and just when I was gaining a new mannerism. I’ve had so many instances where I have wanted to pull my glasses down my nose, tilt my head forward, and look at someone like they’ve said one of the most ridiculous things ever. But I can’t now. Just when I started enjoying having glasses, I’m stuck with the contacts.
I wish this didn’t bother me so much, but I can’t help it - it does.
Every time that someone refers to the United States as “America,” whether it be a student here or the President of the United States, most of the Latin Americans at my school flip a shit.
Calm down and educate yourself.
Firstly, there are historical reasons why we refer to the United States of America just as America. Manifest Destiny was a big thing for quite a long time. We thought we were going to conquer ALL the land. It didn’t work out too well, but it makes sense that they just assumed we might as well call the U.S. America - everything was meant to be a part of the Union.
Secondly, we are a major world power. It sounds too patriotic for my own taste, but we kind of can call ourselves whatever the fuck we want…
Thirdly, when five of the six habitable continents hear “America” they do not think of North America or South America. They think of the United States. Majority rules… It’s completely different if you say something along the lines of “I am going to the Americas.” People will then know that you aren’t just referring to the U.S. But if you, as a Latin American, say you’re from America, people are going to think you are a citizen of the U.S. It’s misleading.
Fourthly, the United States is the largest country in North America and South America. It seems appropriate to me that we refer to ourselves how we’d like. We also have the largest population in the two continents.
Fifthly, Latin Americans, you do not hold pride in your continent, you hold pride in your countries (as far as I have witnessed). Saying that you are “American, too” is not cute or endearing. You say “Viva Venezula!” or “Viva Peru!” And while we do not hold much pride in our continent much either, we are the majority of it both habitable land and population-wise. We at least have a trading agreement with those who are considered to be a part of North America. Also, what do you want us to call ourselves? “United Statesmen?” “United Statians?” That just sounds stupid.
Finally, we were the first sovereign nation (excluding the Native Americans, First Nations Peoples, Aztecs, Mayans, etc.) on both North and South American soil. We were here second, really. So we can call ourselves what we would like. Granted, unless you have Native American decent, you shouldn’t even be claiming to be American, but that is a WHOLE other issue.
We really cannot change calling ourselves American. That would be just the Chuck Norris punch in series of many punches to our founding fathers. If Obama changed it now, he wouldn’t get reelected most likely. And you can bet your bottom dollar a Republican would scoff at the idea.
There is nothing to gain by getting pissed off that U.S. citizens refer to themselves as Americans. You will gain absolutely nothing. It’s not like all of a sudden both North and South America will have equal standing in the eyes of the world.
And as an aside: there is this kid from Italy making snide remarks about the U.S. while watching the State of the Union Address. Most notably, “Own your money America.. Own your money world… DO NOT leave someone else to lend it to you!” Okay, Italy… you’re one to talk ;).
This will be entirely off topic of what this post is about, but I need coffee. We keep getting work, but to be honest, I am too exhausted to keep at it anymore.
But to the actual post:
Today, I was informed that there are various people that believe that some friends and I are being exclusive. Firstly, I think that is pure blasphemy, but to really put their feelings into perspective, I looked up the definition of “exclusive.” Hell, for all I knew, I could have been mistaking about the definition of the word. According to Oxford Dictionary (the go-to as far as dictionaries are concerned, I think!) exclusive is:
1) Excluding or not admitting other things.
2) Restricted to the person, group, or area concerned.
Hm. To me, it seems that these individuals feel that we are actively resisting their urges to be a part of our friendship circle…
The thing about UWC is that cliques don’t exist. We’re too mature for that nonsense. However, we do have friendship circles, all of which have some sort of overlapping with another circle. We’re just an informal family, really. So where would people get this idea from?
During meals my friends and I do tend to sit with each other, and it’s a big group - we often have to add chairs to the table to accommodate all of us. Meal time is pretty much the only time we get to be truly ourselves - we kind of stimulate the fun out of each other and don’t pass any judgments on one another - something that can’t be said while we’re separated and in classes. We all happen to be people of color as well.
As far as I am aware, we have never told someone that they cannot sit at a table that we sit at. We don’t unnecessarily sit far away from the masses of students also eating in the dining hall. We talk about very general things, and we joke around a lot - so it’s very easy to get involved in our conversations. To me, the word “exclusive” doesn’t seem to be a good description of what is happening here. It seems that “insecurity” is though.
