The United States of America. Such a wonderful idea, such a complicated and yet simple ideal but, like Communism, it only works on paper. The United States would be a wonderful place, I am told, if it weren’t for the people. Cut the people out – those who live there, not those who are only visiting – and it would be perfect.
Of course I would normally have protested against such a slander, such an insult to my home land, if I didn’t believe it to be at least bordering on the truth. The United States of America is, indeed, a wonderful land, filled with everything the heart could desire and, at the same time, a twisted relic of what it should have been, what it could have been. No amount of patriotism, no number of good examples, is going to change the truth, because the truth is ingrained in each and every American citizen, whether they wish it to be or not, whether they understand it or not.
The United States of America is inherently racist, as well as being totally misguided about why it is not the number one, most popular land – politically – in the world.
Start off with this idea that everyone wishing to settle in the United States must speak English. The idea bases itself on the presumption that the main language on the continent has always been English. The first settlers, we are told, who braved the seas to travel out of oppression in England brought their language with them. They most certainly did, but there was a language here before English, and it was Spanish. Christopher Columbus, the man credited with discovering the Americas for the Western world – or, at least, for the Portuguese Queen Isabel – did not speak English, and nor did his crew. Perhaps that’s the real reason so many people are suddenly not so interested in celebrating a holiday in his name.
Photo Source: Thomas Hawk – Creative Commons
Spanish, however, was also not the first language spoken. It was merely the first language of an invading force. The original languages – plural – are those of the Native Americans, of the Cherokee, the Sioux and so on. These are the languages which the invaders damned and forced out (almost) of existence. Today, of course, we complain when other lands insist that a certain language be used and the native language is oppressed, much the same as Americans object to many occurrences in foreign countries which they accept in their own.
And here we have another form of racism, aside from the insistence that English is the native language of Americans. The word American itself. What is an American?
If you work through the whole list, you can only come to the conclusion that an American is white and that his ancestors came from the United Kingdom at some stage. There are sub-sections to ‘American’ for everyone else: Polish-American, Japanese-American, Afro-American, Irish-American. There is no English-American because they are simply American. In truth, though, the true Americans are those who speak the original languages of this vast land. Except that they aren’t called American, they are Native American, another subsection of the foreign mass, of those who are not quite American, but merely a subdivision of the whole. Not quite perfect. Not quite American.
Racism is a central part of the ‘American’ psyche. No one who uses the language of the white American settler can claim anything else, or be anything but racist. It is inbred in all, through the manner in which children are raised – indoctrinated to fit in with the whole – through the educational system, the judicial and political systems. Only a complete reworking of the entire system, from the top right down and into the minds of the people, will ever change this fact, and we needn’t expect such a change anytime soon, if ever.
- Viktoria Michaelis.