In defense of “Real” Americans

The McPalin camp has been doing a pretty good job of driving a big race/class wedge in America over the past several weeks. Palin, in particular, has been doing all she can to fan the flames of intolerance as she draws a clear line between “real” Americans and inauthentic Americans, pro-Americans and anti-America Americans.

If a person were to seriously believe the hateful rhetoric of McPalin, you’d believe that “real” Americans only exist in small towns somewhere far from either of the coasts. You know, us non-white folks living on the coasts who have never ridden on a tracker trailer or wrestled a moose with our own bare hands or worn a trucker hat without a bit of irony – McPalin would have us believe that we’re not real Americans. In the republican world, there is no way that us university educated, media and technology obsessed, secular, children of immigrants can possibly be just as patriotic or pro-American as our more rural counterparts.

This is what I have to say to all those arbiters of “Real” America propaganda: TAKE YOUR HATEFUL BS AND SHOVE IT WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE.

You want to know what “Real” Americans look like?

  • They leave their middle class lives in their home country to immigrate to a strange foreign place where they barely speak the language, have little to no connections, and where their college degrees are worth about as much as the paper they are printed on — all on the minuscule hope that their children will have a better life.
  • They work in sweatshops or labor in the back kitchens of filthy restaurants and stores, working for less than minimum wage just so they can scrimp and save to some day open up their own little shop in a neighborhood long neglected by more traditional retail shop.
  • They suffer abuse and indignation at the hands of their customers who resent their presence as outsiders.
  • They study for citizenship tests that most native-born Americans would never be able to pass.
  • They beam with pride as their kids graduate from college with the realization that they’re children are now freed from the harrowing physical labor that they endured for decades.
  • They pay their taxes, vote, create jobs, go to church, buy homes, help their kids buy homes, start non-English language newspapers and TV channels, and eventually get a parade celebrating their culture down New York’s 5th Ave.
  • And most importantly, they have more kids. They have so many in fact that we will be a majority minority country by 2050.

I’m a real American. I may not look like the folks attending McPalin events in Ohio or Colorado…but I look a heck of a lot like the future of America – whether they like it or not.

(Flickr photo credit: Ctd 2005)

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About Bo

A 30something, 1.5 generation Korean-American/New Yorker who spends her day as an HR exec. specializing in corporate diversity & inclusion. I get to think about ways to make "The Man" less male, white, and straight. It's the best job in the world! When I'm not trying to change corporate America, I teach yoga and dabble in holistic health counseling. I have an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and my undergraduate from the University of Michigan. Lesser known facts about me: I enjoy b&w film photography, training for endurance races, and making homemade jam. Other mindless observations can be found at
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