It’s Time To End The Hyphenated American Crap
I just checked the calendar. It’s the year of our Lord 2017. Not 1500 BC.
According to a genealogy record my grandfather compiled four Egelhoff brothers migrated to the US in the 1850s to avoid being drafted into the German Army.
This is especially ironic since I’m the only member of my immediate family who actually served in America’s armed forces.
This short history lesson might lead some misinformed people to consider me a German-American. If you referred to me as such I would have to correct you.
Where You Supposedly Came From Is Not Who You Are
I mentioned the migration from Germany. I have no idea if my linage always lived in Germany. Did we crawl out of the Primordial Soup somewhere near Berlin or did my ancestors come from some other land long before realizing their dream in Germany?
Maybe they aren’t German at all. The point is — who cares?
The fact that two people did the horizontal bop several millenniums ago — in or near Germany — shouldn’t produce a hyphenation I have to wear for all time.
I’m not going to waste the money or time to travel to some foreign country to look at some dilapidated house or street and somehow feel whole that I’ve found my so called roots.
I grew up in a small Illinois town populated by people with what many would call German surnames.
Yet I don’t remember traditional German food, anyone speaking with a German accent, or any German flags or German holiday celebrations.
Other than the occasional Oktoberfest which had more to do with an excuse to get wasted than celebrating anything German.
People who lived in my small town had assimilated. They learned to read, write and speak English and left Germany in the rear view mirror.
World War II and the Nazi’s probably accelerated this behavior to some extent but I believe that American thinking at the time was to be an American. Not a hyphenated American.
But political correctness has pretty well thrown that kind of thinking under the bus. If you don’t accept a label in our current PC society then you’re in need of a serious cultural intervention.
Some Final Thoughts
I am only speaking for myself in this blog. But for me, being referred to as a German-American, would be more of a personal insult than any kind of respectful description.
If you want to labor under the weight of hyphenation please feel free. You won’t get any argument from me.
I’ll be happy to call you whatever floats your boat. Just be advised that I don’t subscribe to the same politically correct restrictions. I have enough rules in my life. I sure don't need to add one more.
Pass the bratwurst, knockwurst, and German Chocolate cake and I’ll wash it all down with a nice cold bottle of Beck’s.
But that wouldn’t make me German anymore than downing nachos and a Dos Equis would make me Mexican.
I enjoy the freedom of being one thing — An American. Or, perhaps an American-American — that would work.