Re: "Two meanings in "american"

travis garrett jackson (tjackson@UNM.EDU)
Sun, 19 Feb 1995 18:16:41 -0700

my room-mates picked up the phone. Anyway, the gist of what I was saying
is that"American" is too shared a term for us to claim sole ownership
(which we do). It may not seem like a big deal to us, but in some
cultures the idea of collectivism is of prime importance. That is not to
say that we are not in some ways entitled to the name "America," but if
we are speaking of people specificly in the U.S., we need to find a name
that limits representation to that specific area. It would be the same
as if you asked a person from New York where he was from and he replied
he was United Statesian (in your term) implying that you were NOT. This
would somehow strip you of the identity you thought you had, and you
would probably be offended.
The term United States of America is vague
in and of itself. We can not justify the identity of American for
ourselves based on the simple fact it happens to be the last word of a
country that doesn't really have a name itself. We get so defensive when
someone challenges a notion that we don't even comprehend ourself.
I prefer to call myself a U.S. citizen rather than an American,
particularly when I am in any other country than our own. If you ever
travel outside of this country to Mexico or below you will find yourself
much more welcomed if you simply say, "soy de los Estados Unidos." Try
telling them you are an "Americano" and see how they react.