We call ourselves Americans. The term becomes problematic once you leave the confines of the nifty-fifty. It certainly has for us. We are proud to be from the United States. The problem with what we call ourselves here has more to do with nomenclature than love of country. America is a name shared by two continents. Nine-hundred million people live in the Americas. Only people from the United States call themselves Americans. The other Americans (Chileans, Mexicans, Brazilians) forgive us this curious bit of narcissism because we Americans are generally an engaging and friendly people. Also, because we share our heavy-metal, Coca-Cola, and Hannah Montana with the rest of the Americas.
I've been thinking about this sort of thing because our son is going to be born any day now. He'll be a citizen of Honduras. Karine and I are technically resident aliens. He’ll also be a citizen of the United States. This, I guess, makes him a Honduran-American or an American-Honduran. But those terms don’t really make sense outside of the United States. Here, all Hondurans are American, because Honduras is part of America.
Or is Honduran-American a classification of race rather than nationality? Is he in fact a Polish-Irish-French-English-Swedish-Norwegian Honduran-American? It’s enough to make your head spin. Well, to his parents I guess he will just be Bonsai Tree. Or Thelonious. Or Trike Obama.