Among the most common stereotypes and biases ascribed to immigrants is their lack of loyalty to their new country. Visible signs of identity and culture are often read as proof that immigrants are holding on to their past at the expense of the new. Multiple identities and multiple belongings often tend to be perceived as threats. So much so that back in 1916 President Roosevelt denounced the concept of hyphenated Americans. In his words, “it will spell ruin to this nation if these (different) nationalities remain separated from one another instead of being assimilated to the new and larger American life.”
While integration is key, the problem with Roosevelt’s line of thinking is that to be American, one would have to give up ties with one’s ancestral homelands. As a hyphenated American myself, I would argue that on the contrary, multiple identities and backgrounds is a strength in itself - it brings to our nation the richness of diversity.
Over a century after Roosevelt’s address, hyphenated Americans continue to struggle to find their footing on our soil. My America is truly a melting pot of races and creeds - and that’s what makes it such an amazing country.
Now that schools are likely to go virtual because of the pandemic, I have decided to start this blog to analyze political issues plaguing our nation from the lens of a Hyphenated American. Each month I hope to bring up a new topic and share my political views on the same.