According to the 2000 Census there was a sharp raise in the number of people who have maked themselves down as Americans. 58% raise in fact. Not Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, or anything else like that. It should also be noted that the majority of people who did this were of European decent. Many minorities are still in the hypenated stage of identity. The whole African-American, Latino-American, and other bits like that.
Now I think a lot of people still do identify with their heritage. No matter what it is people still do things that are customary from their ancestorial place of origin. But more and more these days. (a sizeable minority of people), I think many people are identifing themselves as Americans. This past 2000 Census shows that.
I think that there are a number of people who get the words "nationality" and "ethnicity". Take a look at the two words:
na·tion·al·i·ty (nsh-nl-t, nsh-nl-)
n. pl. na·tion·al·i·ties
The status of belonging to a particular nation by origin, birth, or naturalization.
A people having common origins or traditions and often constituting a nation.
Existence as a politically autonomous entity; national independence.
eth·nic·i·ty Pronunciation Key (th-ns-t)
Ethnic character, background, or affiliation.
An ethnic group.
Clearly there is a difference between the two.
For myself, and I can only speak personally and not for others, when one asks me what am I, I am going to tell you I am American. I was born, raised, and know America. This is my home. This is where my loyalities are. Not any place like Puerto Rico, Spain, South America, Mexico or any other place like that.
Now if you ask me what my ethnicity is I will tell you that I am Puerto Rican and Mexican. These are the places where my ancestors are from and they are genetically linked to these people. But that is not my nationality.
I had the opportunity to live in Puerto Rico for a couple years in the late 80's and early 90's. When I was there people did not identify me as Puerto Rican. Even though I looked just like most people there, was able to speak some Spanish, and had family all over the island people still identified me as American.
And think about it. When some white person from the U.S. goes to some European country what are they going to be identified as? American, not European-American. When a black (African-American to the PC crowd) goes to Africa, how are they referred to as? American, not African-American.
The world is very quick to point out that if we are from the United States of America that in their eyes we are American. No matter what we look like, black, white, or whatever. So I guess I find it hard to understand why there are so many people who still want to go with the hypenations? Yes, I think there are a sizable minority of people we are saying the hell with that and just proclaiming themselves as Americans. That number is still small in comparison to the number of people who want to play the multi-identification role.
And I do not think that by saying that we are Americans that we are abandoning our ancestorial heritage or are in denial or are "self-hating". There is clearly an American culture in this nation. Some of it bad, most of it great. So again, I am at a loss as to why there is such a reluctance for people to just out right say that they are Americans. Is it going to take another tragedy? Or is this something that happens when one reaches a higher state of thinking and identification? Thoughts to ponder upon.