Bobby Jindal says he’s tired of “hyphenated Americans.” The Republican governor of Louisiana and possible 2016 presidential candidate said his parents didn’t come to America to raise Indian-Americans.
So, let’s all just be known as Americans, he says.
Well, OK, Gov. Jindal. I respect your desire to be known as an American without the hyphen.
However, I am a hyphenated American and am damn proud of it.
My grandparents came here from southern Europe. My dad’s parents grew up in neighboring villages in southern Greece. Mom’s parents grew up on a tiny island in the Sea of Marmara, the small body of water that separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey; they were of Greek heritage as well.
They all came to this country to become Americans, just as Jindal’s parents came here from India.
My grandparents, though, never lost touch with their heritage and they passed it along to their grandkids.
It might be that my sisters and I have a fairly unique distinction of being “full-blooded” something, rather than a mix of various heritages. Perhaps that’s why I have this particular desire to identify myself as a Greek-American. It’s easy to say. Most people know about Greece and its profound contribution to the development western civilization.
They also ought to know about the ancient rivalry that persists to this very day between Greece and Turkey, nations that have gone to war with each other more times than I can even count.
Having proclaimed my pride in my hyphenated heritage, I take a back seat to no one in my love of the country of my birth. For that matter, all four of my grandparents — all of whom chose to move here — felt the very same way about their adopted home.
Jindal spoke to the First in the Nation summit in New Hampshire. “I don’t know about you, I’m tired of the hyphenated Americans. No more ‘African-Americans.’ No more ‘Indian-Americans.’ No more ‘Asian-Americans,’ ” Jindal said, drawing applause.
Fine, governor. That’s your call.
Me? I’ll stick with the hyphen. It’s a source of pride.