Hyphenated Americans


#1

MLD pointed out a quote by Theodore Roosevelt. I like to hear other’s opinions.

His quote:

quote:
Originally posted by Mai Longdong "In this country we have no place for hyphenated Americans." - Theodore Roosevelt

Her’es my opinon:

Great quote MLD, but you really should catch up with the 21st century. We’re not in 1941 anymore.

quote:
In terms of the American response, there's another important difference between 1941 and now, one that's quite heartening. Tragically, there have been hate crimes committed against Arab-Americans since the attacks of September 11. But one difference we can point to between then and now is that highly placed public officials, including Rudy Giuliani, as well as members of the mainstream media, have gone out of their way to tell Americans that they should not attack Arab-Americans,[b] that hyphenated Americans are just as American as other Americans. [/b]On December 8th, 1941, the New York Times matter-of-factly reported, without any comment suggesting that this action was wrong, that "John P. Keenan, Public Safety Director of Newark, ordered policemen to board all trains in Newark and to take into custody 'all suspicious persons of oriental character.'" This is the kind of behavior that we do not see condoned by the government in the United States today. As we all know, [b]President Roosevelt issued an order in 1942 to round up Japanese-Americans and have them interned.[/b] This has not happened in our own time, and I hope that we will not move in that direction against Arab-Americans.

One of the reasons I have hope is that we have learned a historical lesson. During the current crisis, history has been at the ready. People knew that Japanese-Americans had been interned, so from September 11, they could use this history and say, “let’s not repeat this mistake.” I read now from the September 11 Oregonian, from the extra that was published that afternoon. The editorial states, “We cannot repeat the worst mistakes of our last response to an attack on American soil, when we rounded up Japanese-Americans and let blind fear overwhelm our own beliefs in liberty and freedom.” This shows the importance of history in action. If we hadn’t spent several decades educating the American public, not just in academic journals, but in institutions and through means that all Americans could access, people wouldn’t have been able to make this point, and to accept it, so quickly.

http://www.lclark.edu/dept/collcomm/bernstein.html


For more on Japanese-American internment experience:
http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/index.html


#2

This is what Pat Buchanan said on the subject:

http://www.issues2000.org/Pat_Buchanan.htm

quote:
End bilingualism; end “hyphenated-Americans” Not one federal dime should go to perpetuate bilingualism. We look forward to a day when there are no “hyphenated-Americans,” when all are proud to be called, simply, Americans. Source: [url=http://www.gopatgo2000.com/000-c-mmigration.html]www.gopatgo2000.com/000-c-mmigration.html[/url] 5/28/99 May 28, 1999

#3

Surprisingly, I agree somewhat with Buchanan’s stance on this issue. There is no point in having bilingual divisions in American society…it will only serve to balkanize. Funding Spanish bilingual education (or any other bilingual program) in the U.S. is a waste of tax dollars that could be spent on teaching those kids english. As far as hyphenation goes it’s an unfortunate result of race politics. “Whites” in the U.S. don’t have hyphenation even though there’s plenty of fairly recent eastern european/irish/italian/german immigrants in the past 100 years. The fact is hyphenation is based on racial looks alone…it’s not factual. In that sense it should be done away with, however things are not totally equitable in American society. Abolishing ethnic identity and having everyone treat each other as equal Americans is a noble pursuit but it’s not likely to become reality. Sometimes that hyphenation gives political/social pull in society that minorities DO need in some instances to prevent discrimination.


#4

So,who else belive in this “no hyphenated American” stuff? Let’s see:

quote:
So, when you hear the term African-American, Mexican-American and Asian-American you had better realize what you are really hearing is a declaration that America is under attack and under siege. The enemy is determined and organized. The speaker is not at all concerned with the America you know and love. He is only interested in a different, darker America within which you and your children will have no place. Listen to what the Hyphenated Americans mean, as well as what they say!

