This reflection is the result of a debate aroused by a publication that I made on my page called CrAy (Chronicle of the Renaissance of Ayiti) about the American Dream, in the eyes of an immigrant like me , a trained Ayitian, who abandoned his original family as well as his professional career and his Ayiti that he cherishes so much, in order to live “the American Dream”. So let's start from the logic that the more we are made to ruminate on something, the more we tend to believe in it, until we make it our reality. This is exactly what happened in the case of the American continent, of which only one country has decided to take control of the name, without anyone else having the right to dispute to thus claim the filiality, if it is not natural or legitimate, at least by adoption. The denomination or appropriation of the name of an entire continent to a single country is therefore a fraud, carried on the baptismal font, of the most scandalous.
Thus, the epithet of American is therefore perceived as being the de jure inheritance of a country of the subcontinent of North America, the United States of America, as well known, and which proudly appropriates it, against and against all division and all controversy. To have a clear conscience, we speak hypocritically and ironically about two other sub-continents in the same region as well, namely: Latin America and Central America. Paradoxically, however, this does not authorize any other state on the continent to bear the name. Indeed, it goes without saying and this can be easily understood, from the very origin of the name carried by the continent, coming from Américo Vespucio, a Florentine merchant, explorer and cosmographer, naturalized Castilian in 1505, who participated in the at least two exploratory trips to the New World, the current American continent, so named in his honor. By this abominable and discriminatory act, the South Americans are not Americans strictly speaking, but rather Latinos (Latins). Central Americans, Caribbean or West Indian, much less the rest of North Americans in Canada and Mexico, will not call themselves Americans either. These two countries are considered, respectively, to be an extension of Great Britain in the same subcontinent, while Mexico is attached to the rest of Latin America.
Have we ever stopped for a second for ourselves ask why this arbitrary appropriation and deprivation? Think about it! If by chance you are still interested in going deeper into the subject, there is therefore no harm in continuing to pour out even an ocean of ink, in order to consolidate our convictions, from the shock of our reflections. . In my humble opinion, I think it's too late for any state other than the United States at this time to want to claim its Americanity. Without folklorism or demagogy, it must be recognized that despite the fact that it is one and the same land, the American continent is not a single and indivisible territory, with an identity of its own, a same ascending motherhood. , the same idiosyncrasy, the same vision of the world, the same conception, the same linguistic expression, the same ethnicity, the same behavior, the same traditions, the same attitudes, the same inspirations and aspirations, the same political and economic systems , the same tastes, the same culture, the same belief and, of course, one and the same religion, etc., although all united by the horrors of the same colonial past, in the vast majority of cases, and whose wounds have never really healed.
I am sure to agree with those who pretend to claim their Americanity, it is their most complete right. However, the controversy, the inconsistency and even the irony lie in the fact that they have no faith, no law, nor the slightest inclination, much less the conviction to support, in the rules of art, such a posture. , even when it would be most legitimate. It is therefore a safe bet that those who say they are American, deep in their subconscious, know full well that they are only by the law of the ground … In truth, it is an identity beyond all singularity without any sense of belonging or collective adhesion, which has never taken the trouble to build itself and which, paradoxically, we would like to claim. It is therefore the same scenario, even for countries which have a certain historical affinity of climate, flora and fauna, development indices, natural resources and, no offense, from a geopolitical point of view. , social and economic, so much so that their ethnicity turns out to be the most diverse and varied. The truth is that even in the narrowest sense of the denomination, it is extremely difficult to succeed in defining, with consistency and unanimity, an American identity, even regional, or on the scale of the American nation itself, without there being any divergence and / or controversy. So, wouldn't it be appropriate to ask: What is American culture?
Talking about American culture, even in the strict sense of American territory, is not easy. What is American culture, what does it inspire and what does it project? What makes it up? What characterizes his daily life, one might ask? After about six years of emigration to the United States, my personal experience is that there hardly exists a framework of categorization of the people which one calls: “American”, by abuse of language and hegemonic obsessions, without objection or collective rejection. From coastal areas, passing through the center, to end in the peripheries of the country, the dichotomy tends to be marked with worrying accuracy. Indeed, the United States is the land of controversy and, of course, of unity in diversity. A sort of cultural and ethnic kaleidoscope, in constant evolution, woven from a migratory flow giving a particular flavor to its very different history, from one end of the country to the other. Above all, let us always remember the origins of this unique country, like all the others. On the one hand, the country's migratory origins. We all know the story of the “religious” colonists – here we could speak of colonization of religious conviction – in search of exile, because of their desire to exercise their faith in complete freedom and away from British intolerance. Along these lines, it is a country founded on the ideals of freedom, justice and well-being. Hence the famous concept of American Dream which they continue to sell, to their hearts content, to the rest of the world. However, my questions are: are the “Americans” the only people in America who have passionately and irreversibly cared about their freedom and well-being? What people would not have liked to have leaders who do everything to ensure the well-being of their people? And finally, is it the American countries that must adopt “American culture” to be considered Americans? Or at least, this Americanism or Americanity of which we speak, must it be the result of a long process of this catalytic art and of crystallization of the lived experience, the idiosyncrasy, the traditions, the culture and the habits and customs of region?
