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What Does it Mean to Be an American: Conformity, Silence, and Lies

Preserving Voices Vulnerable to Erasure

What Does It Mean to Be a 'Good' American 

Taught by Angie Beeman

In a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, Americans were asked: “What does it mean to be a true American?”  Some of the top answers given included, speaking English, being Christian, and sharing American customs and traditions.  Many of these themes are subtly tied to whiteness.  Indeed, historically, American citizenship depended on one’s ability to prove whiteness.  People of color presented interesting and thoughtful cases to the Supreme Court during the early twentieth century to show that they were, in fact, “white.”  A central feature of gaining “whiteness” is silence and erasure.  This Olio will examine how these themes are reproduced in dominant narratives, especially in the case of Asian Americans.


Fuck the Alamo and Fuck Your Stupid Wall

Taught by Jamie Warren

 Many Americans know little to nothing about the Mexican American War. We  “Remember the Alamo” by virtue of forgetting the actual cause of the conflict: the expansion of slavery. We instruct our children to celebrate Davy Crockett without teaching them that he fought on the side of slaveholders. This oversight is not simply a case of flawed history or ignorance—this intentional forgetting is an act of white supremacy rooted in the myth of Manifest Destiny. As we listen to our president refer to immigrants at the Mexican-American border as “animals,” it is imperative that we remind ourselves just how that border came into existence.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.


Other upcoming Olios


Nov 2

What we Call Evil

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Nov 4

Museum Trip | 'True Colors' Private Tour

Taught by Charles Riley
2 p.m. at Nassau County Museum of Art

Sign Up - $40

Nov 7

A World Beyond PC

Taught by Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario
7 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Nov 14

Nov 17

OlioHouse | Homecoming Dance 2018

Taught by Jamie Warren
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $75

Nov 30

Wishes of the Dead

Taught by Barry Lam
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


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