Monday, October 6, 2008

Nashvillians with roots outside U.S. contemplate identity in America

Carrie Ferguson-Weir

Carrie Ferguson-Weir was born in Miami and now resides in a Nashville suburb. David Park was born in Dallas, spent a number of years in Nashville, and now lives in Atlanta.

Both have parents born outside the U.S., both maintain blogs, and both recently commented on losing or maintaining their inherited cultural identity in America.

Carrie was interviewed here on the Voices en EspaƱol podcast. Here are a few excerpts, translated from the original Spanish interview:
Even though we grew up with Cuban traditions, my parents have always told us that we are Americans first because we were born here, and there is a lot of pride in being American. But certainly we weren't supposed to "recoger gringadas" ... it was something that they told us a lot.
When I realized I was the two things [both American and Cuban], I was 11 years old.
I can be very Latina and I can be very American.
Even though it can be somewhat tiring, that is the story of our country - there is always someone navigating two cultures.
Carrie also wrote this recent post on her blog Bilingual in the Boonies. An excerpt:
It wasn't until I moved to New Jersey from Miami that I met children of other immigrants -- Italians, Russians, Japanese, and others -- whose parents didn't teach them to speak the language of their ancestors, or the very grandma who lived at home with them. That blew me away.

In Miami, among the Cubans, as you know, there used to be no choice. So, I carry that attitude forward. But, given I do know Latinos who aren't teaching their children to speak Spanish, is my attitude in the minority?
From David, who self-describes as having been disenchanted, broken, redeemed, restored, and reformed in Nashville, this post on his blog Next Gener.Asian Church:
I think I hate the fact that I sold my ethnic heritage so quickly. Unlike my Black brothers and sisters who perhaps had their freedom and identity taken from them, I’m disappointed that I gave mine away. I sold my inheritance for a bowl of soup. I’m angry that no one told me that who I am is valuable, where I came from is beautiful and proud, and that I have something to offer even before my grades come back or resume is read or my paycheck stub is necessary. And if it’s true that God created race and wants to bring the glory of the nations into heaven, I want to know that race matters and that I’m fighting a good and worthy fight so that my child will have a sense of who they are to go along with the content of their character and the color of their skin.

How great to be an American
and something else as well.

Schoolhouse Rock
"Great American Melting Pot"

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