Nobody Uses “European-American.”
I’m of Japanese descent, the second generation of my family to be born in America, but I’m not “Japanese-American” or “Asian-American.” My nationality is simply American.
Some may use it out of ignorant pride but, simply put, the use of “(RACE)-American” is a prime example of institutionalized racism. Every American should be proud of their family’s heritage but the need to classify non-whites in America is simply racist. The media, politicians and society in general, commonly identify minorities by their race far beyond reporting on organizational accountability, descriptions of criminal suspects or victims of bias crime. It may be a racial identifier, but its use implies that person as being somehow “less than” American or “American, but…” especially when put into the context of whites being referred to simply as Americans and not European-Americans. This fact alone makes any attempt to justify its use as an identifier wildly racist as its use classifies “others” from white Americans. Ethnicity and nationality are in no way related from either a logical or social perspective.
My ethnicity should have no bearing in 99% of conversation with or about me beyond identification. There’s no need to append my ethnicity with my nationality as they are unrelated. Unless the conversation involves biased or bigoted commentary, there is no need to refer to either.
No, the solution is not to start referring to whites as “European-American” as some sort of snarky, racist compromise. The reality is that all of us, naturally born on US soil, born abroad to US parents or naturalized, are all just Americans. Equality is too often confused with patronization. Since this is a presidential election cycle, the media and politicians feel the need to pander to potential voters. The country is being forced to face the ongoing issue of racism head-on and now more than ever, the media is flooding their front pages with stories on “minority achievements,” always keen to identify achievers as (RACE)-Americans, as if being polite. They thoughtfully identify, categorize and divide by race, even oppressing some. The effort is simply patronizing and inadvertantly highlights the inequality that exists in America. Just the act of identifying minorities primarily by race, illogically tying a person’s ethnicity to their nationality, is perversely considered politically correct in the American lexicon. So pervasive, even most non-white Americans refer to each other in this way. Would you ever consider, or stand for, simply calling men Americans while women were called female-Americans? How about homosexual- or gay-Americans? Diversity should be recognized and celebrated without the need to categorize and segregate. Use of these labels only facilitates racial discrimination in our society at this time. Once a sign of pride used by minorities, it’s become a liability that’s weighing us down when used by others with dishonest intentions.
Consider this: What do you call a citizen of England who is of African descent? English.