My family are true Americans. Blended from Natives, Immigrants and Islanders (I’ll acknowledge right up front that Puerto Rican’s are not “Islanders”, but it worked in the string…). My dad is from Puerto Rico, a heritage that includes Spaniards, Africans and Native peoples. My moms great grandfather was full Cherokee and her other grandmother was full Blackfoot. There’s also the obligatory German, Irish, Polish, and who knows what else. I am – in a nutshell – American.
I’ve watched enough episodes of America Unearthed to know that Columbus wasn’t the first European in North America. I also know enough about science to believe that Native Americans had to come from somewhere else too…maybe even Europe if some of the current theories are correct. The voyage by Columbus, and the land grab by Europeans that followed, is not a new concept in this worlds history, it’s just better documented than in previous times. This Country’s history has had its dark moments.
African people were rounded up and shipped to America to be treated like property and enslaved. The same can be said about the Irish and Chinese who were discriminated and enslaved in their own way. Native Americans were placed in schools where good Christian people tried to help by teaching them how to act white and converting as many as they could. We have documents from my great grandmother writing about her dad and how he managed to pass as a white person even though “he showed Indian real bad”. OK. That’s our past. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future.
If America doesn’t start uniting under the flag of the country, not as African-Americans, Asian-Americans or Hispanic-Americans, but as AMERICAN-Americans we will never reach our true potential as a country. This world has enough evil in it, that we don’t need to create more by the ethnic divides people seem insistent on creating. How about we drop the adjectives and just live like Americans. Fundamentally, humans want the same thing, no matter the ethnic background. The way to move forward is to respect our heritage, remember our past and embrace our future. As Americans. No adjectives needed.