What Does It Mean to Be a 'Good' American
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
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.
Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.