Page 1 of 1

Hyphenated Americans (random thoughts, not ideology)

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:31 pm
by admin
Pluralism in the US : multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-national?

Multi-ethnic: That is self-evident. We have Italian-Americans, Polish-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Mexican-Americans, etc. And of course...
  • African-Americans. Now, that presents a problem or two. Is Africa a country? No. [How many countries are there in Africa? Pull out a map fast!] Is Africa one ethnicity? No. Is Africa "black" (in racial or skin color terms)? For the most part, but there are millions of White Africans! Are they also African-Americans???
  • How often do we hear about South-African-Americans? Congolese-Americans? Nigerian-Americans? Mozambican-Americans? Ethiopian-Americans? Kenyan-Americans? Liberian-Americans? Egyptian-Americans? Chadian-Americans? and other hyphenated terms that I am not even sure how to construct since I have never heard them (designating new Americans from Cape Verde, Mali, etc)
  • Is it that there just are not enough of them from any particular country to rival the Polish-Americans or the Irish-Americans? Come to think of it, I don't quite remember anything about Swedish-Americans, Finnish-Americans, Norwegian-Americans, Danish-Americans. What is the commonly used term for them, is it Scandinavian-Americans or hockey-playing Americans?
  • Speaking of hockey, I rarely come across "Canadian-Americans". I wonder why. Perhaps America cannot afford more than one Michael Moore.
  • French-Americans? Would the alleged superiority of anything French and the alleged "nouveau riche" opulence of anything American stand in the way of this adaptation? I don't know too many French-Americans, but I would propose a name for them, which my lebecfinois might find more acceptable. Oops, I already used it.
  • British-Americans? Now, that's a worrisome combination that gives me the chills. How many ways can one spell imperialism? Sorry Great Britain friends, but Bush, Thatcher and Blair keep dancing in my head and that's just for my contemporaries! You deserve much better representation (I think)
  • Spanish-Americans? Excuse me, are they Hispanics? Not sure whether "Hispanic" is reserved for the non-hyphenated "Latinos" or whether it covers all Spanish-speaking people.
  • Brazilian-Americans? Are they Hispanic? I guess not. Are they Latinos? Certainly! Do they play soccer? Hum...
  • Caribbean-Americans? Do they speak Spanish as well as French and English? Do Puerto-Ricans (already hyphenated!), Dominicans, and Cubans in U.S., consider themselves Caribbean-Americans or just baseball-playing Americans?
  • What about Haitians in U.S.??? Are they Haitian-Americans, Caribbean-Americans or African-Americans (in any combination) ? Do we have the unique distinction of being multi-hyphenated Haitian-Caribbean-African-Americans coming from a place smack in the middle of Latin America, but not really belonging to it...
    • for not speaking Spanish[/*:m]
    • for not playing baseball[/*:m]
    • for remembering our African roots[/*:m]
    • for embracing our African-ness, without the racial inferiority complex ingrained in others[/*:m]
    • for the willingness and ardent desire to forget about any amount of colonizer blood flowing in our veins also[/*:m]
    • for not seeing even the possibility of White Haitians anymore than White African-Americans in the U.S.[/*:m]
    • for our reverence of Mother Africa, perhaps more than Africans themselves[/*:m]
    • for speaking our very own language (call it Haitian, Kreyol, Creole, Haitian Creole, whatever... Kreyòl pale, Kreyòl konprann)[/*:m]
  • Martinican-Americans or Guadeloupean-Americans? Or would they be considered Caribbean-Americans or French-Americans... Not "Lebecfinois,"I suppose.
  • Puerto-Rican-Americans? Well, would not make any more sense than New-Yorker-Americans or would it?
  • Asian-Americans? Like Scandinavian-Americans, I suppose. But does the term cover also Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalis, etc... or are they known as South-Asian-Americans?
  • Arab-Americans? Whom does this term cover: people originating from the Arabian Peninsula (Saudis, Syrians, Lebanese, ...), but not Persia? In other words, an Iranian-American would not be an Arab-American, since an Iranian is not Arab but Persian, right? What about Iraqi-Americans? What about Egyptians (North Africa)?
  • Israeli-Americans? Never heard of it. Perhaps because of "the double nationality thing" or perhaps because they are referred simply as "Jewish". [/*:m]

All right, let's stop right here, though we could obviously go on exploring the intricacies of hyphenated-Americans (a term coined - derisively - by Woodrow Wilson, I believe).

To be continued...

