What is an American?

Here is one definition of an American, from Harry Laughlin, as quoted by blogger ‘n/a’ way back in 2008.

“Racially, an American is a Caucasian each of whose ancestral lines traces directly to a member of the foundation racial stock of the American people, or to a race-assimilant thereto who was fully assimilated thereby.”

The complete definition is at the link.

I know the definition would not be politically correct today, and it would offend lots of people who don’t fit the criteria Laughlin uses.

But then again, I am seeing a lot more cynicism toward the very idea of America and American nationality on the part of people who are, by Laughlin’s definition, Americans.

While millions (or billions?) of people in foreign lands clamor for admission to this country those born here, those who are the rightful inheritors of this land, think being an American is shameful or of no value to them. Ironic.

I’m disillusioned, too, but we can choose to try to salvage something of value in our heritage;  the past was not all bad, and there is still good to be found in our country. And nothing can take away the very real accomplishments of our forefathers in coming here in a time when the long sea voyage meant great peril, and ‘merciless savages’, in Jefferson’s words, awaited the new arrivals when they landed.

For a good long while this was a very pleasant and free country in which to live and to raise a family. The fact that it’s been corrupted and usurped from us does not negate all that was good here. It only makes our situation all the more tragic and unjust, and if we choose we can use that knowledge to motivate us to do something other than steep ourselves in bitterness. And I am talking to myself as well as to any readers who may be out there (wherever you are). I need a little motivation myself, as I am prone to discouragement these days.

And just a word about “n/a” and his blog, race/history/evolution: the blog seems to be inactive but there are quite a few informative and interesting posts there on the subject of heredity, genetics, and ethnicity, especially in an American context. I recommend it if you are at all interested in those subjects.

3 thoughts on “What is an American?

  1. I am seeing a lot more cynicism toward the very idea of America and American nationality

    This is because of the way it has been debased — eg take a trip abroad, and when returning look at who’s in the line ‘Citizens, Green Card and Immigrant Visa Holders’ with you — they’ve handed out green cards and citizenship to all manner of human flotsam for decades now.

    You’re just a tax mule.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I tend to agree about the reason why this has happened; the term ‘American’ doesn’t say anything these days about who we are; anybody with citizenship papers or a visa, let alone a green card, can claim to be ‘American’ and yet cling to their ethnic identity. And that part is fine; assimilation isn’t something we should want because it means amalgamation and blending genetically so that we’ll be well and truly nonexistent as a people.
    But what then do we say we are? Most Europeans don’t want to claim us, lots of them actively dislike us and many people here heartily reciprocate. There’s the dilemma: our identity is being given away with our country. Hence invented terms like ‘Amerikaner’ or USian or something, which seem artificial.

    I think what bothers me most is the attitude that a lot of people have towards the mass Americans who don’t yet ‘get it’. There are a lot of pejorative labels for that category and that bothers me — they may yet begin to ‘catch on’ and awaken if given a chance of the right circumstances. I don’t think we should write them off unless they are actively against us.
    -VA

    Liked by 1 person

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