Drummer Boy

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Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
« Reply #150 on: June 25, 2019, 04:56 »
It's back!  :P

A few recent conversations have inspired me to reopen this thread.  Namely, with the announcement that Chris Horner would be joining the crew over at NBC Sports for their coverage of the 2019 Tour de France, there was a suspiciously misinformed press release from the network that stated:
Chris Horner, the only American Grand Tour champion of the last 29 years, will make his Tour de France commentary debut with NBC Sports next month.

The above quote has generated no shortage of outrage and disdain across social media. But the main reoccurring theme has me genuinely puzzled. It goes pretty much like this:

Nevermind Armstrong, Landis, or LeMond.

"Only American Grand Tour champion" - Hesjedal, Quintana, and Carapaz want to have a word with the country that has adopted the label for a whole continent and applies it to its own citizens only, pretending that Canada and Latin America are ... what exactly?
The bloody arrogance. :angry

Not only has that been the sentiment of many, but the very same point was made at the beginning of this thread.
Should we call it the United States, since doesn't the term "America" in this sense ignore Canada and everywhere else south of El Paso? ;)

But this is where I have to jump in.

Now don't get me wrong, I completely understand the point that Lukas is making in terms of the "American" media having an over-inflated sense of importance towards its own.

However (and this goes to L'arri's original point as well)...

What the heck are we supposed to call ourselves?

It's literally right there, in the name! The United States of America.

Our flag is known only as "The American flag." Sure, there are some nicknames for it (as others have for their flags, too) but no other official names. And no one on the planet would confuse the reference for any other flag.

There is no other generally accepted term for the citizens of the United States. "Yanks" or "Yankees" gets tossed around by some, but don't use that term to describe any Southerners. And if you called someone from the west coast a "Yankee," they likely wouldn't even know what you were talking about.

But that's nothing compared with the more international interpretation of the word "American."

The terms "South American" and "Central American" certainly get their fair share of use, and there's no confusion as to to which people and countries that might apply to. But "North American" is rarely used to described the collection of people north of Mexico. Mexicans living in Mexico don't refer to themselves as "American," and I can guarantee you that Canadians most certainly do NOT refer to, or like to think of themselves as, "Americans." If anything, most Canadians are proudly not "American." Many of them take a rather dim view towards the neighbors on their southern border.

Also, "American citizenship" is exactly what immigrants who come to the U.S are seeking if they wish to stay. What else would you call it?

For that matter, I've never met anyone from Brazil, Perú, Costa Rica or any of their neighboring countries who referred to themselves as "Americans," nor have I ever met anyone from those countries who took issue with how the citizens of the the U.S. most commonly refer to themselves.

The use of the term, it would seem, is something that only upsets Europeans.

When referring to the land mass, the term "North America" is no more controversial than the broader term of "the Americas." Either tends to be a mostly dispassionate description of geography. But throw in that small little "n" and suddenly people from afar are creating something out of nothing.

The inhabitants of the U.S. get plenty of flak for plenty of things that they deserve.

But what else are we supposed to call ourselves?!?!
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