Africa for Africans At Home and Abroad

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:01 pm
by Empress Verite

You made an excellent point about Africa being used instead of specific countries. Ida B Wells made that point way back when claiming that the black folks were from Africa and not Negro land. (although that term supposedly was a reference to folks who came from the area around the Nile). Anyway, Africa/Alkebulan is an entire continent the second largest. And the black people are referred as being of African descent because of the sad fact that many of us do not know (and cannot afford the genetic testing to determine) our origin. And once determined it would not refer to a nation state per se but to an ethnic group who live within certain borders on the continent. It's also racist too that white folks from various parts of Europe and even Canada are not routinely hyphenated unless they have something to gain by claiming "ethnic" like the Italians and the Irish. The others prefer to blend in with the Mayflower crowd.

Another comment I wanted to respond to is that most Muslims live in Asia and are not ethnic Arabs from the nation states that you stated. And finally, Israelis are not all Jewish and until 1948 most Jewish people in the US who make us a significant portion of the 11% of the population (300 million) are from Europe and did not come from occupied Palestine. And "Israel" is not a Jewish state legally! There are Arab and Muslim Israelis and Christian ones too.

(I know that you realize these things. But I had to say my peace out lout just so you know my stand!)


Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:10 am
by admin
Thank you so much for speaking your mind. I do learn a lot from you.

BTW, are you taking a stand (as you claim) or are you merely stating the facts as you understand them?

I wish more people on this forum would do like you and contribute their understanding of the term "African-American"? Is it synonymous with Black? Does it apply to all people who originate from Africa (including White and other-than-Black Africans) or is the term strictly reserved to Blacks or a subset of Blacks? If it is a subset of Blacks, just what is that subset?

Are we talking only of the descendants of Africans who were enslaved in the U.S. or all Blacks that were born in the Americas?

What about Africans (that is people who were actually born in Africa from diverse countries) that have come to live in the U.S. in more recent years and adopted U.S. citizenship?

What differentiates more: the color of the skin, the culture, or the region (or country) of origin?

[quote]most Muslims live in Asia and are not ethnic Arabs from the nation states that you stated[/quote]
Please elaborate, so we can learn more about this.

[quote]Israelis are not all Jewish[/quote]
Thanks for making the point. I knew this, but I hear precious little about Arab Israelis. Also, do you have some statistics about how many Israelis are not Jewish? How many are Muslim or Christian? How many are neither Jewish, Muslim, nor Christian?

Do Arab and/or Muslim Israelis have any influence on Israel's government policies?

[quote]until 1948 most Jewish people in the US who make us a significant portion of the 11% of the population (300 million) are from Europe and did not come from occupied Palestine[/quote]
11%! Wow, I never imagined they were that many Jews in the U.S.

Thanks for picking up the challenge. We can all learn from each other.


Guy-The Comedian

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:21 pm
by Empress Verite

You should write some plays Guy.

In response to your request, I will check it out on the net or ask around. Please give me a couple of days for some response.

(Do you think that I should wait post elections to respond?)

Best regards,

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:31 pm
by admin
Elections? Where are they taking place? I know of some selections that are taking place this coming Tuesday, but I did not know about elections. Inform me please. Geographically speaking, it's been a while since we had elections in these parts... they sort of recede in memory.

Take your time to respond to my request. It's better to have accurate information to straighten out that whole hyphenated-nation-culture-religion-ethnicity business, before we step on anyone's toes without knowing. Seriously, I thought more people were going to contribute to this thread.

On another front: before, you had me pegged as president; now, it's comedian. Same difference, as they say.

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:33 pm
by Michel Nau_
Empress Verite wrote: [quote]What about Haitians in U.S.??? Are they Haitian-Americans, Caribbean-Americans or African-Americans (in any combination) ?[/quote]
It depends on what the purpose of the survey is all about and what and who is going to use it for.

The term African-American was introduced for the first time by Jesse Jackson if I am not mistaken and used mostly on Federal Government forms to designate a person of color. I am an African-American because I am a person of color.

The States and County governments go a little bit further. They use also ethnicity and place of birth and geographical origin to provide a better service to their community.

They provide financial assistance to Haitians and the Caribbean community to organize carnival, parade, fair craft expo, festival etc.
They know mostly where the Caribbean community lives, and what they need as assistance.

Empress Verite wrote: [quote]Spanish-Americans? Excuse me, are they Hispanics? Not sure whether "Hispanic" is reserved for the non-hyphenated "Latinos" or whether it covers all Spanish-speaking people.[/quote]
The term “Latino” was used the first time by the British to describe non English speaking colonies in southern America who have their languages derived from the Latin language.

People from South America consider themselves Latinos or indios or Afro-Indios and it depends on how pride they are of their origin.

Some activists bullshiters, bluffers, use ethnicity, race, color, place of origin to get their message across, and to scam, and rip-off poor and uneducated immigrant people by using all kind of afro centric and Latino paraphernalia, emotion, homesickness and sometimes duress. Other activists like you use these terms to provide a better service to their community, and we are pride of that. Keep the good work!!

