I Think Teddy Had It Right

Older 2006 article but still accurate and to the point.



The Anti-Americanism of Hyphenated Citizenship

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Take a look at all of the hyphens around you. If someone's traits, ethnicity does not lend itself to the mighty hyphen, the person tries anyway. Skin tone or color don't lend themselves to the use of the hyphen and when tried seems silly. "I'm a cream beige-American."

Be honest. That doesn't have the zip of an ethnic adjective such as Hispanic-American. Even then, some ethnic adjectives don't work well either.

Early on, in 1909, Teddy Roosevelt commented that hyphenated-Americanism should not be allowed to stand. The point was that hyphenated-Americanism erodes the very traits or qualities that make our nation one; that make our nation able to withstand attacks from external forces designed to overthrow our culture. From within, the hyphen accomplishes what armies armed to the teeth could never hope to win through overt attack.

Among other reasons, Roosevelt said that it fractured the nation and it also fractured the identity and loyalty of the person thus hyphenating himself. What do we have today? Hyphens everywhere you look.

Some say, hyphenated-Americanism is a point of ethnic pride. I say think again.

The hyphen is a source of group identity that self-styled leaders of for-profit groups use to squeeze money from the individuals who feel they must belong for "group solidarity". For what? Be honest now.

What group is oppressed in American today aside from the white male? He is discriminated against in job applications and for promotions. And, he doesn't have a group to belong to. Worse, none of his ethnic groups lend themselves well to the hyphen. Talk about oppressed, the white male doesn't even have the hyphen. Even if he did, I very much doubt he'd hide behind it.

I say hyphenated-Americanism is self-defeating and it lends itself to self-profiling. It also surrounds itself with an aura of victimology instantly calling upon the other person to say, to think, or to sign in some manner, "Oh, I understand you have been so put upon..." with preferential treatment, government set-aside contracts, etc.

The mind cannot help but recoil at the stigma associated with the hyphen. The consequence is unintended but there it is.

For me, the hyphen isn't cute any more. It smacks of an anti-Americanism. Ken Hamblin says he has a bumper sticker on the door to his office. It says African-American. Under it, he has written, "Pick one." Yes, pick one. Don't let yourself be split by the hyphen.

Hyphens weaken America. Hyphens weaken the person who has chosen to hyphenate himself. While I'm on that thread, the hyphen insults me just by you using it. Someone says, "Well, I'm a African-American. No body can understand what it's like to live the black experience in America." (circa 2006) The insult comes in across the board because Americans are letting themselves be defined by the hyphen, not by their Americanism.

Morgan Freeman said it best when he said, "I am not a black American. I am an American who happens to be black."

We saw that the terrorists didn't care about the hyphen on September 11, 2001. We didn't care about the hyphens. We were Americans. The hyphen is designed to divide us and to take away our strength much like the cutting of Sampson's hair made him weak.

Hyphens divide us. Racial name-calling divides us. Yesterday, a man in Texas called me an Anglo. I asked what was wrong with being Anglo? He said, "Nothing."

I said, "No, nothing wrong with being Anglo except that is not how I define myself. I am an American. I define myself as an American. We, you and I, are Americans. Our external enemies don't care about the hyphens. Our internal enemies use the hyphen to separate us." "Yes," he said, "we cannot let them get away with it." I agree.

So, stand tall, be proud. You are either an American or a hyphen. Be an American!

God bless you; God bless Americans; and erase the darn hyphens, now!





"Hyphenated Americanism" Speech - Excerpts

Former President Theodore Roosevelt, October 12, 1915, in an address to the Knights of Columbus, Carnegie Hall, NYC.



"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. This is just as true of the man who puts "native" before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else."

Josie06 Josie06
56-60, F
5 Responses Feb 9, 2009

Outwardly I usually adhere to political correctness, but inwardly I often cringe at some of the obvious efforts. Look at today's textbooks in schools, especially elementary schools and you are hit with the whole multicultural politically correct thing like a ton of bricks. Some of it is beneficial (including accomplishments by women and various races) and a lot of it is really silly. It has people walking on eggshells for fear of offending someone else. I am not promoting intolerance in any way, but if everyone is equal and wants to be treated as such, then why deliberately set oneself apart?

VendettA12, i realize there are other problems. Some can be laid right on the door step of PC!

No, I understand it perfectly, and I've had this discussion before with "Whacko" who took extreme offense at the term "Native American" instead of "Indian" and came on here trying to convince everyone that the "correct" way to refer to someone with tribal blood is "Indian" and that "Native American" was deeply offensive. I am 1/2 Sioux, and I am called both "indian" and "Native American". I understand why both terms are used, and I somehow manage not to feel attacked by either term. <br />
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In case you haven't noticed, there are actual problems facing the country today, problems that far outdistance these apocalyptic claims of our nation being torn apart by political correctness.

The speech is key. What Morgan Freeman said is key. The gist of the speech is where the emphasis belongs. i believe you failed in understanding the intent and the meaning of this story.<br><br />
The power of the article lies elsewhere not in the repressed white male. To feel the need to address your soliloquy to that, ignoring the heart of the article was a lack of discernment.<br><br />
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But go ahead and have fun at the expense of all Americans. Hyphenated Americans and Political Correctness is polarize our citizens. <br><br />
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Having a heritage and a family background and culture is good, everyone has that. But to deliberately set one apart and create a new nationality does tear the fabric of the country apart.<br><br />
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How can anyone get together if you do everything to set yourself apart.<br><br />
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But go ahead and join in the ridicule, the polarization and destruction. It's alright these days.

Oh, this is precious. My personal favorite paragraph:<br><br />
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"What group is oppressed in American today aside from the white male? He is discriminated against in job applications and for promotions. And, he doesn't have a group to belong to. Worse, none of his ethnic groups lend themselves well to the hyphen. Talk about oppressed, the white male doesn't even have the hyphen. Even if he did, I very much doubt he'd hide behind it."<br><br />
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We should form a circle and hold hands, and offer a collective prayer to those poor white, christian males who are so PERSECUTED. Let's see if we can work up some crocodile tears.... HAHAHA! <br><br />
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Even better is the ending of the paragraph, which hints that white males wouldn't stoop as low as these other pathetic races. Wow. <br><br />
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And the final insult is the "male" portion, for we all know that males are discriminated against more than females, right?! We can see obvious proof of that just by looking at salaries based upon gender, since males make so much less than females for doing the same work...Oh, wait...I guess I got that part backwards, since it is women who are paid less for doing the same job... My bad, never mind! <br><br />
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If white men feel so persecuted in today's society, I'd like to see how they'd fare if they were all black lesbian atheists. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be able to take that amount of persecution.