Can you guess where this passage is from?
Here’s more clue for you to guess.

http://www.ilovewhitefolks.com/hyphenate.html

quote:
TO THE EXCLUSION OF ALL COMPETITIVE NOTIONS, we have established, beyond any retrieval, the concept of the "Hyphenated American." There is no such thing as an American. It is clear that there never was but the white population of this country was sold the idea that we lived in a melting pot where all races and nationalities were joined into a common bond of Americanism and each member became an American. No longer is that myth promoted, even by the left wing radicals. Oh no. Now the only ones mouthing that nonsensical drivel are the poor white people who actually believed the lie that they were originally told by the liberals. They haven't yet figured it out that all the non-whites are more concerned with their race than their Americanism. This puts the whites into a fight for their own country which they originally were kind enough to share with other races. They had no such obligation to other races. If they had kept all other races out of their country no one could have legitimately objected to that position. (Abraham Lincoln, before he was shot, had already put in motion a plan to send all blacks back to Africa. After his death the plan fell by the wayside.) So, if the non-whites in America are not satisfied to be just plain Americans, then the whites should not be either. It is clearly time for white Americans to realize that they are under attack by minority groups who wish to rip the American country right out of their hands.

The whites conquered a wilderness sparsely filled with savages


Go to the web site for more.


#5

I acknowledge there are very racist agendas by right wingers and white supremacists who want to do away with hyphenization. The primary reason of course is to weaken minority political power in the U.S. It’s better to claim that minorities have fully integrated and totally enjoy the fruits of American society while working behind the scenes to oppress. However, there needs to be a balance struck between this. You can’t divide up American society by racial classification so much that it balkanizes. You need it so where minorities are given enough support to maintain equitable leverage from discrimination yet maintain some form of national cohesiveness. That’s pretty much what we are seeing these days…


#6
quote:
Originally posted by ABCguy24: Surprisingly, I agree somewhat with Buchanan's stance on this issue. There is no point in having bilingual divisions in American society..it will only serve to balkanize

I agree that the official language should be kept as English. Although dual language policy has encouraged Quebec’s nationalism, but multi-language system has worked in places like Malaysia and Singapore.

Children of new immigrants have a tough time adjusting, so some forms of bilingual education should be there to try to expedite their transition.


#7

It’s not a matter of concern really, America is a free country and if you’re American, you’re free to determine whether or not you want to hyphenate it with something else. If not, then it’s not a free country.

As for bilingualism, Far better to know two or three languages than one. To upgrade the level of education in America, ALL students should be required to have speaking and reading proficiency in at least three languages. English, Spanish, and another one of your choice. This is a far better alternative to simple and simplistic monoculturalism, a general cultural ignorance which is bred by it, and an internationally unaware population which is the result of it.


#8

The sad fact is that if you give people to divide themselves artificially, they will. It was mentioned earlier that multicultralism is working well in Malaysia. However it is not mentioned that Malays are called “Children of the soil” and so are privy to extra benefits and scholarships. And true enough America has had its share of racism, but look at other multicutral areas of Europe. Belgium has had major conflicts between its Flemish (Dutch speaking) and Waloon (French speaking) citizens. Imagine having two official names for every major city. England, France and Germany are having major problems adjusting to Muslim immigrants from North Africa and Turkey. In fact this has spurred super right partys to actually get seats (unprecedented in Post war Europe) with people such as Jean-MArie Le Pen in France and Haider in Austria. That fact is America, unlike most of the world is not a nation composed solely of ethnicity or language but of freedoom. Imagine what would have happened 100 years ago if America implemented bilingual education for all our German, Italian, Irish and other southern European immigrants? These people would not be integrated, because there would be no reason to.


#9

Urbanjet,

It’ll be hard to keep the US official language as English…the United States currently HAS no official language.

Maybe we should adopt Taiwanese, and then Taiwan can adopt English??

