19 de mayo de 2012

I-Legal Alien: Setting things straight: I am an American. Period.

I was born in Colombia, so I am an American. «No, you are not» would US citizens say. Yes, I am, whether you like it or not.
Let me explain: On October 12th 1492, an Italian guy named Cristoforo Colombo arrived at todays Dominican Republic and discovered - by coincidence - what we call today America. America is a continent, not a country. So everybody born on American soil is an American. It doesn't matter if it is North, Central or South America. There is only one America,  just as there is only one Europe, Africa or Asia. North, Central and South are mere orientation terms and not names for separate continents. As a matter of fact, the term «The Americas» only exists in the United States.

Now, I don't know when we Americans lost the right to call ourselves Americans. Just because people born in the US do not have an own gentilicio (name of the inhabitants of a country or region etc. - yes, English doesn't even have an own word for gentilicio), it doesn't mean they can claim the continent's gentilicio as their sole property. I don't think there is any other country in the world that doesn't have a gentilicio. People born in Germany are Germans, those born in China are Chinese, those born in Mexico are Mexicans and so on. But people born in the US don't call themselves ‘Unitedstaters‘, they call themselves Americans and will tell any person born in Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia and even Canada they are not Americans. Yet in Spanish, we do have a gentilicio for them: estadounidenses. Go figure! 

Section I of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution which regulates citizenship reads: 
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Nowhere is the term 'American' to be found. Very different in the German Grundgesetz Art. 116, where the term Deutscher (German) is clearly stated.
1) Deutscher im Sinne dieses Grundgesetzes ist vorbehaltlich anderweitiger gesetzlicher Regelung, wer die deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit besitzt oder als Flüchtling oder Vertriebener deutscher Volkszugehörigkeit oder als dessen Ehegatte oder Abkömmling in dem Gebiete des Deutschen Reiches nach dem Stande vom 31. Dezember 1937 Aufnahme gefunden hat.
Same thing in the Colombian constitution - Title III, Chapter I:
ARTICULO  96.  Modificado  por  el  artículo  1  del  A.L.  1  de  2002.  Son nacionales colombianos: [...]
And not too different in the Mexican constitution:


Artículo 30 [...]

Maybe it is because the US claims to be a world power, maybe because it became common to refer to the US as America. But still, we, all those people born on the American continent are Americans. Remember it is The United States OF America and not The America OF the United States. We Americans were kind enough to allow gentlicio-free US citizens to borrow the term 'Americans' from all of us other Americans. But this doesn't give them the right - by any means -to take sole and exclusive possession of it. 

So yes, I am an American. Period! 

United States / America - Learn the difference

Disclaimer: English is not my mother language, so if you find a mistake, you may keep it!

Source: I-Legal Alien: Setting things straight: I am an American. Period....

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