These are all questions to which we do not always answer unanimously. However, one thing is certain, is that this imbalance and / or imbalance of the equation of the American states continues and persists depending on constants and variables of benchmarks, cultural, behavioral and character factors, among others. Of course, most of us are bathed in the same waters of categorization and differentiation of cultural and ethnic identity, regardless of the habits and customs of the different groupings, by criteria of rapprochement, resemblance, distance and dissimilarity. It's the same, and even more complicated, even for those who claim to be from North America including the United States, Canada, Mexico, for the same reasons. These are three different ethnic and cultural strains that are strangely united by three different Roman languages: English, Spanish and French. We can easily compare them, as in mathematics, to three distinct sets, with the common denominator, the earth. Mexico, apart from the components and / or heritages of the Spanish colonization, is the only one to be an indigenous state which, later, will share a little with the United States, the Spanish. And, along with the United States and Canada, despite their similarities, these three countries see themselves as separate entities, each carrying behind them their own set of cultural identity.
La The reality is that the idea of a united America has never been unanimous in the ethnic and cultural mosaic of the peoples who share the continent. This means that it is not just the United States to oppose it and, consequently, to impose itself. It would take centuries of history to forge a common identity. However, only God knows at what cost! The legacy of colonization means that, besides the United States, no country in the region has ever claimed to belong to this chimerical American identity. Does this have anything to do with the segregationist and genocidal history of the continent of which the United States, more than ever, is the symbol? Historical facts can speak for themselves. Whether they are the other two states of North America, those of Latin America, Central America or the Caribbean, they do not consider themselves American, simply because of their geographical location. They say they are Americans, the descendants of Europeans in America, mostly English and Irish, initially, who subsequently opened up more widely to the immigration of peoples of all latitudes, all attitudes and all what habits including: Jews, Germans, Italians, Latinos in high percentage and indigenous and black in very small quantities (economic necessity requires). Thus, rightly or wrongly, the United States, in this precise case, the “Americans” embody the unforgettable memory of an era of terror, making them, even today, a executioner on a geopolitical scale. who punishes, at the slightest disobedience not going in the direction of his hegemonic interests. Who does not remember the Big Stick Doctrine, the very embodiment of imperialist foreign policy, led by President Theodore Roosevelt at the beginning of the 20th century, and which aimed to make the United States assume a place of true international police by the imposition of its laws on the rest of the States of the Americas, and Latin America in particular. The primary purpose of this predatory doctrine is to secure the economic interests of the United States in the Americas it deems to be its own. This has fostered exponential growth in the United States, not only economically but also at the level of the new world superpower. In the event of diplomatic failure of economic persuasion, recourse to military reprisals is therefore considered. So America was sometimes seen as the backyard or private property of the United States of America. This unbridled desire for power and glory was crystallized as follows: “America to the 'Americans' …”
Now that we have shed light on the real problem, I therefore hope that we are able to understand why no other country in the Americas has ever claimed its genuine Americanism. If anyone has a contrary opinion, it will be a war of arguments, some more convincing and plausible than the others, to prove his thesis or his hypothesis. As proof, I will conclude with the following excerpt from an article on Wikipedia. “Americans, or the American people, are the inhabitants and citizens of the United States. The country is marked by great ethnic diversity due to the fact that it has been built mainly and mainly on immigration. Therefore, Americans are a nation in the civic sense of the word, not in the ethnic sense. End of quote.
Thus, I am one of those who believe that the act of appropriation by the United States of the American label for themselves and by themselves, is only a matter of cynicism without civility. and imposture without the slightest posture and that, unfortunately, if no state other than the North American giant has ever had the courage or the decency to claim it, this testifies to the inexistence of a historical identity and common territorial and, to a certain extent, cultural, character and behavioral. On the basis of all these considerations, would it not be appropriate to conclude, as we have introduced it, by returning to square one and asking ourselves: Is it a mistake not to identify as Americans, all the inhabitants of the American continent? The answer is both yes and no, because of all of the arguments just mentioned, one way or another. Indeed, one can consider that the geographical positioning must, in any case, prevail over the factors of development of the characteristic features of the American culture, at the expense of this common project of behavior aiming at the scrupulous application of the law of metonymy, that is to say: taking the whole for the part and the part for the whole. So we can all be Americans or not.
Jean Camille Étienne, (Kmi-Lingus)
Arch. Msc. in Environmental Policy and Management