I am often frustrated at how everyone seems to consider white culture to be “American.” Meanwhile, the rest of us are not American if we enjoy our own cultures.
Casseroles are American.
Wine tours are American.
English is “the language” of America.
(By the way, the United States has no official language, in case you were wondering.)
And in all the movies and TV, white people represents Americans.
Go to Google right now, and type in “American Family” as an image search.
Guess what you get?
I will show you:
Do you notice anything about this family?
What about this family?
Do you see it yet?
What about NOW?
Because when you search for “American family,” you are flooded with images of smiling white people. They think they are inclusive because in one of the families, there is a kid with Downs Syndrome. I bet you didn’t even notice that (all white people look the same.)
But what is missing?
Well I will tell you! Literally everyone else in the country is missing! America is absolutely not all smiling white people. And I will tell you what else: It never, ever has been! That’s right, there was never a time when America was all white.
Because they are just immigrants, of course!
This is a picture of a real “Traditional American Family” right here:
If you’re on the Trump bandwagon and you want to “Make America Great Again,” or “Bring Back Traditional Family Values,” then you need to take a long look at the picture above.
That is an American family.
We Native Americans have our own traditions and our own culture, and yes it is absolutely American culture! Fry bread is American culture. Beads, braids, and leather are American. Pow wows are American.
Look white people, you don’t own American culture! It is not only what you say it is.
But you know what?
There are other kinds of traditional American families, too:
For example, there are folks who are a mix of Spanish and Native American blood. You call these people “Mexicans” because they are brown and speak Spanish.
In actuality, Latinos are a mix of European and Native American blood, and they have been in the USA since before white people, too.
So yes, this is also a picture of an American family with just as much right to be here as you. They have their own culture, and it is equally valid and equally American.
That means that tacos are American culture. Fiestas are American culture. Dia de Los Muertos is American culture.
Again, you don’t own patriotism, and you don’t own America. It’s not yours. It belongs to all of us, and we are all American families.
And you know who else is part of American culture?
That’s right white people. Black people have been here just as long as you have (although you brought them in chains and treated them like animals.)
So this family is also an American family.
Fried Chicken is American culture. Jazz is American culture. Rap is American culture.
Black Americans have just as much claim on the United States of America as you do. It is also their country. In spite of the fact that white people have tried to monopolize the perception of what “American culture” is, the fact is that America belongs to all of us, and all of us make up American culture.
Here is another American family:
We are not “subgroups.”
We are Americans.
All of us.
Asians have been in the United States for centuries, and in fact, the fortune cookie was invented in San Francisco.
That’s right; fortune cookies are American!
American families of Asian decent are just as American as people who immigrated from Europe. Their claim is no less valid on our shared culture and experience.
But you know what else?
Hold onto your seat for this one!
This is also an American family:
Yes that’s right: people of Middle Eastern decent are also American.
Folks from the Middle East have just as much right to immigrate as people from Europe.
Again, white people don’t own America, nor do they own the American experience. They don’t get to decide who is American and who is not.
I am so sick of old, white men talking about how “White people built this country” and how “Subgroups haven’t contributed.”
That is simply not true. At all. Not even a little bit.
White people have been terrorizing everyone that lives in North America since 1492, and they absolutely don’t get to define American culture or decide who is allowed to come to America.
In fact, let’s read the inscription of the Statue of Liberty together:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free.”
Well let me tell you something: We are here, and we are still yearning to breath free.
When Jon Stewart recently said that Conservatives don’t own patriotism and they don’t own America, he came really close to what I am trying to say. But he didn’t go quite far enough. He didn’t give us a voice. He was almost there, but he stopped short of admitting that America belongs to all of us, even those of us who are not white.
No really, it actually does.
Jon may have addressed his comment to the GOP, but I want to address it to every single white person. Take note:
So the next time you hear a white guy say that we need to “Protect American Culture” from all those nasty minorities, you remember that we are fucking American!