Hyphen Nation

Hyphen Nation

In the reading Hyphen Nation, the author explores ethnic revival in America through the representation of American immigrants. The first example of ethnic revival used was the Civil Rights Movement. The author argues that through the Civil Rights Movement, new group identity and rights were established among many different ethnic and racial groups such as black, Jewish, German, Irish Americans, etc. However, the author makes a point to establish the differences in African American identity to that of the different “Caucasian” ethnicities in structural features of race. Another ethnic revival mentioned was the concept of ethnicity representing authority which essentially established anti-modernism. In this form of ethnic revival, community and authenticity was essential to the idea of the Immigrants ability to endure and overcome their hardships of the life of an immigrant. This also created a distinction between assimilation and pluralism. The final form of Ethnic Revival mentioned was nationalist identity in ethnic subcultures where the ways of the Old world are placed into the New world. The author argues this created the “American Folklife” ideal and where national identity fully presented itself. The author then tied in examples to support these ethnic revivals in establishing the “Americanness” identity. Such examples like the Roots phenomenon which created a demand in genealogy and ancestral heritage not just of African Americans but on an individual level to relate to one’s ethnic identity. Another was the restoration and the sanctification of Ellis Island which represented the image of the heroic immigrant as well as the symbol of the nation. The author ends with the notion that national identity of America rests on the fact that “the immigrants are the nation just as the nation is its immigrants.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *