come across some interesting ideas. People of Hispanic descent in the United States in the 1960's-1970's began calling themselves Chicanos and Chicanas. Prior to such a time they were generally referred to as Mexican-Americans (the term that is often times used today), and Chicano was a rather derogatory word.

    However, they adopted the name Chicano for their identity/movement to 1). dispel negative connotations about the word and 2). because they were fed up with the idea that they weren't fully American, rather that they were Mexican (first and foremost) and American (secondly).

    What do you think? Do you think terms like Native American, African America, Mexican America, and so on somewhat degrade people who in fact are fully American, but with an ethnic decent? Do you find it interesting/irritating that "white" people (most of are of European decent) are never referred to as European American? Do you find it interesting/irritating that minoritized groups of people have to be further 'Americanized' by adding the prefix American-________ regardless of the fact that they are 100% American? Why do you think it is that whites generally escape this fate? Do you think it in any way builds barriers (visible or invisible) between different ethnicities in America, even between people that all are American born?

    ((Sorry that this question is so limited to American citizens, but if you can relate it to anyone/anything outside of America please do so, I'd be interested to know))
     
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    #1 bamf, Mar 1, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
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  2. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    Excellent topic. (as usual)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_F_Word_%28South_Park%29
    Summary: Some people adopt a derogatory name for themselves, after a critical mass of name-calling has occurred, and begin to consider it as some special pride of theirs.

    I think words like American /or other nation-calling/ are degrading for a group of people who are fully human. :)D)

    But I'm not realistic enough, and for the time being, what you speak of is much more realistic issue to be addressed; and absolutely true. I will add that I know for certain some people enjoy pushing the agenda of "protection" of "minorities", just because it makes them feel superior to others. Something like a mild version of benevolent dictatorship. This just keeps the segregation alive. Like building a ghetto for some group, instead of proper rehabilitation. It was the right thing to do, in the past. It was part of the first steps, which were very hard. But it's time to go beyond that initial phase towards much more complete acceptance.
     
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    #2 enfp can be shy, Mar 1, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  3. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Hmm...

    I think it has a lot to do with identity and having an ethnic identity to begin with - and acceptance of that identity. If you're a minority, your ethnic identity tends to become a slight rather than an honor. If you're "White" you have fewer ethnic issues to deal with unless you happen to remember what it was like in the States as an Italian American or an Irish American in the early 1900s. Corporately, people are willing to identify with groups that they have a positive affinity towards or a positive identity to.

    It can be very, very difficult for someone who is considered "White" to readily accept that their family tree includes African Americans, and that their identity is made up of minorities. Mostly because for some time "that" identity was considered ugly, crass, and low, and had an identity connected to slavery. People don't like that, even though it's probably true for more than 40% of the United States.

    Separate ethnic terms were used in order to create an identity that could create pride in one's culture. The ethnic term wasn't given to them; the ethnic minority created the identity for themselves. That's why it's different; it was created by the minority who wanted it instead of a derogatory name given to them by someone who disliked them, corporately.
     
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  4. dneecey

    dneecey I am who I am.

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    I suppose I could be considered a Mexican American. Usually when people ask me what my ethnicity is I say Hispanic. I suppose this stems from some confusion on my part.

    I am from Texas, San Antonio actually, born and raised. I've always said that at the end of telling someone where I'm from too. As if that needed some sort of clarification. I never thought of that until just right now.. hm..

    Anyway, the reason I say it's a little confusing for me is because I'm not exactly sure where I'm from, other than definitely America. My mom was born in America, my grandmother was born in America, before that I have no clue. My grandmother was an orphan, and I have no idea who my biological grandfather was. As for my father, I didn't even know who he was really until i was nine, and we never talked about those things when I was young. Now we're not exactly close.. so *shrug*

    I assume we're Mexican American, that I am Mexican, because it makes the most sense to me given location. I didn't know growing up that most people actually do know where they are from. It just never really mattered to me. I was American. I spoke Spanish, I was raised in Texas, I had certain traditions, that was all just a part of me.. still is.

    It wasn't until I left Texas that people started asking me where I was from, and what my ethnicity was. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked that question. Everybody asks it. When I open my mouth, you can tell I'm American. I barely have a spanish accent, it's almost non existant.. but still I'm asked.. mostly if I'm asian, very rarely do they know automatically that I'm hispanic.

    I also never saw the terms Latina, or Chicana, as derogatory. I just thought it was another label. I call myself both occasionally. But the truth is, if I was never asked that question again, if I was always just thought of as ENFP Can be Shy said, "human" then that would be great.. at the very least I'll settle for American.. since I was born and raised here. *shrug*
     
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  5. Solongo

    Solongo Well-known member

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    Im an Americanized minority. Im an extreme minority since i can't even find another mongolian person close by if I wanted. I'd have to search for them.lol

    But in all seriousness adding American as a prefix in my opinion is a politically correct definition to better assimilate the minortiy groups into American culture for the purpose of keeping everyone identified without offending non native American citizens. I do not think however that it creates a specific subgroup or identity unless the minority person adopts it as part of their heirtage or identity.

    Then it becomes a personal issue of identity in America and what really makes us an American. I do not consider myself an American even though I am extremely assimilated mainly because I have not adopted the American identity as part of my heritage. If I wanted to dig deep into my roots then it will be all the way Mongolian. but my kids will have to adopt American as their heritage if they are born here.
     
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    #5 Solongo, Mar 2, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  6. Norton

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    Teddy Roosevelt in a speech to the mostly Irish Catholic Knights of Columbus at Carnegie Hall on Columbus Day 1915:

    "There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all... The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic... There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else."
     
  7. NeverAmI

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    I find it absolutely hilarious, saddening, ironic, and hypocritical that the REAL Americans are hyphenated to Native-Americans.

    So if we act like we (whites) were here originally, then people will start to believe it, right? Or at least out of sight, out of mind.

    There is so much BS that I find it hard to smile sometimes.
     
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  8. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    I've made posts on this before.

    It seems to me, an outsider, that the only truly "All American" is an athletic boy or girl of scottish/english descent.

    Hitler would be proud.
     
  9. testing

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    I wasn't quite sure how to answer this... but, groups do seem to like to call themselves special names sometimes. I'm not sure why. I don't usually care one way or another what someone's heritage is, or where there ancestors came from, but we do have a bunch of different groups with (somewhat) different habits trying to live together, and it seems to be source of pride and a means to segregate.

    Then there are the coon asses.

    I couldn't make this up if I tried: I was at a Mexican restaurant not too long ago, and a big group of people were eating nearby, and another person came up and started talking, loudly, and one said "You're a Coon Ass? ME TOO!" and they all started high-fiving and chest-bumping and were very thrilled to call each other Coon Asses. I had never heard that term before, and wondered if a fight was about to break out, but as it turns out, that's just a term for a Cajun from Louisiana. I had no idea.

    (Cajun, BTW, is short for Acadian, and they were -- oh, dear... I think they were a group of French Hugenots, who moved to Canada for religious reasons, and then they got chased out of there quite brutally, I think by the British, and settled in Louisiana, and their descendants now call themselves Coon Asses. Proudly.)

    Yeah, strange. I wonder if this kind of thing ever happens anywhere else.

    (Oh, and P.S: I agree with Teddy.)
     
    #9 testing, Mar 3, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
  10. 2understandme

    2understandme Regular Poster

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    From what I remember in history class, in the early 1900's if you came from Eastern Europe you were looked down upon. I believe they (the gov) even tried to disallow immigration from Eastern European countries for a while.

    I am sure there were different names for people back then, which have now been forgotten...
     
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  11. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    We don't hyphenate here in Canada. Thank goodness because it sure sounds confusing!
     
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  12. OP
    bamf

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    See what I find interesting is if we look back 100 years ago to around the turn of the 20th century, groups of commonly accepted "white" people weren't considered white. We had Jewish-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans, and so on.

    However, through various situations (especially WWI, WWII, and the influx of non-European immigrants) these once minoritized groups gained "white" status, and were open to receiving the perks that come with it.

    It's interesting that seeing as race is a social constraint, and to be "white" in the united states is a benefit, the definition of "white" is dependent on situations. I feel that all hyphenated Americans are left out of the "white" group, and thus face numerous challenges. It's as if to be American, one must be in the "white" group, and anything less deserves a hyphenation.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your opinions! Keep 'em coming!
     
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  13. Barnabas

    Barnabas Time Lord

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    realy I think the actual amount of hyphenated Americansis far lower then what people use the term for.

    Think about it how many African-Americansare from Africa, Mexico would have a better claim. Same with other hyphenation, how many people have been born outside of the states and moved here or are at least generation or two removed from there home country.
     
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  14. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    Good question.

    How people perceive this might vary with regional cultures.
    In Eastern New Jersey in the 1980s,for example, just about everyone thought of themselves as a hyphen-something American, even if their grandparents were born here. Polish-American, Irish-American, Italian-American, Puerto Rican-American, etc. The upside was that it was a level playing field for hyphen identities. The downside was that it was carried around by each group as a collection of stereotypes about the others.
     
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