Terry


#10

One of these days after lots of interbreeding there will be no more races and we can go back to mocking people on what really matters - weight.


#11
quote:
Originally posted by 4abudabit: One of these days after lots of interbreeding there will be no more races and we can go back to mocking people on what really matters - weight. [img]images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

No, we’ll just find some other excuse to kill each other… like religion.


#12

Urbanjet,

I like your style. You have taken on some pretty racist comments on these threads and handled them with more than a little charm, and flare.

On one thread you made a comment about how you thought in the American movie media most often Asians are represented as being either gangsters or women for non-Asian guys to pursue or have on their arms - nice observation.

Do you have any similar observations of the media and or other general perceptions?


#13

This chick’s ancestors came from Germany in the early 1900s. They learned English and assimilated. They worked hard, sometimes more than two jobs to support families of five or more children. They survived three wars, the Depression, did what was necessary to make it and passed those skills along to their descendents. I doubt it ever crossed their minds to ask for bilingual ed and never expected the government to support them. What they couldn’t do for themselves, the extended family, church or charities made up for. I know some German and can prepare a sauerbraten that schmechts gut, but I am not German-American.

ABCguy is right. Bilingual ed and multiculturalism are just another screwed up social experiment concocted by a bunch of overeducated, power-grabbing, money-hungry intellectuals who are oh so happy they don’t have to dirty their hands with those punk students anymore. Every Tom, Dick and Harriet has a pet project they want funded by my tax dollars. It costs almost $8,000/yr to “educate” one student in my local school district. Actually the money is spread around to try to cover all those special ed, gifted-talented, etc. programs mandated by the educrats at the fed and state levels. The ESL program is abyssmal and there is not enough money available to improve it. My friend’s five homeschooled kids are better educated and socially responsible than the poor saps at the mercy of public education. Another friend teaches 25-30 ESL students at an inner city school with a bilingual paraprofessional and they are crawling along. A Spanish-speaking para doesn’t do much good when over half the class are not native Spanish speakers!
Over the past twenty years, my community has taken on resettlement of 100+ Tibetans and their families and we have a large population of Hmong, Cambodians and other SE Asians. These folks have worked hard to make life better for their kids, just like my ancestors. But some of them have bought into the victim mentality and see other ethnic groups have gotten special treatment after whining for a few years and now want a piece of the pie too. Trouble is, there just isn’t enough pie for everybody.
So what’s the solution? I say that we take a look at how kids were educated in the US at least 100 years ago and go with that, but update it to include technical skills necessary to make it in today’s gadget-oriented world.
Laura Ingalls Wilder woulda never put up with this crap.


#14
quote:
Originally posted by ABCguy24: "Whites" in the U.S. don't have hyphenation even though there's plenty of fairly recent eastern european/irish/italian/german immigrants in the past 100 years. The fact is hyphenation is based on racial looks alone..it's not factual.

Quite the contrary. Hyphenation is OFTEN used to characterize the ethnic heritage of Caucasian-Americans; “Irish-American”, “Polish-American”, “Italian-American”, “Latvian-American”.

Hyphens can reflect ethnicity, race, or both, as in the case of “Chinese-American”.

The fundamental point is that the racial and ethnic prefixes are attached to a commonality -Americanism. America is the country of racial and ethnic diversity par excellence. This diversity succeeds, albiet imperfectly, because it is celebrated, and embraced.

The odd thing about the appellation,“ABC”, is that it emphasizes the Chinese aspect over the Americanism. Perhaps the reason this sounds strange to non-Chinese, is because “Chinese” denotes both ethnicity and race. I can’t think of another racial/ethnic group that uses this kind of emphasis.

I’m sincerly curious, ABCguy, if it feels more natural for you to describe yourself as an “ABC”, or a “Taiwanese/Chinese-American”. I don’t think I had ever heard the term “ABC” prior to living in Taiwan. To be honest, I always felt a little bit strange about the way folks in Taiwan insisted on using this term, reflecting their view that the Chinese aspect is ALWAYS paramount, when we Americans - of all races, creeds, and ethnicities are taught that the commonality in our nationality is what really matters.


