Monday, October 24, 2011

I Am American and You Are Not

The title of this post might seem like I'm spoilin' for a fight but I am not so read on...

Twice it has been brought up to me, once by a Mexican and the other by a Honduran, that Americans (meaning born in the USA) feel we are the only ones to own the label American.  They felt they should be called American too. I chewed on this for a while.   Then it hit me one day as I entered Mexico. Bienvenidos a Estados Unidos Mexicanos said the sign.  Welcome to the United Mexican States.  Therefore people born there are Mexicans. And North Americans.  And if you were born in Canada (official name is Canada - I googled it), then you are Canadian and North American.   I was born in the United States of America so I am American and North American.  Earth shattering news, right?

And my friend from Honduras?  I have news for him. He was born in the Republic of Honduras. He is Honduran and Central American (and Catracho because Hondurans are called that for some reason and, no, I haven't bothered googling it yet).   If he were born just a few miles away in Belize, he would have been Belizean and Central American.  But today I will label him Butthead because he is stubborn as all can get out. I like to get the last word and so I will say to my Honduran friend AKA Butthead.... "I am American and you are not. Nahhhh." (tongue sticking out).   

But it doesn't mean I am better than you.  Nor does it mean you are better than me because you are not American.


  1. The thing here is that in Mexico, they consider North and South America to be one continent called "America". (Different cultures have different ways of dividing the continents, learned that after I moved here.) Since Mexicans are from the continent of "America", they're technically "American".

    I blame the USA for picking a name that was already taken hahahaha

  2. I learn something new every day. Europeans learn there are 6 continents combining North and South America. Central America is not a continent so if you divide North and South America, where does Central America go? But geographers divide the world into regions. Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Australia and Oceania. But we are still the United States of America so I am American. Now if we change our name to something like United States of the Midsection in the North American Region, what should we be called?

  3. My students think we should call ourselves United Statsians.

  4. Dear Greenga, tell your students they would be United Statesians too. Or Estados Unidosenses :)

  5. "Americans" was used for the people of this hemisphere for several centuries before there was a United States of...

    I've favored "Usanians" for people from the U.S. although around here, they're sometimes called "los invasores" in honor of our unfriendly visit back in the 1840s. That is, when they're not called "touristas".

  6. @Richard, you're book sounds interesting. I will have to order a copy.

  7. Well, to start, you are wrong with your comment. People from the bottom of the continent (Argentina) to the very top (Canada) are Americans. The Whole continent IS AMERICA. The name was given after Amerigo Vespucci.

    So, we, the people from Mexico, from Honduras, from Peru, and the rest of the countries in this land, no matter if we are in the south or the north. WE ALL ARE AMERICANS, just like you.

    And by the way, here in Mexico, we all are American and we all live in the United States too. The Mexican United States, cause thats the official name of our country.

  8. Wrong? Moi? I don't think so. Should I say you are wrong because you live in Mexico and learn there are no continents called North and South America? And if you really live in Mexico, than you know that officially it is Estados Unidos Mexicanos, not the Mexican United States. Should I call the people from Belize by their former name, British Hondurans? Historically the lands to west were called the Americas but things change. Unless you are in Mexico.