Guy wrote: [quote]Elections? Where are they taking place? I know of some selections that are taking place this coming Tuesday, but I did not know about elections. Inform me please. Geographically speaking, it's been a while since we had elections in these parts...[/quote]
Guy Boss Papa! Al rampli devwa sivic w pou pa di ke w pran nan fo mamit!! Like it or not this is a democratic ritual that you can not afford to miss. Enjoy it and be pride of it.

It's your right and duty as an American citizen to go and vote. I have been working as a volunteer since the Primary elections, and now with the General elections I am busy more than ever. I have to open my district that I am responsible for at 6:00 AM and close the polls at 8:00 PM. I will probably go home as usual around midnight.

Where are they[elections] taking place??
Just look around you!!
can you feel it??

Even tough my party is in deep craps now, even a miracle couldn't save them, but they will still find a way to win.


Thank You Very Much

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:58 pm
by Empress Verite

You can be both a comedian and a President. GW is doing a good acting job following the script that his party directors have written for him. In addition, you may have seen the new movie with Robin Williams where he runs and wins as a President. His previous profession was a comedian.

I will take my time about collecting that information. The reason that I asked if I should wait is because first, I could not believe that you didn't already know all of that stuff. You sound like you studied social science and you seem pretty knowledgeable and you live in Jersey. Secondly, this election like all of the ones in the past 6 years have been turned on the single issue of Jewish rights in and outside of the country. The anti terror movement is being spearheaded by Jewish conservatives in the Bush camp who are out to outdo the Natzis in my view. I know that first hand from the job they've done on me in academia especially in Miami.

You credit me with 2 quotes about Haitian Americans etc and Hispanics that I did not write. Guy wrote them. Thanks but not mine. And the term AfricanAmerican was first coined by Ida B. Wells way back when during the early 20th century. Jesse Jackson popularized it and it became a legal term almost 2 decades ago.

I wish that you were in Miami to do more voter education. The Haitian self appointed leaders have not done a good job at helping folks figure out who is a good person to vote for based on how this person will deal with issues that affect us. As such, I did not vote for any judges because I did not know their records or how they affect me in their voting. And there were various referendums? on issues that I knew nothing about. The commercials don't help at all either. I ended up voting for my favorite person on planet earth. The one I know will always tell me the truth and has my back at all times. Me Myself and I. I wrote my name in when a write in candidate was allowed.

Best regards,


Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 7:11 pm
by admin
[quote]even a miracle couldn't save them, but they will still find a way to win[/quote]
Amen to that! That's just what I was afraid of.

[Did they authorize you to tell the truth?] By hook or by crook, I know they will find a way. Just as they did in Florida in 2000. Just as they did in Ohio in 2004. Now, they probably will do it all over the map.

Michel, as a good republican, you are supposed to switch the votes around, not the quotes. Remember "the votes, not the quotes... the votes, not the quotes..." and you'll do just fine.

Michel-A Republican!

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 7:41 pm
by Empress Verite
Sak Pase again Michel?

I wanted to add that I am not an activist at all. I have been to some protests when I was in High School and later in college and graduate school but that's all. I do not activate about any issue except my right to exist. I am baffled at how so many people including Haitians assume that I am an activist or that I want that title. I am an outspoken speaker who wishes to OUT the truth about certain important issues that are relevant to my life in society. In addition, I have studied a great deal and I have strong opinions based on my studies and the knowledge that I've gained which is experiential at times but mostly based on the empirical facts.

I find it interesting that even in academia my outspoken voice was deemed activist as a way to dismiss what I said as being non-empirical and political. It is outrageous that even in that arena we cannot utter the truth and that lies have become the order of the day or the course that those who want to succeed follow.

I applaud the efforts of activists who march and chant down babywrong but I am still looking for the protest to attend where I will feel safe and not threatened by the other protestors. In Miami, activism is a way of life for many (1st generation Haitians) and they are easily threatened by others whom they deemed more authentic than they are. So, my experience has been that they behave violently and are threatening to folks like me and my loved ones. That's what happenned to me at the last "protest" that I attended, advertised by Jaf for the DemocRats in the 2004 s/elections. Never again! I was trying to help but I failed to follow my instincts. The whole thing was a set up. We were so mistreated, the local professional activists who stood behind me on line signaled the vendors not to give me and my kids water. We were of course the only dread/rasta family there and we were not welcomed. And so many Haitians rolled their eyes at us and gave us threatening looks and pushed us around. I let them because I wanted to see how far their ugliness would go before I did something drastic myself. Those issues are not my business and neither is the DemoRATic party. (Look what they've done to the Socialist Equality Party folks. They've bullied them and beat them up the same way that the RepubliKKKLans have done to them. It is messed up. And Howard Dean should be ashamed!)

Best regards.