#15

In a perfect world there would be no need for hyphenated americans, canadians or whatever. In fact I feel immigrants should retain thier feel for thier former culture. I love diversity. But in my opinion I feel we should give “hyphenated americans, canadians, etc.” a reason to drop the hyphen. If they were truly made to feel they belonged then there would be no need for a hyphen. As ABC24 said, it is based on race alone.


#16
quote:
Originally posted by tai xiaojie: Bilingual ed and multiculturalism are just another screwed up social experiment concocted by a bunch of overeducated, power-grabbing, money-hungry intellectuals who are oh so happy they don't have to dirty their hands with those punk students anymore. Every Tom, Dick and Harriet has a pet project they want funded by my tax dollars. [img]images/smiles/icon_mad.gif[/img]

Just to clarify, please do not confuse bilingual education with multiculturalism. Bilingual education is a social/educational program to instruct subjects like math and history in a language other than English for students who are in early stage of learning English.

Multiculturalism is harder to define. I think you were actually refering to “multiculture system of education” which I am not familiar with (could you please define for us. Thx). But, I would say that Multiculturalism is the philosophy that we should embrace and celebrate the diversity of our population. Example such as studying of Jewish tradition, African heros, Gaelic mythologies, Chinese new years. I’m NOT advocating more public holidays or spending excessive amount of public money to host these celebrations.

quote:
But some of them have bought into the victim mentality and see other ethnic groups have gotten special treatment after whining for a few years and now want a piece of the pie too. Trouble is, there just isn't enough pie for everybody.

#17

Although the original intent was to discuss hyphenated American, but this thread has taken on a different course (thanks to my Pat Buchanan’s quote). Since there’s lots of interests on this, I’ll offer some something from the side that opposes the “Language of Government Act” (which intend to make English official language of USA) :

quote:
The National Language Policy

BACKGROUND

The National Language Policy is a response to efforts to make English the “official” language of the United States. This policy recognizes the historical reality that, even though English has become the language of wider communication, we are a multilingual society. All people in a democratic society have the right to education, to employment, to social services, and to equal protection under the law. No one should be denied these or any civil rights because of linguistic differences. This policy would enable everyone to participate in the life of this multicultural nation by ensuring continued respect both for English, our common language, and for the many other languages that contribute to our rich cultural heritage.

CCCC NATIONAL LANGUAGE POLICY

Be it resolved that CCCC members promote the National Language Policy adopted at the Executive Committee meeting on March 16, 1988. This policy has three inseparable parts:

  1. To provide resources to enable native and nonnative speakers to achieve oral and literate competence in English, the language of wider communication.

  2. To support programs that assert the legitimacy of native languages and dialects and ensure that proficiency in one’s mother tongue will not be lost.

  3. To foster the teaching of languages other than English so that native speakers of English can rediscover the language of their heritage or learn a second language.

Passed unanimously by both the Executive Committee and the membership at the CCCC Annual Meeting in March 1988, the National Language Policy is now the official policy of the CCCC.

What raised the need for the Language Policy?

The English Only movement, which began in 1981 when Senator S. I. Hayakawa sponsored a constitutional amendment to make English the official language of the United States. Variations on his proposal have been before Congress ever since; there were five proposals in 1988 and three in 1990. The Language of Government Act has been pending before the House and Senate since 1991.

In 1983 an organization called “U.S. English” was founded by Senator Hayakawa and Dr. John Tanton, an ophthalmologist. That organization promotes English Only legislation, both in Congress and state legislatures. By June 1992, sixteen states had declared English the official language.

Some states, however, have taken stands against language protectionism. In 1989, New Mexico, Washington, and Oregon passed “English Plus” laws that protect the use of languages other than English and encourage the study of foreign languages. Both Hawaii and Louisiana have official policies aimed at preserving languages and cultures.

