July 10, 2008
Originally PUBLISHED April 6, 2006
I am a true American mutt.
I know very little about my family's heritage. All the old birth records in Kentucky went up in smoke when the Harlan County Courthouse burned down in 1910, so my grandmother's family bible is about the only document remaining that details my family tree. This much I have learned:
One of my great-grandfathers married a native American woman. He was a squaw-man and I have some redskin blood in me.
Another great-grandfather married a red-headed Irish woman. That's a good story, because my great-grandfather met her while he was in jail for some kind of crime involving moonshine or violence (or both) and my red-headed Irish great-grandmother earned money by feeding the prisoners. He saw her chopping wood for the jailhouse cook-stove one day and he walked over to her and said, "Let me cut that wood for you. You're too pretty to be doing that." The rest is history. (Yes, I come from a long line of charmers.)
I also know that I have some Dutch (I suspect that my mama's side of the family came to the Kentucky hollows from Pennsylvania during the Whiskey Rebellion, but I can't prove it.), English and French connections on the family tree. As I said, I am an American mutt.
But none of that crap makes ME want to wave a Dutch flag, call France my "homeland" or feel any kinship with Ward Churchill, especially since I have more Native American blood in me than he does. I'm an AMERICAN, pure and simple. Stick your hypenated shit where the sun don't shine.
I know exactly when calling yourself an American, with no hypenation, became politically incorrect--- somehow akin to being assimilated by the Borg collective. It started with the civil rights movement of the 1960s. "I'm Black and I'm Proud" resonated with the population, and when blacks started calling themselves "African-Americans," EVERYBODY wanted to attach a cool ethnic appendage to celebrate THEIR roots, too. Thus, we had an outbreak of diversity, resulting in lots of hypenated-Americans.
Italian-American. Irish-American. Spanish-American. Where you came from suddenly became more important to your identity than where you were. All hail diversity!
Bullshit. That kind of thinking led directly to the anti-American (THERE'S a legitimate hyphen for you!) demonstrations over immigration that we recently witnessed. And if you don't believe that the demonstrations WERE Anti-American, just look at who was involved.
Roots. Become too obsessed with them and they will strangle you. And tear down this country, too.
All content © Rob Smith