ALIPAC Attacks NC Rep. Deborah Ross For Telling The Truth: America Is A Continent Not A Country

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The Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is at it again.  It's flaming the fires of a faux controversy this time involving North Carolina Rep. Deborah Ross (D-38)

From an ALIPAC email (I won't link to ALIPAC):
Please watch and share this video of comments made by Democratic Representative Deborah Ross.

Ross was offended by ALIPAC President William Gheen's comments that he sought to represent the American side of this debate since Carlos Flores-Vizcarra, the Mexican consul general for the Carolinas, had been given the podium to speak against the bill.

Gheen stated that a Rasmussen Poll from 2007 showed 77% of Americans opposed licenses for illegal aliens and that he was willing to wager with any lawmaker that public attitudes regarding Matricula Consular cards were even stronger in opposition.

Before leering at William Gheen and his cohorts near the end of the video, Representative Ross claims...

"language means a lot to me. Anybody who is from Mexico or Honduras... they're also Americans."

Since the audio from this video is going viral on talk radio shows in North Carolina, ALIPAC is now releasing this video nationally for circulation.
William Gheen - ALIPAC (24 March 2011)
I would say that Rep. Ross shouldn't pay attention to this loud but tiny group of nativists, but the truth is that ALIPAC doesn't even deserve to be called nativist.  Anyone who closely follows ALIPAC knows that it's sole purpose is to raise enough money to make a living for "President" William Gheen

Gheen raises money for a "political action committee" that exists basically only to pay his own salary.  ALIPAC gives very little money to political candidates.  Gheen is good at being loud, but he couldn't organize his way out of a paper bag.  In his home state, North Carolina, he can't get more than two dozen people to a rally, or more than a handful of people to come to a legislative meeting.

Normally, I ignore ALIPAC except to laugh at them every now and again, but I thought this video was worth highlighting because Rep. Ross actually makes a worthwhile point.  Anyone who has spent significant time in any other part of the Americas understand how ridiculous it is that the U.S. has coopted the word "American." Growing up in Guatemala, even as a kid, if I ever tried to identify as "Americano" meaning from the U.S., I would quickly get slapped down by someone from Guatemala saying "Yo soy Americano también.  Todos somos Americanos." (I am American, too.  We are all Americans.) 

The nice thing about Spanish is there is a way to correct for what can only be described as imperialist language by using the word "Estadounidense" meaning "from the United States."  The English equivalent would be "United Statsian".  Unfortunately, that's not a word in English, nor do I believe that it would catch on, so I'm often left with having to resort to awkward phrases like "from the U.S." or "U.S. citizen" or "U.S. public."  Even the term Rep. Ross suggests, North American, doesn't quite cut it since Mexico and Central America are also part of North America.  (If you want to complicate this further, in Guatemala I was taught that there are 5 continents not 7.  Both Americas are counted as one continent and Australia isn't big enough to be considered a continent.)   

I'm sure some people will howl "political correctness" at my attempts to use "from the U.S." as a substitute for "American" but as Kai Chang once wrote for Zuky (I guess his site is down, now) political correctness "is a deliberately imprecise expression because it's objective isn't to communicate a substantive idea, but simply to sneer and snivel about the linguistic and cultural burdens of treating all people with the respect and sensitivity with which they wish to be treated."

Lately, I've become less militant against using the word American, mostly because that is how many DREAMers choose to identify.  I use it mostly when discussing U.S. culture, or culturally being from the U.S.  Within the context of U.S. politics, there really is no other equivalent term.  I like to use the term Gringo to describe my cultural Americanness, but it's not a term that I think is accepted or understood by the broader public.  As a sidenote, if I had to choose a single identity I'd probably identify as a chapringo, which is a mix of the term Gringo and Chapín, which is Spanish slang for "from Guatemala".

To sum this all up, if you care about the rest of the hemisphere, and being responsible about the language you use: America is a continent not a country.  Substitute "U.S." for "American" whenever possible.  And if you're still reading, drop a line or call up Rep. Ross and tell her not to pay attention to a small group of vocal nativists that have been duped into directly or indirectly into fundraising William Gheen's scam of a Political Action Committee which exists almost entirely to pay him a pretty handsome salary.

UPDATE I:  Immigration Clearinghouse which has done more than any other pro-migrant blog to expose ALIPAC's scams has linked to this post and also come to the defense of another North Carolina State Rep. Rick Glazier (D-45), that ALIPAC is attacking. 

UPDATE II: Rep. Ross has responded to Citizen Orange with the following statement:

Thanks for the support.  I stand by my beliefs and my vote.
Deborah Ross - Email (26 March 2011)  

Thank you Rep. Ross for your courage.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on March 26, 2011 10:46 AM.

Rep. John Lewis: "If Any One Of Us Is Illegal, Then We All Are Illegal" was the previous entry in this blog.

Tuesday: Undocumented Youth In Georgia, Risking Arrest, Will Come Out as Unafraid is the next entry in this blog.

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