In February 1990, a federal district judge in Arizona ruled that the state’s constitutional amendment making English the official language violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech.

What’s wrong with English Only?

It’s unnecessary. English, the global lingua franca and the language of wider communication in this country, is not threatened. For two centuries, most immigrants learned English within a generation without any laws compelling them. Current immigrants are doing the same.

It’s unrealistic. Thousands of people are on waiting lists to enroll in English classes. Laws making English the official language do nothing to increase the number of such classes, nor do they teach a single person English.

It’s educationally unsound. English Only opposes bilingual and similar programs that help students build on their linguistic skills. When students cannot use their strengths, they experience alienation and failure. Prohibiting or discouraging diversity limits rather than expands learning opportunities.

It’s unfair and dangerous. When we pass laws that forbid health and safety information, street signs, court trials, and marriage ceremonies in languages people can understand, we deny them legal protection and social services.

It’s invasive. English Only laws violate the privacy of speakers of other languages. When Filipino hospital employees are told they cannot speak Tagalog in the lounge, or when a college employee is told he must not speak Spanish during lunch break, they are denied free expression.

It’s counterproductive. As members of the global community, we need speakers of different languages. It’s shortsighted, anti-immigrant, and racist to demean and destroy the competencies of bilingual people.

It’s unconstitutional. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech. The Fourteenth Amendment forbids abridging the privileges and immunities of naturalized citizens. English Only laws violate these constitutional rights.

SUPPORT THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE POLICY: WHAT YOU CAN DO

Strive to include all citizens of all language communities in the positive development of our daily activities.

Provide education, social services, legal services, medical services, and protective signing for linguistic minorities in their own languages so that basic human rights are preserved.

Emphasize the importance of learning second and third languages by all Americans so that we can:

participate more effectively in worldwide activities

unify diverse American communities

enlarge our view of what is human

Recognize that those who do not speak English need time and encouragement to learn, but that their ability to prosper over the long term requires facility in the dominant American language.

Encourage immigrants to retain their first languages, to pass them on to their children, and to celebrate the life-supporting customs of their parents in the company of other Americans of differing backgrounds.



#18
quote:
Originally posted by hunchoming: The sad fact is that if you give people to divide themselves artificially, they will. It was mentioned earlier that multicultralism is working well in Malaysia. However it is not mentioned that Malays are called "Children of the soil" and so are privy to extra benefits and scholarships.

The Malay affirmative action was borned out of some racial riots in the 60’s. While some of the Chinese/Indian minorities there are very interested in updating it, I believe most of them would agree with how the policy has ended disunity and improved the racial relationships.

One example for contrast is Indonesia and its lack of such a policy. Ethnic tension between the Chinese-Indonesian and other Indonesians manifested in a very ugly form in 1998. So, I would have to say the Malay policy has made them more unified. Please present argument for otherwise.

In the US, we have a system of affirmative action for the under-represented minorities (in some areas). I believe this system has also worked in smoothing the racial tensions. Hence, the hyphenation was actually necessary for this policy to be implemented. If LBJ had insisted that all Americans should be treated exactly the same with no hyphenation, I don’t think we would have gone this far with our race relations. Merits for its current necessity is being debated. That’s a sign of progress.

quote:
And true enough America has had its share of racism, but look at other multicutral areas of Europe. Belgium has had major conflicts between its Flemish (Dutch speaking) and Waloon (French speaking) citizens. Imagine having two official names for every major city.

But then again, the Europeans also managed to pull together and form the EU and EMU (which I know is not without problems). Still, they have recognized that every member nation can be different and still foster a pan-European spirit.

quote:
England, France and Germany are having major problems adjusting to Muslim immigrants from North Africa and Turkey. In fact this has spurred super right partys to actually get seats (unprecedented in Post war Europe) with people such as Jean-MArie Le Pen in France and Haider in Austria.

