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real americans

recently in my genealogical research, i encountered something that i never anticipated: americans.

i knew that some of my grandfather's family had emigrated to pennsylvania in the early part of the twentieth century and that my father has even in recent years gone to visit some cousins in the northeast [they were big bernie sanders supporters, apparently] but that was, as far as i knew, my only connection to our southern neighbour.

but it turns out, that's far from the case. one of my british relatives who abandoned the old country in favour of life in the colonies landed in the united states and shortly after was married to a woman with an obviously dutch name. i assumed that they had met on the boat on the way over because, as far as i knew, he moved up to canada right away. but she was actually american-born, the daughter of a dutchman from boston and an established english family. when i say "established", i don't mean that they were members of the genteel classes, because i don't know that they were. but i have been able to establish that they had been in the united states for a while.

"a while" in this case means that the first family member to be born on american soil came into the world in 1637. the families to which i can trace my ancestry were only a few years removed from having come over on the mayflower. the americans i'm related to have been in america longer than any group that isn't part of the first nations. they probably helped distribute anthrax blankets, although i like to think that they quietly resisted such genocidal practices. [i have nothing on which to base that. they were probably horrible, like most white settlers.]

the point i'd like to make is this: there are a lot of white people throughout the united states right now whining and bitching about immigrants coming to take over their country. donald trump has risen to power largely by feeding this fear and raising the spectre of all the nice white americans being displaced by nasty brown people.

i've already had something to say about trump and his scottish heritage. now i'd like to convey a message about his american heritage:

your family arrived in america in 1885. that means that mine was there more than two hundred years earlier. in fact, when you teutonic twerps were washing up on these shores, people like my relatives thought you were a fucking plague. the prevailing wisdom was that germany wasn't sending their best either: they were sending petty criminals who couldn't make it in their home country, or murderes and rapists [although some, i assume, were good people]. we thought they were coming over to america to take advantage of the prosperous society that had been established by hardworking pioneers. people like my family. you came over here to draft on the achievements of my forebears.

i am [as i keep reminding myself when i watch the news] not american. but i have a better claim to being american than any trump. and i'll warrant that i have a better claim on being american than 90% or more of trump supporters. if you're going to base your arguments against immigration on "we got here first, which makes us the real americans", then you should be prepared for this rude awakening:

there are hundreds of thousands of northeast liberals who are more american than you. if mexicans, arabs or any other group you don't like because they're different from you don't belong, then you don't either. the gap between english and german ancestry was seen as at least as great a gulf as "white" versus "other". the good, wasp-y nations fought two world wars against "the hun". the english-descended families of new england did not ever view you as compatriots. for that matter, neither did the dutch who had been living in the united states for centuries before your sausage-sucking asses got there.

so if you want mexicans, arabs, indians, chinese, or other people to get out, i say on behalf of my family: you first. seriously, get the hell out. you think you're "real americans"? screw that. i say, you're using your white skin to pass as real. the "real americans" are native americans. if you only want to talk in terms of european-americans, though, my family has been around for centuries longer than yours. my family have been around long enough that they were called "settlers" not "immigrants". [well, they were called "settlers" by their extended families. others would have called them "invaders".]

so don't let the door of freedom hit you too hard on the way out, bitches. give our regards to whatever shithole country you came from*.

*no, of course i don't think of european countries as shitholes. nor do i think of african countries as shitholes. if you don't see the humour in that last line, you need to leave this blog and never come back.

p.s. :: if any canadians wanna argue about this, i have another branch of the family that's been in this country since the 17th century. fight me.

Comments

Martin Rouge said…
Not all settlers...
Kate MacDonald said…
Technically speaking, black people brought over as slaves by English people are more American than later European immigrants. As far as the original settlers were concerned, black folk had a purpose.

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