The Real Americans
What makes someone an American?
Is it their race?
The languages they speak?
Is it where they were born?
Their parents’ nation of origin?
I asked my classes:
Japanese grade-schoolers told me that someone is neither foreign nor Japanese based on any of these factors.
They tied it to two factors:
The amount of work they do.
What they contribute to the greater community as a whole.
American high school students were a little less sure.
But once again, they came back to the idea of work and community.
They said that our government was wrong
That we should set the same standards for those who are born here and abroad and strip citizenship from native 18 year old who do not work for the betterment of the community.
What do you think? Please jot down your own criteria for nationality before reading on.
What is the price for archaic notions of “nationality”?
I have a home. I have people I respect and adore. I have a community I love so much, I would give my life a thousand times to improve it in some small, permanent way.
In the very same way I treat anyone or anything I love, I don’t lie to my country. I appraise lovingly and honestly. If my country is sick and has lost its way on some small, but critical issues, I do not put on a fake smile and lie, “No honey! You are the best country in the world and never have to change for anyone!” I love my country’s glorious futures far too much to be blind to the dark sections of its past and present.
Am I an American? I hope so. But the same as in any community, such decisions are not only for the individual to make.
There is a strong current that dominates American society that puts guards above fences in towers to shoot down at Americans like me.
Manzanar. El Paso. Angel Island.
Who is more American? Those shooting or those lying bloody dying in their ultimate expression of their belief in the America of their imaginations and realities?
The way we pass laws speaks volumes
About the level of respect we have for the ?Americans?
Who work themselves to death for the greater wealth of this country
That doesn’t accept them as equal to someone who performed the extraordinary feat of emerging from the womb in the proper location at the proper time.
And then ashamed, we sweep their bodies aside and wave our flags a bit harder and pretend that we believe and support the American dream
Turning only to ensure that our systems of privilege are still intact.
But once in a while, in a moment of candor, a couple of the Real Americans truly speak their minds and unwittingly display the true colors and motivations that inform how our government determines “American ness”:
Place of Birth.
Below is a partial transcript of the Jersey Guys Radio show on April 25, 2005
Craig Carton and Ray Rossi
New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio
PO Box 5698
Trenton, NJ 08638
Craig Carton: “Would you really vote for someone named Jun Choi [said in fast-paced, high-pitched, squeaky voice]?”
Craig Carton: I’m using Jun Choi [said in fast-paced, high-pitched, squeaky voice] as an example of a larger problem.
Ray Rossi: and you know…
Carton: We’re forgetting the fact that we’re Americans.
Rossi : You know that he’s going to get the… whatever that vote is
Carton : And here’s the bottom line... no specific minority group or foreign group
should ever ever dictate the outcome of an American election. I don’t care if the Chinese population in Edison has quadrupled in the last year, Chinese should never
dictate the outcome of an election, Americans should.
Rossi: Americans should, exactly
Craig : And it’s offensive to me… not that I have anything against uh Asians…I really
don’t… i don’t like the fact that they crowd the goddamn black jack tables in Atlantic City with their little chain smoking and little pocket protectors..
Rossi: Now now now..that’s an issue with me..
Carton: I’m just saying, now that’s all Asians, not just Koreans…you know… you got
Pai-Gaw poker playing.
Carton: My point is on a much larger stand..
Rossi: I understand… but you see you had to put that out there…
Carton: We’re bending over backwards to cater to fringe groups of people and I don’t
Rossi: As long as we understand where you’re coming from… with the, uh poker table
Carton: Well go to AC for one week and try and get a table… ‘ching chong, ching chong, ching chong [Mimics Chinese accent..] hehe you hit it on 17 you stupid b*tch…
the dealer’s got a 5..im holding an 18…what’re you hitting for… you know? They do it all day and night…they got their little beady pocketbooks with the little beads on it… they take out wads of 100s… ching chong ching chong [accent] they don’t know how to play the game… eh, honey i got a 13 and I’m playing against a 6…
Rossi: Hehe, their money is green too! [Laughter]
Carton: There should be like Asian-only rooms in casinos… but just to be fair, I have nothing against them…
Rossi: No, of course not [laughter]
Carton: Very good people… very nice people...
Carton: Asian Americans factoring in the Edison race, Korean native and mayor both court the growing segment… uh I’ve said it about the Arabs about 4 months ago, I’ve said it about uh… you name a group that’s suddenly important in politics, other than Americans as a whole and I got a problem with it… I’m not nitpicking any one specific group... I don’t like… like when Corzine came out and said…I’m counting on the Arab community to get me elected… right then and there you lost my vote!
Rossi: Well, but… you see what it is…
Carton: He was over at the Nordic lodge of Rhode Island… cuz I go to this place where its like 60 bucks for all you can eat… and I thought he was lying to me
Caller: Good, how are you guys?
Carton: Doing good, babe.
Caller: It’s government for the people of the people and by the people and as long as you guys became American citizens and now have the right to vote, why not have them vote for someone who they feel comfortable with and will take care of their issues…
Carton: Well… I’m glad you called with that… god-forsaken disgusting liberal viewpoint, uh mickey…
Caller: I’m not a liberal at all… it’s by the constitution of New Jersey…
Carton: Well, you are a liberal by definition… by definition you are a liberal….if they’re here legally and they’re Americans, I think they ought to vote for… [mocking falsetto voice] no no no…that’s liberal by definition… so let me explain to you what the
problem is with it mickey so you can be a little bit brighter at the dinner table tonight, ok?