I don’t really understand your point here. Are you advocating against immigration? Did Immigration created Le Pen and Haider? I think it was more the racial/ethnic tension that created these opportunistic politicians. We have our own Pat Buchanan.

quote:
That fact is America, unlike most of the world is not a nation composed solely of ethnicity or language but of freedoom.

Yes, freedom AND Self-determination.

quote:
Imagine what would have happened 100 years ago if America implemented bilingual education for all our German, Italian, Irish and other southern European immigrants? These people would not be integrated, because there would be no reason to.

This is an excellent argument. I agree with you here.


#19
quote:
Originally posted by grasshopper: On one thread you made a comment about how you thought in the American movie media most often Asians are represented as being either gangsters or women for non-Asian guys to pursue or have on their arms - nice observation.

Do you have any similar observations of the media and or other general perceptions?


I assume you mean media other than movies. IMO, Television is actually better than movies in their representation. There are more and more normal characters. Still, the stereotypical Asian characters outweights the “normal” ones.

Asian female news anchor is at almost every market (I guess its due to Connie Chung) and we’re starting to see some Asian male reports in the major urban areas.

The news media (newspaper, magazine,etc) has always been the best. I supose the journalist do not sensationalize racial events. Also, they do not have the creative license of a movie/TV director/script writer.

As for books, I don’t like Amy Tan’s books (even if she’s made that genre mainstream for a while). She’s CONSTANTLY making fun of the “FOB” Chinese characters. Also, there aren’t many good Asian male characters in her book. Not sure if this is conincidence or intentional.

I don’t generally read novels, so I don’t know how Asians are represented in novels. BTW, this should really be discussed in the other thread.


#20

Speaking in the American context, I think requiring all students to learn a foreign language in the hopes that it will somehow make them more open-minded is a pipe-dream. If there was a requirement that all, say, juniors in highschool had to spend a year abroad (I don’t care if they know the language of the host country or not), that might open their minds a little. Then again, you can judge from the posts on this website if you think the foreigners here are generally more open-minded/culturally-sensitive than people who have never lived abroad (I think, most are, except the ones who think between their legs). Learning a foreign language (other than English, that is) as a career skill should be done after a person has chosen their carreer as most careers in the US don’t require knowing a language other than English. *As for bilingual education, any arguments coming out of Canada that say bilinguals are somehow smarter than monolinugals was based all flawed research (I could go into detail if anyone wants). Preserving one’s heritage language I believe is of the utmost importance if 1) there are family members who only speak the heritage language and you want (or you want your children) to be able to communicate with them 2) you want to preserve aspects of the heritage culture (which is best done through the medium of the heritage language). For example, if I want my children to learn how to xiao sun fumu, they need to be regularly exposed to an environment where they see that particular cultural value in action (ie family get togethers in Queens where everyone is speaking Mandarin) or spending summers in Taiwan. I don’t need nor do I think it fair that the public schools teach my children Mandarin. If I think it is important enough, I will find a way to educate them myself. As for the immigrant who some claim need bilingual ed to learn English, I have first-hand experience as an ESL teacher in the US that students of at least average intelliegence who come from families that value education and who push their children to work hard can succeed without bilingual education if they are with English speakers for most of the day and recieve small-class size ESL from a competent ESL teacher for at least one hour a day. I taught illiterate Afghan refugee children in the elementary grades under the above circumstances. Problems arise when the children are illiterate and in the secondary grades or come from families that don’t push their children or go to chaotic/violence-prone schools where the teachers have no idea what to do or the families seasonal workers who never stay put or a combination of the above. So, I’m for voluntarily studying abroad/against a foreign language requirement/for encouraging the preservation of one’s heritage language/against bilingual education in the public schools/for quality ESL/mainstream teacher-support of non-English speaking newcomers to the public schools.