Please STOP Using That Word!

Jessyca Frederick / Flickr American Flags...
Jessyca Frederick / Flickr

Look, we’re all Americans, right? Not only that, but we’re proud to be Americans. Hot damn, are we proud! We wear American flags on our clothes and our hats, we fly Old Glory from our porches, we stand for the national anthem, and once a year, we all take the day off, eat tube steaks, drink a lot of beer, and scream ourselves silly at exploding cardboard tubes. Patriotism and pride we got down pat.

So, if we’re all so damn proud, please explain to me how we’ve spawned a multi million annual dollar cottage industry based on having somebody look real closely at our spit just so they can tell us where we originally came from? we’re all Americans, but that doesn’t stop us form wanting to know more about our original ethnicity. For the simple reason that unless your ancestors used bows and arrows, none of us came from here!

And as proud as we are of being Americans, we’re just as proud of our ethnic ancestry. And we show it in the most obvious way possible. We’re Polish-Americans, and Jewish-Americans, and African-Americans, and Irish-Americans. We’re so proud of our ancestral ethnicity that we put it right up there in front of our adoptive ancestry.

Which is exactly why we simply must stop using the destructive term The Homeland to describe the United States of America. None of us are originally from here! And we freely admit it by our use of a co-ethnicity description of ourselves.

George Washington never called the US the homeland. Neither did Abraham Lincoln. Nor did FDR or Eisenhower during World War Two. During the Cuban missile crisis, it was the US mainland that was threatened, not the friggin’ homeland! 

The very word “homeland” is itself dangerous, simply because it is exclusionary by nature. The word homeland is possessive, as in “Hey! This is my homeland, so get the fuck out, you filthy foreigner!” As far as I can tell, the word homeland is a post 9/11 product of the Bush administration, a cheap gimmick to try to bind us together, as if that were necessary in the days following 9/11. In the last 15 years, the word “homeland” has become the most common catch phrase word for describing the United States, and is it any wonder that for those 15 years, racial religious, and ethnic hate crimes have been on the rise?

The word homeland is music to the ears of a neo-Nazi, immediately evoking images of the ethnically pure and mighty “Fatherland” of Nazi Germany. What a recruitment boon for our own government to make such common use of a phrase that can be easily correlated to a much more sinister word from a dark time long past. But the word especially seems to send thrills down the spines of all of the Casper The Ghost wannabees in their K-Mart bed sheets out there. Which is insane. The white supremacists like to define the United States culturally as a :European white, Christian” country. The simple fact that they proudly point to their European ancestry in claiming exclusive ownership of American heritage just goes to show that apparently they don’t teach “Irony 101” at Racist U.

So, it is far past time to wipe the word homeland from our national discourse when referring to ourselves. We are too wide and diverse a people, with too much pride in both our American, as well as our ancestral heritage, to refer to ourselves in such an elitist, racist, exclusionary fashion. Those of you who read me regularly know that I strive to never use that word, except in quotations from someone else’s words. I can only hope that more people follow suit, and we can once again isolate its use only for those to whom it has a twisted and pathetic meaning.

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