Volokh Conspiracy & The United States of Mexico, Brazil, America …
I ran across this interesting thing on “America” and who is “American” and where the word might be used and by whom – and as I usually see in this debate, it is framed entirely wrong. The issue is not where and who can use the word “America” – but “United States.”
Here’s the link to the article I found: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/09/10/on-america-american-and-americans/
Here’s the key phrase that I latched on to, which the author writes:
“I apologize, in advance, for my use of the term “American” throughout to refer to the United States. It’s unpleasantly chauvinistic, and I know that it drives Mexicans and Canadians and Brazilians and Peruvians and other “Americans” to distraction”
However, I have had this debate too – and the writer misses astonishing salient points – which drive me to distraction!
The names of these countries are: “The United States of Mexico” “The United States of Brazil” “The United States of America” – (I’ll get to Peru and Canada in a moment) – but look at this – three countries with the same name – “The United States of …” and then some place. Well, then we are all “estadounidodienses” as the Mexicans say – yes? Ooh noo – they are “Mexican” and we remain the vague. In Brazil they are Brazilians – they don’t go around saying “Eo desde o estados” (I’m from the states – in Portuguese.) These people are by their name – Mexico, Brazil – and we? We must, for THEIR happiness – avoid the name of our nation … and be the vague US. But they are US’s too.
Mexico goes so far as to call us “Norteamericanos” – North Americans – but they too are Norteamericanos – Mexico is indeed in North America – which is where I segue to Canada … In Mexico they remain either Canadienses (Canadians) to the authorities – even though clearly they are the largest nation in North American – or they are ‘gringos’ to the people – which enrages Canadians – or “Americanos” which is slightly less insulting to the Polar Bear Club – I have lived in Mexico – this I can vouch for!
Meanwhile, Venezuela is in South America – and has States – but I’m not sure if it’s officially “the United States of Venezuela” certainly they are “united states” while Argentina and Peru have “provinces” like Canada does.
And so we call Argentina, Peru and Canada those names – and ignore their “’provinces”
And we call Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico those names – and ignore their “states”
— and then when we get to the United States of America – the FIRST independent nation in the hemisphere – everyone goes through gyrations about what we may call ourselves!
Indeed – all the names, forms of government, constitutions – that everyone else in the place uses are from “America” – meaning the USA – we were FIRST – now we must kowtow to their desires and never call ourselves America! Nor Americans! Astonishing!
Meanwhile, Canadians in Mexico – to my personal knowledge – do NOT like to be called Americans – – but back home in Toronto they’ve got a bee in their bonnet, eh?
Then too – no one in the rest of the world – you know – Angola, Bangladesh, Philippines, China, France, Russia, Zimbabwe (did I miss any? Hmm) – etc – who says they are going to “America” – remotely thinks for a moment they are going to Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada or Guatemala … indeed – outside of the “The Americas” – America is the United States of America, Old Glory Red White and Blue where’s the swimming pool, cheeseburgers and indoor plumping? … yet to the politically craven (aka, correct) “America” means anywhere between Tierra Del Fuego and Baffin Island.
It’s a bit of hubris I can’t get around.
I’ve had this discussion multiple-times – and when faced with this “United States of Mexico” as the prime example I say:
Somos de los EEUU – we are from the United States
Somos norteamericanos – we are North Americans
pero tu eres de Mexico – y soy de America – but you are from Mexico – and I’m from America
y nadie en todos el mundo cuando dicen ‘yo me voy a America!’ es pensando ‘Guadalajara.’
and no one in all the world, when they say ‘I’m going to America!’ is thinking ‘Guadalajara.’
— and you know – no one can disagree with me on this –
But that Washington Post and Volokh lawyers – smart people – can’t see this, don’t know it, don’t mention it – avoid it? Ignore it? What? Are they unaware of the names of these other nations who are riled up by our use of our name? Hmm … well, in their pictures they look young – and you know the youth of the world to today – they all want to be American – not Brazilian, Canadian, Mexican, Peruvian, or anything else – and no one is unsure what they mean. Even the Mexicans I know down there say: “But I want to go to America.”
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