Let's Drop the Hyphens
News from Nairobi, Kenya continues to be almost incomprehensible. Scores of dead. Men, women and children murdered by a gang of psychopaths trying to hide their innate evil behind the veil of the "Religion of Peace."
Reports, particularly from British media, continue to identify a small number of the attackers involved in this outrage as "Americans" or "Somali-Americans." Apparently no matter how horrendous an event may be, the Progressive media, both at home and abroad, continue their effort to make all Americans feel guilty over something that was not their fault, was not done at their instigation, and as any rational person could see, were not acts that were committed by an American.
Let's be more specific. These "Americans" are not Americans in any sense of the word. Calling them Somali-"HYPHEN"-Americans is not any better. They obviously think of themselves as Somalis, and not Americans at all. These people did not move to Minnesota to pursue the American dream. They asked for asylum in the United State because they didn't have the firepower available to them to counter other gangs of Somali thugs in Somalia. Once offered bigger and better (i.e., more deadly) weapons, and a chance to return to Somalia to settle old scores, they traveled back across half the world, picked up their new guns, and cut loose with all the ammunition that they could carry.
No, they are not Somali-Americans, they are Somalis. Period. The hyphen in their group identity label (and that's all it is, a label) indicates that they are not American. Their language, culture, resistance to integrating into American society and their refusal to exchange the cultural norms of their nation of birth for the culture of the United States exposes the fantasy that the media is attempting to foist off upon all of us that somehow America is partially responsible for the tragedy in Kenya.
The left wants us to feel responsible, they want us to feel guilty, they want us to wring our hands and beg forgiveness with thoughts of "How could Americans have done this horrible thing?" Oh, and as long as we're wringing our hands, let's change our foreign policies and adjust our immigration quotas for those who claim that they need asylum from Islamist/Jihadi terrorists.
See, now everything is better, isn't it?
And let's not forget the nearly simultaneous attack in Pakistan, our "ally" on the Indian subcontinent. It's easy to forget since the media hasn't found a way to connect it to Americans in some way, other than the fact that the victims were Christians, and after all, American churches have spent hundreds of years sending missionaries out among the heathen to convert them to Christianity. Yeah, that means the slaughter of 81 worshipers at a church in Peshawar, Pakistan must be laid at our feet as well. Of course it does, even if there were no Pakistani-Americans directly involved in the atrocity. Perhaps the left could play upon the fact that it was Pakistani-Americans who sent money "home" to pay for the explosives that were used to kill those 81 Bible-clinging Christians. That wouldn't be a real stretch for the leftist press.
But the main problem is the use of group identity labels that contains a hyphen. When the term Somali-Americans is not shortened to "Somalis" but rather to just "Americans", then our nation is subjected to slanders of the worst kind. When those hyphenated labels are applied to Italian-Americans, those who are grouped with that label are not, in their own minds, Italians. They may be of Italian descent, but they are third and fourth-generation Americans.
Recent immigrants, especially those who did not apply for admission to the United States except as asylum seekers should never be referred to as "Whatever-Americans." They did not come here because they wanted to become Americans. They came here to escape from something, real or imagined, in their respective countries of origin. Perhaps their children, or more likely grandchildren, can be class labeled as "Americans of Somali descent" but the first generation immigrants are not, and will never actually be, Americans.
Being an American involves more than passing a citizenship test and living within U.S. borders for a period of time. Being an American means accepting the culture and behavioral norms of America and of other Americans. It means at least trying to be racially, religiously and politically tolerant of others. It also means not being "hyphenated."
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, a two-tour Vietnam veteran and writes frequently about political idiocy, business and economic idiocy and American cultural idiocy. Jim also blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com/, and can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org