Rant: The Un-Melting Pot

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by ccjcool, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. ccjcool

    ccjcool New Member

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    Rather than further derail the food thread, I felt that I'd branch off and start another one, as this is a topic that I have rather strong views about. (I can't wait for A1's opinion on this topic, lol.)

    A truer statement could not be said about not understanding nor agreeing with these "lables" that WB mentioned. For instance, take this picture, which yours truely took with my cell phone almost a year ago.
    [​IMG]

    While humorous to a degree, the sheer fact that such a section exists in the hair product isle of the *insert massive retail chain store name here* that I took that at is rather insulting, and I think we're all quite aware of what ethnicity that sign is primarily intended for...

    To be fair, african americans and hispanics are still the largest "minority" group in the US to the best of my knowledge, thus I can sort of see why WB would notice what she mentioned in the quote i have above.

    But at what point will we, as a whole, finally shed these classifications? Take for instance another common example from my own life. My last name is Gonzales. Soliciters call me on the phone and I answer in english and they start speaking to me in spanish. I then hang up. I am a college educated male, have over 3 years of supervisory experience in the food industry, and the first question i get asked when I go in for an interview is "can you cook"? I won't even go into how many applications i've never gotten a response about, due to (i suspect) the manager's immediate dismissal due to my last name. Never mind the laws that are meant to prevent this. For people who have never met me, but look at my name, I am immediately labled as mexican, especially having grown up here in California. I suspect this will actually only get worse for me when I move to Texas to be with my girlfriend.

    But the fact of the matter is, on my father's side, I am 6th generation American born. Most of my friends (even the "white" ones) can't even claim that! My ancestors came from Spain (and possibly Italy), not Mexico. My mother is 1/2 Irish, 1/2 Chinese, 2nd generation American born. While I take pride in my cultural background, I do not consider myself anything other than American as my "race".

    But society sees it differently. Society requires that I must identify with something. Job applications, loan applications, simple surveys..."Ethnic Background (Please choose one): Hispanic/Latino; Asian/Pacific Islander; White (Non-Hispanic); African Descent". These are the 4 choices you will see on almost every document. Now and then, also "Native American".

    I'm sorry, but hasn't America been around for over 200 years now? Why is there never any choice to simply be of American ethnicity? The concept of the American Melting Pot was that all these cultures and ethnicities came together in one place. And when this happened, it developed a new one. An American is what I am, and I don't mean that in a patriotic sense whatsoever. I mean that simply as the ethnic culture in which I identify with.

    When I moved to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for a little while, I was shocked by the blatant bigotry that surrounded me. In a region where the ratio of whites to blacks was rougly 5:3 (by my observation) with an occasional hispanic or asian tossed in, you would not BELIEVE how often I heard the "N-Word" tossed around. Growing up in California, where we truely are a "melting pot" of cultures, those kinds of attitudes will only get you put into the ER if you say stuff like that. My co-workers, albeit jokingly, would talk to me as if they were mexican gang members just because of my last name.

    Kind of reverse of everything else, is what would happen when I went to a chinese restaurant out there. As I mentioned in the other thread, I grew up on authentic chinese food, not just americanized chinese food. I'm used to going into a chinese restaurant and asking "whats good" and getting a plethora of options ranging from sweet & sour to braised rock cod in a clay pot. But there, in PA...if you were not physically aparant as asian, they automatically recommend General Tsao's Chicken. It was insulting, because it was automatically assumed that I had no other cultural background.

    But I digress. This is America, The Melting Pot. Isn't it about time that we, as a unique nation, with a distinct culture, start realizing that some of us actually might come from here? Give me my "American" checkbox on my application. Don't pass me up for GM just because my name is Gonzales and not Smith. And on the flip side, just because my skin is white and my hair is brown doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the taste of a Charsiu Bao or a Pork Tamale. I am an Ethnic American.
     
  2. ninja08hippie

    ninja08hippie Official SF Hugger
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    The problem is that the rest of the world's thoughts of the American culture is a NASCAR loving, beer drinking, gun loving hillbillies. I certainly don't want to be associated with any part of that (except for beer, but only good beer and in moderation.)

    Pennsylvania does not represent the majority of americans. I'm from PA too, I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Pittsburg and Philly, and Alabama in the middle" Rural regions tend to be more separated because there is room for bigotry, in cities everyone is forces to mingle because it's so cramped. This helps alleviate bigotry.

    When you said that you heard the n-word in Pittsburg, I assume you mean you heard black people saying it? They're just proud of their culture, there's nothing wrong with that. Some people like to hang on to their culture, it prevents us from being associated with those hillbillies that I mentioned. That doesn't mean that we aren't proud to be an american, I certainly cheer for the red white and blue during the world cup and the olympics.

    I'm all for the melting pot and seriously hope that someday I'll see a world without racism and bigotry but some people are proud of their roots and want to hang on to them.

    BTW, it's Char Siu Bao, and it's delicious :)
     
  3. ccjcool

    ccjcool New Member

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    But the point is that I know that America is much MUCH more than that, and that is what I identify with. Admittedly though, I do like Nascar, I own guns, and I like good beer :p And I know that any person with half a brain outside of this country realizes that America is more than that too :p So its time that America itself decides to recognize that. Its time we show the world that we aren't just a bunch of hicks that like blowing sh*t up. Its time to show them, at least those of us who are proud of our heritage here, that we are much more.


    No, thats what happens here in CA and they end it in an "a", not an "r". The majority of people who I heard saying it in PA were white and using it as a derrogatory term. I wanted to slap them for it. I have many black friends and I felt very insulted on their behalf.