The people that are complaining are people who have maybe one or two friends in the entire group. The people who are complaining have never come to visit me (or a majority of the others, as far as I’m aware). The people who are complaining have not made an attempt to sit with us. So how the hell are we being exclusive? You haven’t even given us the opportunity to shun you from our discussions or deny you friendship - an opportunity I know for a fact none of us would take. Ultimately, I think that people are just pissed off because those one or two friends of theirs hang out with this group more than they hang out with them. Or they want to be included but because of insecurity, are too apprehensive to just pop a squat at an open seat at our table. But instead of taking an initiative, they decide to label the group as exclusive. That way members of this circle will feel badly and pay more attention to others. But do they realize what this does? It breaks up the current friendship circle so that they receive more attention. No, what you need to do is make an effort, or open up your mouth and make plans with the people who want to see more of.
I’m just sick of the close-mindedness of this open-minded school. The people here have so much intelligence and potential and so many ideals, yet they still have a lot of growing up and self-realization to go through.
Stop throwing around labels and work for yourself.
American Sign Language has become the highlight of my week this semester. Every Monday from 4 until 6. I never used to be all that intrigued with ASL. It was kind of a mixture between ABC’s Switched at Birth, peer pressure, and then exposure that piqued my interest.
This is actually one of the few extra-curricular activities (out of what… like ten) that has made me look forward to another school day. The rest were laid out in such a way that it was a struggle for me to even show up to them. With ASL, we’re learning by conversing in sign language, essentially.
So two things:
- I had best not die alone when I am now opening up the possibility to dating someone who is deaf or mute.
- I am definitely a visual learner. I wish schools were structured more for people like me :).
I feel so liberated this year. 2012 is really working out for me… I think it’s just because I am maturing in new ways opposed to it having anything to do with the year, though. But that doesn’t change the fact that 2012 has been great thus far (despite some disappointments).
- I sent that letter to my grandma letting her know how I feel about her actions correlating with the relationship she has created for my little sister and I (such as the irresponsibility, insensitivity, selfishness, and manipulation on her part). I spent over two hours on it, and it was about 3 pages long in my teeny handwriting (equivalent to say size 10 font). I’m not sure she has read/received it yet, but either way, I stood up for myself.
- A first year decided to “stand-up” to me and attempt tell me what I could and could not do regarding Campus Store (the CAS/extracurricular I am in charge of). I quickly put her in her place, especially because I have the keys to the damn place and have put more time into that place than probably my two co-leaders combined (and definitely more than any leaders in the past). Not to mention, she just joined the CAS, so I really am not sure where she thought she was getting off.
- As I have referred to in a previous post, I have had issues with a friend in the past very recently (just with him trying to make me feel less than). Last Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. I started the process of detaching myself from him. Interestingly enough, the day after, I was very detached and payed him very little attention he started to be friendlier/nicer. This has been happening exponentially since Thursday. But I have stayed firm in my process of removing myself from his friendship - I am really working for myself and my well-being this semester. There are three options about what has been happening: 1) He has noticed my detachment and has tried to make up for his behavior (I have brought up my issues about how he treats me before, and he has witnessed me cut myself off from people). 2) He has noticed my detachment and is the kind of person that wants the attention back or likes the “chase”. 3) He has not noticed my detachment and has just been in a bad mood for a month, which I alone have had to pay for… Option three seems the least realistic :). Back to the point - we quite recently had an e-mail exchange where he forcefully suggested where my priorities should lie, as well as discreetly making some snarky comment that, again, belittled me. See, he’s talented because he did all of this in two sentences. I gave a three paragraph response about how I am comfortable with my decision to arrive a half hour late to my leadership CAS (explicit), how I am, in fact, in a higher position than he is in the CAS (implicit), and that he is more than welcome not to follow my lead and go to CAS on time (explicit).
The point is that I am becoming much more outspoken and much less passive aggressive (things I struggled with last year). I am simply tired of the self-entitlement, and the disregard for others associated with it, that surrounds me. I used to be “nice.” I used to take the shit dealt to me. But I have turned that around and have learned to refute the negativity with the same amount of respect given to me (which at times wasn’t much, and I can tell you it pained me not lose my cool).
So, this post is to celebrate me (cocky, huh?)! Four for you Glen Coco!