Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Jewish American Identity
I have chosen to discuss Jewish Americans, and have located the AJC website, which is the Global Jewish Advocacy. Although called 'global', it was founded by Jewish Americans. They are dedicated to helping support Jews worldwide, which suggests that their identity as Jewish is more important than their identity as Americans. They don't seem to draw geological boundaries. Yet, on their page on Immigration Reform, they talk about how America is kept strong by supporting the right of immigrants. This shows that they have considered their identity as Americans. However, it is a view that might be thought un-American by others. For an example of this, the Americans Against Illegal Immigration Facebook page has a lot of overtly patriotic quotes, images and videos, showing that the American identity is bound up with not accepting people they consider to be outsiders.

There seems to be a constant struggle to reconcile hanging onto one's cultural past and also having an American identity. AJC executive director speaks of a "pluralistic yet socially cohesive America", which gives a view of America as lots of fractured identities trying to work together as a whole. This suggests that there is no one identity of 'American', but that each individual must construct their own identity out of many factors.

I found what the woman they are interviewing said about identity to be particularly interesting. She is against 'hyphenated America' in that she doesn't see why she should have to choose one particular identity out of the several that she has.She also refers to the place that she grew up in as being a "melting pot". She has embraced all of her possible identities, although whether she has allowed them to be subsumed under the one identity of 'American' is unclear. That is what the 'melting pot' would be all about, that nothing matters except being an American, but the fact that she is proud of her mixed heritage suggests that people still want to hang onto their individual identity beyond just being labelled as an American.


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