    Thats most definetly understandable, if you replace the word roots with heritage. I personally celebrate Chinese New Year every year because its part of my heritage. I'd love to visit Spain to learn about my spanish heritage. But I see my roots as being an American. I see my dad's roots as american, my grandfathers, and so on. I have no real ties to my Spanish heritage outside of my name's origin...my family has been here too long. Using the "roots" analogy, they are firmly secured into this country's soil.
     
  4. Wckd_Beauty

    Wckd_Beauty New Member

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    Oh wow I leave for a 4 hour lab and this thread changes to a full on debate.

    I have a difficult time trying to identify with the labels society gives us. I'm Haitian, German and Cherokee, all very bold in my blood and I just can't seem to mark one thing on a survey as my race so I end up putting 'other' or 'multicultural'.

    Exactly. There shouldn't still be labels. If you need statistics, then take them on your own individual time, don't subject a country to force it's people into categories, that's where lines are formed among people.

    I have no clue what my point is because i'm hella tired but umm.... I want a beer after reading it all throughout lol
     
  5. heelfetish

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    Oh man how I hate being categorized. I'm with ya, Wckd_Beauty. :tup
     
  6. AnonymousOne

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    *slams open the door* I'M HOOOOME! Sorry I've been very busy recently, so no time for SF. I'm back for a bit now.

    I'm glad my opinion carries some weight ... or at least people are willing to want me to comment so they can bash me. :lol

    Ummm ... well lets see, I'm a Free market, Ayn Rand fan (so all the Europeans think I'm nuts. I hate government, so all the socialists think I'm nuts. I do like beer, but nothing EVER below Sam Adams or Red Hook. I do hate NASCAR. I do love my guns. In all fairness though, most Americans are enormously ignorant.

    Never going to happen. Nice try, but you might as well hope for a utopia. In fact, racism is an evolutionary phenomenon. "we're different than they are" is a powerful survival instinct when it comes to tribal groupings of people who are struggling to survive. Couple that with a dose of "it's easy to blame someone else for your woes" and BOOM. you're stuck with it.

    NOW! As to my thoughts on the matter. I don't give a flying fuck if you're black, white, yellow, blue, purple, pink, or some shade of chartreuse. My personal beliefs are that people make themselves what they want. As a free-market capitalist I believe in one and only one color: Green. (now before people freak the hell out on me, I didn't say green at any cost.)

    If you want to call yourself an African-American or whatever subset of "society" you want to identify with, it strikes me that YOU are trying to put a divider between YOU and the person of (Insert Racial background here) color/whatever. It strikes me as enormously silly and puerile. People say "you can't say black, you have to say 'african-american'." The fuck I do! Is he an immigrant from africa? No, you say? Then he's black! "She's a Mexican-American." Oh really? She's fresh over the border? No? Then she's a Latino!

    I become more and more convinced that much of this racial self-labeling is due to people wanting to be part of some larger group, usually for the sake of justifying some sort of agenda that they have. A delightful example is hearing black people say "Obama is the African-American community's candidate ... the hell he is! Really? you REALLY think he gives a flying fuck about the people in Compton? I doubt it.

    To quote the movie Serenity: "We're all just folk now."

    People should define themselves by their creed, their philosophy, and their actions, not by the color of their skin.

    (For the Record: A1 has Swedish, German, Irish, Dutch, etc. blood in me. But you know what? I don't call myself a Swedish-American. I call myself an individual.)


    There, that good for you ccj?:D
     
  7. Puss_in_boots

    Puss_in_boots Adminatrix
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    I think this also has a lot to do with the "politically correct" doctrine that we're all expected to follow. In our efforts to promote "cultural sensitivity" we have eradicated any words or phrases that could be deemed even slightly offensive, while at the same time (quite ironically) promoting "multiculturalism." While this might seem like a good idea in principle, in actuality it places way too much emphasis on our differences, when we really should be focusing on the things that we all have in common. Ethnic tradition turns into something quaint that one can watch from a comfortable degree of distance and detachment.

    And many of us are so indoctrinated in the politically correct way of thinking, that we don't even stop to think critically about what we're saying and whether it's even accurate. For example, years ago when I first started teaching undergraduate English composition at the university level, I had a class where we had a very interesting discussion along the lines of "thinking critically in a politically correct world." All the students in the class were white. I asked them what they would be most comfortable calling a black person and everyone said they preferred the term: "African American," which is what I expected they'd say. Then I asked them what they'd call a black person from England.

    "African Amer....uhhhhm...??"

    They'd never really thought about it before, and they were so used to thinking of all people descended from Africa as, "African Americans" that it never occurred to them that such people exist outside of the United States, and that they'd obviously not be called, "African American."
     
    #7 Puss_in_boots, Oct 7, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  8. AnonymousOne

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    Puss, you're quite right and I think it has gone way too far. I mean ... it's absurd the things people get cranked up about now.

    Also funny, what happens when a white South African moves to the US ... are they an African-American? According to the black community NO! The reason I know this... a friend of mine who IS from SA put African American on a standardized test and the test company raised holy hell.

    This whole fetish with making everyone feel culturally accepted is bullshit. While there are cultural differences, some cultures are simply superior to others in terms of human rights, technological development etc. If you don't like that, fine, but you're a hypocrite for sitting at a computer, and claiming that all cultures are equally viable and valuable.
     
  9. ccjcool

    ccjcool New Member

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    :rockon

    I've gotta agree with what you and PIB commented about too. I for one have MANY black friends, and they have no issues with me calling/referring to them as black. They'd smack me up the backside of my head if i ever called them "african american". I've never been a fan of this "politically correct" bullsh*t, and I doubt i'll ever be. The only one I am relatively "politically correct" with is Native Americans, because Indians are from India :p