Musings on Everything

I muse, therefore I write.

On Melting Pots

So hey! I found something out this morning. Pennsylvania’s part of the United States! I mean, like, WHOA! Where did that come from? Shouldn’t somebody have, like, told us, the people, that Pennsylvania’s a frigging state? Like, WTF, man! That’s so not cool. It’s like… keeping people out of the loop. How can they be tubular when they are, like, totally out of the loop, dude?

Anyway, so that means that Pennsylvania is part of the great American melting pot. You know, that thing where everybody gets together, has kids, and eventually nobody knows whether your grandmother was 1/16 Pacific Islander or 1/8, and now you’re just “American” like everybody else? Yeah. So I was thinking about it, and guess what? I don’t like the word “melting pot” anymore. I think of it as a “lumping pot” now. Because everybody’s in really big, catch-all ethnic groups now instead of really fine-grained ones. In fact, I wouldn’t even call them ethnic groups. Let’s call them “races.”

OK, OK, look. If you are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Singapore…-ese, or Burmese or whatever else them slanty-eyed people decided to call themselves over the ages, then you are, upon entry to the United States, and for the duration of your stay, “Asian.” Yes, that’s right. Not Chinese or Japanese or Korean, simply “Asian.” So say goodbye to your cultural hangups and rivalries, because nobody here gives a shit. Say goodbye to your cultural heritage, language, customs, and all that, because nobody here gives a shit.

Even more galling, these same thoughtless Americans try to group me (ME!) in with these people. I don’t even look anything like them. I have brown skin. I’m Indian, dammit, not “Asian.” I am from a completely different ethnic group. I am from South India, which puts me in a position of significantly differing genetic heritage from the Oriental population. I share, according to Wikipedia and this article here,15-30% genetic similarity with European populations (the “white” bit of the American melting pot), ~10% similarity with Han Chinese, and assorted other populations mixed in for good luck. This means that I am the result of tens of thousands of years of genetic mixing. This, in turn, means that a population of white people interbred into my population, a population of North Indians interbred in, and some Oriental peoples too (is that term still in vogue?). Of course, this is all on top of the original Dravidian population that all those guys interbred into. In fact, my children have a 25% chance of inheriting green eyes from me. In related news, green eyes are recessive to brown. Suck on that, American “melting pot.” I just single-handedly DESTROYED you. Not with the eyes thing. With the percentage of genetic overlap. The American population is just getting started on that whole business. Maybe in another 500 years the world will have a true “American” ethnic group, but until then it’s just a political classification.

So now, if we re-examine the whole “American melting pot” thing, we will see that it is, for the most part, fundamentally flawed. There is no such thing as “White.” There is Irish, English, Slavic, Russian, Italian, Greek, Gaelic, Germanic, etc. There is no such thing as “Asian.” There is Han Chinese, Yamato, Indian, etc. There is no such thing as “Hispanic.” There is Colombian, Mexican, Argentinean, Brazilian, etc. The terms “Latino” and “Latina” also are subject to same invalidity. The only term in the entire “melting pot” vocabulary could be said to be “Black.” This term is only valid because there has been a significant amount of ethnic mixing, both initially between the different African tribes and later with all sorts of other races present in the US, perhaps enough to differentiate the African American population from the American population. The rest of you, though, have no excuse. If you need an umbrella term, fine. But do NOT be an ass and try to brand everybody as Hispanic just because they have a Spanish accent. Do NOT try to brand everybody from the continent of Asia as Asian. Do not brand everybody who is melanin-challenged as white and assume they are European, because while the chances are high that they are European, skin color ranges for ALL ethnic groups start with white and end with black. No matter which one you’re from.

To conclude: stop trying to call me Asian. kthxbye.


Written by Sri

March 9, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Posted in Musings

Tagged with ,

4 Responses

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  1. This is sort of off topic but not. I hate when people say “you’re Jewish.” and I’ll reply that I used to be but decided to be somewhere in between atheist and agnostic but more towards the atheist side and they’ll say “But, you’re still Jewish.” Judaism isn’t an ethnicity at all. It’s a religion. End of story.


    March 9, 2009 at 4:32 PM

  2. Meh. The stereotype that my Sicilian (Cicily is an island south of Italy, thankyouverymuch) heritage gives me power to whack people with mafia powers is pretty amusing, and relatively harmless, nowadays. Because the mafia is not strong in Wayne, PA. The full scope though, my German-Sicilian heritage gets kind of ugly. People teased my sister saying she was a Nazi for being German. Really? Why…

    My German ancestors have been here since the 1600s (early ones, mind you,) while my Sicilian ones have been much much later (think great migration.) So calling me The Axis is humorous superficially, but in the end it could be offensive to sensitive, devotedly Jewish people and other non “Aryan” peoples. I also find it a little awkward and potentially insulting. I am not the living representation of the Axis. I am me. Rawr.



    March 10, 2009 at 8:28 PM

  3. It’s not supposed to be a “melting pot” anymore — apparently they want us to keep our individuality. It’s the “salad” now. WTF.

    [Sri’s note: No idea who you are, have a pretty good hunch however, whatever. Hi!]

    sister of someone u know

    March 14, 2009 at 6:11 PM

  4. Ice cream salad!


    March 14, 2009 at 9:14 PM

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