Carton: They are Americans, they have every right to vote. I will never deny them that, you know my grandparents came over here, they wound up with the right to vote and they’re very proud of it… same with Ray’s and most of our listeners’… they also have
the right to run once they become Americans, and I don’t begrudge them that either, my problem is this: when we start focusing our campaigns on the minority of people and not the majority of people, I find that to be problematic… anybody running for office, whether it’s the Mayor of Edison or the Governor of New jersey, the focus should be what’s good for the breadth of people, what’s good for everybody, and its obnoxious to
me, although I understand it’s a business, and its how you can get elected, if you say out loud, well if I can simply get the Asian vote I can win the election..
Rossi: Now that’s what it is…
Carton: And that’s what problematic to me… much as like we give DMV exams in Spanish, and French, and in Swahili, we’re getting away from what our core is and that is America..
Rossi: Which is true…
Carton: And I’m troubled by it… and I don’t wanna hear a candidate, whether they’re Chinese, or white, or black, saying oh if I can only get the Chinese vote I can win…
well what about me? I’m… see… I’m the average guy, that’s why we’re successful, Ray and I represent the average guy in NJ, blue collar white people…
Rossi: There you go.
Carton: And no one gives a damn about us anymore…
Rossi: That’s right.
Carton: And if we cry about it… you know what’s brought up? Slavery... or if we cry about it… well you know, ching chong, ching chong [Mimics Chinese accent] you
bombed us [Chinese accent] you know? The fact is, I don’t care if whites are a minority, it doesn’t matter to me, there’s no voice of the average blue collar white guy anymore, cuz all these politicians are worried about the fringe groups.
Rossi: Well that’s the thing…
Carton: God forbid you offend an Asian, really! And I hate it… god forbid that a politician was out here and offends Asians, or blacks, or old people… but at the end of the day, I’m the guy that’s gonna get them elected…
Rossi: There you go.
Carton: And they don’t give a damn about me!
Carton: Well the second Thursday in May they will… cuz Ray and I are hosting the only in-state debate amongst at least the Republican candidates…
Rossi: That’s right
Carton: Almost all of them confirmed, is that right , C-dog?
C-Dog: That’s right.
Carton: It’ll be myself, Ray Rossi and Bob Ingle of the Gannet newspaper chain and every guy running for uh... governor on the Republican side will be here in studio
because you know… we care! And were not gonna let these guys cater to minority groups simply cuz it makes them look good.
Carton: You have to cater to me, b*tches.
Rossi: Hmmm, that’s it.
Carton: I’m the rain maker.
Rossi: Look at that, the rainmaker
Carton: Well, that’s a little cocky though
Rossi: Well, no, that’s a tad on the cocky tip but that’s alright, that’s okay.
Carton: It’s May 12th by the way, 4pm… If you’re running for governor, you’re invited but you have to go through C-dog cuz I don’t know want weedman showing up… ‘No, you guys said I was invited, I’m running… Typical keeping it brother… No he’ll wanna ask some of the questions… [Mimics voice]
Rossi: Right [Laughter]
Carton: All right… here’s Sharon in Edison NJ on 101.5. How you doin’ Sharon?
Caller: Hi, I love you
Carton: Thank you.
Caller: You just said it all, the last couple of … callers, I guess they don’t know that they live in America and we’re being overrun. I had just moved out of Edison because of what has happened in the past 10 years… Orientals are all along, the whole complete route 27. And Indians have taken over Edison in north and all over.
Carton: Damn Orientals and Indians.
Caller: I..i moved out..36 years I’ve lived in Edison
Carton: And what was the biggest problem you had with the Orientals and the Indians ?
Caller: I can’t handle them! There’s no American people anymore.
Caller: There shoving us the hell out!
Carton: It’s like you’re a foreigner in your own country isn’t it?
Caller: You go to own store and you can’t even see American people, you don’t see our own kids, American kids, working in stores anymore…
Carton: Like the next time you see an American, you think you’ll probably hug him or high five him or something?
Caller: Oh, that’s why where I moved too, that’s all I have, thank god for now anyways.
Carton: Yeah I’m with you… Sharon, we’re just the voice of the people, and I appreciate your call.
Caller: Keep up the good work.
Carton: All right, you got it baby… I think the quote was damn ‘Orientals and Indians.’
[Child rendition of American anthem on and fades into background]
Carton: That’s right baby, who wrote this, a white guy did!
Carton: By the way, did you see the girl singing the national anthem in the Canadian/US hockey game over the weekend?
Carton: Listen I love my country, I’ll never make any excuses for that… and I think the majority should be catered to, not the minority
That’s how I feel…
[“America, The Beautiful” song on and fades into background]
Carton: Alright, in Edison, this is just another example of us losing our own country…the uh… Asian American candidate “Jun Choi” [said in fast-paced, highpitched,
squeaky voice] and uh… he’s capitalizing on the rapid growth of the Asian community in Edison, but so is his uh… I guess so is his competitor…
Rossi: Well, his competitor is doing the same thing.
Carton: Spadoro says “ I’ve got the Asians on lockdown.”
Rossi: Right exactly
Carton: Now if I was an Asian I guess I don’t know I’d vote for the Asian. Well I mean haven’t you done that before?
Rossi: Who knows my needs better than…
Carton: Haven’t you?
Rossi: Yeah, I used to vote for the Italian…
Carton: You know what?
Carton: Yeah, thinking that his corrupt ways would benefit me in the long way run.
Rossi: So did I, when I didn’t know what the hell they stood for I just say (phh) go Italian.
Carton: Look how good that did us. Look at the hole we’re in now. Nice move jack ass. thanks.
Rossi: Well what do you want me to tell ya, I tried.
Carton: You da one responsible for Florio