Thursday, June 4, 2009

i'm unitedstatesian

until this week, i forgot about the "i'm american" issue.

if you tell someone here that you're "american", it's likely you'll get the response "i am too" even if they're from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Columbia...you get where I'm going with this? south AMERICA, central AMERICA....

so, to be safe, and like a nice little politically correct unitedstatesian, i say "i'm from the states" or "i'm from the u.s."

with that said, i found a very funny tee-shirt on www.bustedtees.com that made me laugh.
i like this one too...it's for the geographically challenged.

9 comments:

krebiz said...

I love that you brought that up actually, b/c it's a pet peeve of mine that ppl from the US say "I'm American" and the whole world should know that the person means US. It also irks me when people in other regions of the world use "American" to refer to ONLY the US. Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, etc are ALL American.

Idk, to an extent, everybody is ethnocentric I suppose, but the overbearing ethnocentrism of the US is really tiresome. When people say, "It's the best country in the world!!!" and I say, "probably only to those that were born here. Home is where the heart is." They look at me like I've sprouted five heads, and it's as though so many people more or less believe that everyone in the world in his right mind should want to live here and only here.

I went off on a tangent again. Heh.

Whatcah doing this weekend, yilly?

yillabean said...

I like your tangents :-)

No big plans for the weekend. I'll clean tomorrow in anticipation for my new roommates arrival on Sunday. I'll also try to go to my favorite cafe to study my Spanish since it's lacking.

Curtis said...

It's a ridiculous argument. People from the United States of AMERICA are AMERICANS. Just like people from Argentina are Argentinos, Peru - Peruanos, Estado Unidos de Mexico - Mexicans. If you want to identify with some perceived culture of being from all of North, Central, and South America, then continue with your trivialities. I'm an American, because I'm from the USA, you're NOT. Get over it.

yillabean said...

i don't think it's a ridiculous argument, but it's an interesting one for sure.

for me it's not worth arguing about, so i just play it safe.

if i don't, i feel like it will eventually lead into the conversation (which krebiz points out above) where the arguer says "people from the states think they are the only ones in this world and they think everything revolves around them". another interesting conversation and another conversation i've had and don't want to have again with a foreigner...especially one that hasn't been to the states.

Donigan said...

A lot of perceived slights come about as the result of simply common usage, of thinking by default. I understand the desire to always be specific, to cut down to the minutiae. But that's not how the human mind works, and to make it work differently is going to require a lot more evolution than any of us will live to see.

It is a stereotype for most people in the world, far and away the vast majority, to immediately think of the USA when the word "Americans" is used. It's shorthand, and we think in shorthand, for better or worse. Remember what a "stereotype" is: it is the old newspaper printer's term for some part of the paper (like the banner name across the top) that is repeated for every issue, so does not have to be reset in type every time. For most of the people on the planet to think immediately of the USA whenever the word American is used is more or less just a stereotype. It's shorthand, it saves mental work.

I am not making the case that this is a good thing, or a bad thing, it just is. People from Guatemala, or Chile, or Mexico are perfectly free to call themselves "Americans," but virtually everywhere in the world that they make that claim, the listener is going to assume they are from the USA.

It is interesting that almost no Canadians would be caught dead calling themselves Americans. They are Canadians, and damn proud of it.

It's sort of like all photocopying is called "Xerox," all aspirin is Bayer, all nose wipes are "Kleenex."

Anyway. America is the best country on the planet. If you are an American ... make that a United Stateser. If you are a loyal Swede, then Sweden is the best country on the planet. If you are a loyal Russian, then Russia is the best country on the planet. Ad infinitum.

And the Dallas Cowboys are the best football team in the world, as everybody knows.

It's just team spirit. It's not really all that important.

krebiz said...

Donigan makes a good case for the mental shorthand. I especially like his reminder that until we imbued it with a lot of PC-speak, "stereotype" didn't carry such a negative connotation. And I agree with him, most people do associate the term "American" with the US. My contention was that I've long thought that to be incorrect, and while I have to pretty much accept that it happens, I don't have to accept the premise behind it.

It would seem that Curtis isn't very interested in engaging in any kind of logical debate, just an argument that refuses to examine anything but one person's stance. Hopefully that's not a singularly American approach to debate.

Curtis said...

What's to debate? It is what it is. If you can market a catchy new term for people from the USA that can replace "American" then you succeed. Easy as that. What culture do all people in the Western Hemisphere share that warrants the application of this term, at this point in time, to all of them rather than the group with whom it has been associated with for decades now. There is none. There is no use for a term that describes all people from the Western Hemisphere. No more is necessary than "Citizen of the World" as applies to all of us on Planet Earth. I wonder if the lust of non-USA residents for the use of the term is somehow related to it's current association. Now that's an interesting argument.

Donigan said...

Curtis makes a valid point, and should put an end to this ... wasting Yill's space. No other country in the two hemispheres called "America," actually uses the word America in its national name. It is, after all, the United States of America. It is not Mexico of North America, or Argentina of South America, or Costa Rica of Central America; nor do, for example, the half-dozen countries of Central America consider themselves to be the United Countries of Central America. Given that, the United States of America has been granted the right to call itself America, for shorthand, and the world has for a very long time both tacitly and explicitly agreed.

The end. Although I might add as an aside that Curtis could have made his point a little less didactically.

Anquises said...

Yillabean, Vd. puede decir en correcto español "Yo soy americana". La Real Academia Española admite el uso de la palabra "americano/a" como sinónimo de "estadounidense". Y si algún porteño se enoja por eso, puede agregar (con su mejor sonrisa de ángel) que algo parecido ocurre con la palabra "porteño", que significa
"nativo de una ciudad portuaria", pero que por convención se aplica a los habitantes de Buenos Aires pero no a los de de las ciudades de Rosario o Montevideo, que también tienen puerto).