Race, Nationality and How We Identify

As we end Black History Month, we acknowledge the heroes of the past that have fought for equal rights and freedom in America. With everything happening with American politics and the campaign slogan being raised up saying “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”, one has to ask and consider “What is an American?”

When we bring up the idea of an “American”, the usual response is that America itself is a melting pot of different cultures that has come together in one place. When describing those individuals cultures we may also use the metaphor of that America is a salad bowl, where each individual maintains their own identity while being in the “mixing bowl” of America. Different identity language can be used depending on the individual. For instance, when we refer to the African American or Black Community, what language is most inclusive to the many different people within that group?

Other countries have different ways of not hyphenating their identity. One example of this can be seen when Trevor Noah addresses the French Ambassador about the French Soccer Team. This came after France’s World Cup Victory where Noah commented that a win for France was a win for Africa due to a number of the French teammates of Africans lineage. This is a discussion that brings up the questions to how do we identify; weather it’s the country we live in or our ethnic lineage. The line that gets the applause break is: “are they African or French, why can’t they be both.” And in many ways we are all both, the country we live in and our ethnic and cultural identity combined.