A Different Kind of Blog

news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

National identity

Posted by horsservice on January 4, 2010

National identity

« You ask me what does it take to be french? It will take me 5 seconds to answer. To be french is to have the french nationality. »

Jean-François Copé, french Chief of the House Of Representatives (right wing – centered)

« There are two categories of french. Those who think that there are two categories of french, and the others. »

De Gaulle.

In France there is at the moment a great debate about National Identity. We have colonised, received arab, african, asiatic and european immigrants from all countries, gone through a few revolutions, been under the law of religious and non-religious extremists, dictators, and today the french government is asking the question: What does it take to be french? Who are the french people ?


A website has been opened, and some very vigorous debate is going on in the whole french society, heated by the recent « Swiss minarets » stuff, the debate over the right to wear a burqa (a full islamic veil) or not, various antisemitic as well as anti-french (well, white french) acts, and an old debate about affirmative action.

Further information: in France, it’s forbidden to take statistics based on ethnic or racial origin. Affirmative action or any discrimination of any sort is forbidden, but there is a racist background. Religions are traditionally non-proselyte. Left and Right-wing extremists are quite strong. France was traditionally born around the 7th century.

So I wondered: what does it take to be american? What defines americanship? When you get right down to it, why do you feel particurlary american? Is it a place where you are born? Is it a state of mind? As a nation built by immigrants and based on the extermination of the previous inhabitants (i’m not making a judgement: it’s a fact. France was also built on various ethnic and religious slaughters). What would your criteria(s) be for someone to be considered american?


15 Responses to “National identity”

  1. dorian said

    good question. for me it’s more than nationality. being american is believing in your heart that there must be liberty, human rights and justice for all in our country, regardless of who you are. the man who wrote this, for me, defines a good american.
    on the lighter side, a liking for apple pie, baseball, and disneyland, that’s american too!

    where’s the american princessxxx? i’d like to see her comment on this!
    and every other american here!


  2. Enkill_Eridos said

    Being an American is believing in certain ideals. We die for these ideals, we breathe these ideal. It is an ideal very ground into us. To be an American is the willingness to die for this ideals. True I am talking about patriots but I am sure your National Identity would call for you to take arms against another outside force invadement. It’s the same principle. Any American is willing to die to be free to speak, think, and practice whatever religion they wished. No matter how outlandish it is, they are free to do so. Free to take up arms and defend our own land and country. As absurd as it sounds, Being an American is a state of mind.


  3. Hors Service said

    And those who believe than muslims, for example, have no right to be american? Or those who thought that america would have been better if it was a fascist state?
    Are those people not american?
    I particurlarly think of those that murdered black people in the old days.

    If I ask this question, it’s because unlike the USA, France has had several regimen. Some french still believe that a King would protect better the interest of the Nation.

    The people that are against freedom of speech, while perfectly granted the right to think so, are these people american?

    Isn’t being american more than not being anything else, and giving one’s life just for to not be anything else?


  4. An important distinction about being American is that it’s not really about majority rule; it is more about protecting minorities FROM majority rule.

    On a slightly related topic, I believe that the servicemen and women who died for our freedom died to protect the right of those who would burn the flag that represents America. The map is a symbol of our freedom, and if a citizen wants to burn it in protest of some governmental policy or action that should be protected and allowed, if not exactly encouraged (because obviously it really does upset some people). By making it illegal to burn the flag in protest, that is actually taking away what the flag stands for!


  5. 1minionsopinion said

    It can’t really be majority rule when the majority of people don’t actually vote. What really decides is a majority of a minority of people who give a damn. Canada has trouble getting people to care enough about voting. But we also have 5 weeks of campaign, not a year and a half…


  6. princessxxx said

    i am a citizen of the world.


  7. princessxxx said

    and welcome back hors.

    let me share this. xmas eve i took my aunt who is 83 out to dinner with her lady friends from church. i was the only male there and the only person under 80.

    so, one of the old ladies asked me what i got for xmas and i said, “this morning the senate passed the health care bill”

    and the old lady said, loud and proud as could be, “I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD LIVE TO SEE THE DAY THAT A NIGGER WAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.”

    then the old lady went on to tell me that obama killed his own grandmother.

    i couldn’t believe it. normally i would have gotten into an argument, but this lady was pushing 90 and it was xmas. so i just shut up and cruised the cute brazilian busboy.

    i guess my point is, i don’t live in america, i live in florida, stupid redneck capital of the world.


  8. dorian said

    some folks in texas would rather be texans, not americans.
    they have their own flag and are writing their own constitution. i’d like to ask one of those people to post their comment here.

    funny story with the church lady, P. she was honest, at least.


  9. Hors Service said

    Burning the flag is forbidden in america? How interesting. But I think there’s such better way to show disagreement to a policy than burn the flag of the country which promote it…
    It’s the caracteristic of democraties to allow people speaking against democracy. Or tolerate idiots, like princessxxx’s lady friends;) I also find racism very interesting. Something I’ve never got the grip on.

    But as I’ve said, is being democratic american? Are anti-democratic non-americans?

    I used to consider myself citizen of the world, like you princess, but since I’ve found that I had little in common with chinese, for example. Of course, we have a lot to share, but I don’t feel at home with their culture.
    I feel rather european. More than french. Some of us don’t feel european.


  10. Enkill_Eridos said

    The true Americans, they belong to any religion have any color of skin and ethnicity. They have political opinions and voice them. They come here to be Americans because it is a place that is supposed to embrace these ideals. And honestly they do, to those people it is as perfect of a system a people can make. I mean as a whole the differences of opinion and the courage to stand by it. An American does not have to be born in America to share in our National Identity. Sometimes the immigrants embrace it more fully than the actual citizens. Our National Identity is a collection of human beings that want to have the Freedom of Speech, the Freedom of Religion and not to be persecuted because of it, the Freedom to carry a firearm, the Freedom not to, the Freedom to speak out against our government with no fear of retaliation. We are a unique nation with a unique National Identity. Our National Identity can be shared.

    Bring me your sick, your tired, your weary, and your poor.

    National Identity for Americans is much different than any other nation. As a nation in social thought, we are like a 20 year old turning 30. We went through the turning points France did long ago. As a nation we are young and our cultures show this.


  11. No it is not illegal to burn the flag in protest in America. However, a few years back there was serious talk of amending the Constitution to make it so. That would have been such bullshit, completely missing the point of what the flag represents, mistaking the map for the territory, etc.

    The guys who wrote and voted on the Constitution of the United States crafted one of the most ingenious schemes of government yet devised by humans. It aims for lofty ideals, yet recognizes human nature too.


  12. About the youth of our country, I once heard an interesting comparison of perspective in the United States compared to England. In the US, 100 miles is not a great distance but 100 years is a long time. In England, vice versa!


  13. I am one with the universe, not just with this planet and not just with the human species.


  14. Princessxxx said

    well, one good thing you can say about america.
    i can hop in my car and drive across the country
    and move from redneck florida
    to northern california
    and swap dinners with racist christians
    for bigfoot research with hippies
    and homegrown weed.

    flying spaghetti monster bless america


  15. Beverly Raunchpuppy said

    America, enjoy it while it lasts.


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