However, as it is Sunday morning and I have not had my coffee yet, I will go off on a tangent. Growing up in the Bronx was a balancing act when thinking of nationality and ethnicity. On the census form, for Race, there are only a few limited options, in which I fall into none of those categories. I am not Caucasian, Black or Mongoloid. Now ethnicity is a different story. Here my culture is recognized so I check the box "Puerto Rican." This is just one example. Next example of the tightrope act was education. I was forced to take an ESL exam (English as a Second Language), although through my speech and writing, it was evident that I had a clear command of the language. It was assumed that because my last name was of Hispanic descent, that I did not know English.
When listening to my grandmother, I realize that I didn't have it so rough. During the 1950's, it was really rough in Brooklyn when my grandparents migrated from Puerto Rico. My grandmother tells me some pretty horrible stories of how she was treated at her factory job, in her neighborhood and the local stores. She was called names with negative racial connotations and discriminated against at places of employment. I thank her for these stories as I realize I really don't have it so bad.
So where are we. Well, I'm still on the fence about the hyphen in identity associated with "American." I am not sure if Puerto Rican American or just plain Puerto Rican applies to me and the world doesn't seem like such a horrible place.
For those of you who live in the United States, what are you views on being American? For those of you who don't live in the United States, how does your country view Americans?
Happy 4th of July America!
First two images taken from Wikimedia Commons and are free of copyright.
Final image courtesy of Zac Allen, http://www.flickr.com/photos/47264866@N00/3683040307/ Fireworks!