Question of the day …

I am watching qualifying for the French Grand Prix, and this question crossed my mind:

If Lewis Hamilton was American, would we still refer to him as “the first black F1 driver to …” or would we refer to him as an African-American?

I am not trying to be disrespectful, but it is an interesting point because recently I ran across this letter in SI:

You described Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery as “the first African-American goaltender in 19 years to lead his team to the finals.” [source: SI June 25, 2007, p. 18]

The only problem is that Emery is Canadian.

I am not trying to be insensitive, disrespectful, or anything else that may come to mind from someone reading this post that happens to be of African heritage. I just wonder how many generations it takes to become American? I was thinking the same question as the US took on Mexico last weekend in Chicago. I can understand immigrants, regardless of citizenship, calling themselves African or Mexican (or whatever) Americans. To a certain extent, I can understand their children claiming their parent’s heritage, but at what point does it end? When do we all become Americans?

Of course I can never get it, because I am white, I am privileged, born into a hard-working, educated, upper middleclass family. Then again, I still claim to be a Texan, even though I only lived there for a few months before my parents got a divorce. OK, I am a hypocrite, but at least I am honest about it.

I guess that is my political rant for the day.


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