Luke’s Log- Bobby Jindal: I Do Not Believe in Hyphenated Americans
In remarks he is to deliver in London today, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal reaffirmed his commitment to Theodore Roosevelt’s colorblind nationalism-
‘My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans. Not Indian-Americans, simply Americans.’
“If we wanted to be Indians, we would have stayed in India. It’s not that they are embarrassed to be from India, they love India. But they came to America because they were looking for greater opportunity and freedom,” Mr Jindal said, explaining the reason why he does not like to be called or described as an Indian-American.
“I do not believe in hyphenated Americans. This view gets me into some trouble with the media back home. They like to refer to Indian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and all the rest. To be clear ? I am not suggesting for one second that people should be shy or embarrassed about their ethnic heritage,” he said.
‘I find people who care about skin pigmentation to be the most dim-witted lot around. I want nothing to do with that,” he said.
While the context of the Governor’s speech explicitly revolved around the confluence of foreign policy and immigration policy- particularly in regard to the severe ethnic and cultural divides between Europe’s Muslims and the rest of the European population- it contains eternal lessons that ring true for the ‘multicultural’ America of today.
When it comes down to it, America is still a melting pot. Despite the reverence that many on the Left still hold for the ‘authenticity’ of separate cultures within the broader whole, any reasoned look at American culture will lead the observer to believe that there is more in common between ‘Asian-Americans,’ ‘White-Americans,’ ‘African-Americans,’ ‘Mexican-Americans,’ and all the rest, than there is that divides them. There will always be cultural peculiarities unique to different communities within the broader whole, but in the interest of national unity- and in today’s divided society, nothing is more important- it is important to remember that each of these communities is yet still ‘American,’ united by a common language, a general way of life, a civic ethos, and access to a system offering more individual opportunity than any other has at any point in human history. Class and geographic divisions have negated the unitary effects of melting-pot nationalism somewhat, but the center still holds and in general, Americans of all races are as much a unified nation as are the Chinese, the French, and the Indians- diverse in background and even in culture, but yet one people. Those in the ivory tower who would divide us neatly into Darwinian racial categories stand against the sociological tide of history.
Luke’s Log commends the Governor for bravely sticking it out to the old melting-pot conception of American identity, in an age when ethnic-studies programs pervade universities and ethnic-heritage months outnumber universal civic holidays. And in an increasingly chaotic world in which we should expect more and more immigrants and refugees to flock to our shores, it is high time we embarked upon a new program of defining the unified American identity for the 21st Century, and set about ‘Americanizing’ not only the newcomers, but native-born Americans themselves. The question of American identity is among the most crucial questions facing the nation today. It is important that whatever that identity turns out to be, it is a united one- not a mosaic of squabbling localisms and ethnicisms.