America’s ‘identity’ blind spot – The American experience leaves the United States and its citizens unprepared to confront the global rise of ethnic nationalism and secessionism.

America’s ‘identity’ blind spot

The American experience leaves the United States and its citizens unprepared to confront the global rise of ethnic nationalism and secessionism.
Gregory Rodriguez
September 1, 2008

As a nation and as individuals, we tend to view the world through the prism of our own experiences. Over the last few weeks, Russians, Georgians, Abkhazians and South Ossetians have reminded us that ethnic nationalism and secessionism are on the rise around the globe. I worry that the American experience leaves the United States and its citizens unprepared to confront it.

Not long ago, I had dinner with a conservative media figure who seemed perplexed that I’m a student of “identity.” “What made you do that?” he asked. “I think the world would be better without it.”

I tried to explain that it wasn’t something I was either for or against but that exists and needs to be understood. And just because one may not want to “believe” in identities — ethnic groups and ethno-religious groups — that doesn’t mean that they somehow disappear from the world. Absurd as it sounds, we have a collective blind spot on the topic. And our refusal to take the issue of ethnic and ethno-religious identity seriously has helped to undermine our foreign policy initiatives.

Just look at Iraq. The Bush administration — and all the “experts,” both Americans and exiled Iraqis, who guided its policy — made a fundamental error by relying on the assumption that Iraqis were nonsectarian nationalists, more concerned with preserving a nationalism that had been imposed on them by Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party than with the position and fate of their own tribes and mullahs. As plenty of critics have observed, even the faintest acknowledgment of the social cleavages on the ground could have helped the U.S. war effort.

Here in the U.S., we’ve reduced ethnicity to either an occasion for celebration or petty grievance. (As I write this, I received an e-mail from a Korean American civil rights group vociferously “condemning” the Ladies Professional Golf Assn.’s “xenophobic” and “aggressively threatening” decision to require all of its international golfers to speak proficient English.) For all our internecine battles and problems, ethnicity is not so much something to be fought over as something to be managed.

We pride ourselves on a successful history of incorporating immigrants and assume that other nations should or can do the same. Sure, we have our militias, white Christian identity movements, campus-based race warriors, ethnic and racial street gangs, but these groups generally exist on the margins and don’t play a significant role in national politics in the way that the “Basque question” does in Spain or the Kurdish, Tamil, Igbo, Palestinian, Kosovar or South Ossetian questions do elsewhere.

Our elites are so steeped in the melting-pot idea that they don’t even recognize that they see the world through the bias of the majority. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard an educated Anglo American disparaging “ethnic” — read Jewish, Cuban or Armenian — influence on U.S. foreign policy without acknowledging the implicit “ethnic” worldview of the Groton and Yale WASPS who ran U.S. foreign policy for so long. Americans who feel they’ve transcended group membership have a hard time understanding the power of blood, culture and belonging.

The same, of course, goes for elite attitudes toward religious identification. Pioneering sociologists half a century ago patently assumed that broad-scale socioeconomic mobility would undermine Americans’ attachment to religion. So for decades, mainstream academics largely ignored the subject. But not only has religion not disappeared in America, it has flourished throughout the world.

Still, although race has been our national Achilles’ heel (and even there a major political party just nominated an African American for president), the U.S. has by and large been successful at negotiating the divisions of religion and ethnicity. But perhaps we are the victims of our own success.

For too long, the march of modernity around the globe, and our own sense of great power hubris, led us to believe that the world would only become more like us over time. But the events of the last decade should convince us that this is clearly not the case. If for no other reason than to understand emerging threats, Americans will have to stop pretending that for most people around the globe, identity is something not just to celebrate — once a year, at a street fair or during fill-in-the-blank history month — but to die for.

This past spring, Catholic University of America historian Jerry Muller argued in an article in Foreign Affairs that ethno-nationalism “will continue to shape the world in the 21st century.” If he is right, and recent news bears him out, then it’s high time that we take the discussion of ethnic identity out of the realm of civic propaganda and marginalized academic programs and place at it at the center of our debates, our study and our understanding of the world.

98 thoughts on “America’s ‘identity’ blind spot – The American experience leaves the United States and its citizens unprepared to confront the global rise of ethnic nationalism and secessionism.

  1. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I came across this in my search for something
    concerning this.

  2. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have learn this publish and if I may I desire to recommend you few fascinating things or advice. Maybe you could write subsequent articles regarding this article. I wish to learn even more issues about it!

  3. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as
    long as I provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My blog site is in the very same niche as
    yours and my visitors would certainly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.

    Please let me know if this okay with you.
    Thanks a lot!

  4. You have made some really good points there. I looked on the internet to find out more
    about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

  5. Have you ever thought about creating an ebook or guest
    authoring on other blogs? I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and would love
    to have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would appreciate your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send
    me an email.

  6. Answer the inquiries being questioned and post other details like mail
    account, complete name as well as your plan inclination. A motor
    insurance has this peril well covered with benefits that help you bear the cost of repairing and getting your car back on the road.

    Moreover, a comprehensive plan turns out to be an affordable deal rather than an additional financial burden.

  7. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails
    with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?

  8. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else
    experiencing issues with your website. It seems like some of the
    text within your content are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening
    to them as well? This could be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen before. Appreciate it

  9. Bar Refaeli tweeted an old photo of her and her mom Thursday and
    it’s pretty clear where she got her good looks. The cute snapshot shows the Israeli supermodel and her ma, Tzipi Levine, looking stunning while sporting matching bangs.

  10. Helpful information. Lucky me I discovered your
    website unintentionally, and I’m surprised why this twist of fate did not came about in advance! I bookmarked it.

  11. The old America of upper class Wasps is long gone. Today’s America is a disgusting placed. A consumerist fantasy filled with evil and deranged individuals who don’t even know the definition of their own constitution. I hope it perishes in the flames.

  12. It is widespread thing to encounter some sorts of illnesses
    within our life, but the factor is it really is uncommon to meet the
    proper treatment as soon as. Andrews allegedly sold apartments of for a non-existent Turkish Mediterranean resort in partnership with his brother Nigel and sister-in-law Margaret.
    Located within blocks of the train station where the Tren a las
    Nubes departs, this stretch of 7 or 8 blocks began 100
    years ago as the cultural centre of the city, unfortunately falling into
    disrepair over the years, then only to be rescued 10 years ago by the city’s current mayor. If the other driver makes any admissions of fault, write those down as well. You must be introduced with a display screen with several alternatives one particular of which will be safe mode with networking.

  13. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But
    maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.

    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  14. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I believe that you should publish
    more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but
    generally folks don’t speak about such issues. To the next! Kind regards!!

  15. naturally like your website but you have to check the spelling on several of
    your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems
    and I find it very bothersome to inform the reality nevertheless I will
    certainly come again again.

  16. You could certainly see your expertise in the article you write.

    The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  17. Having read this I believed it was rather informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this
    information together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  18. Although bananas has several positive characteristics, a
    diet of only bananas still seems a bit “fishy”. There is no guideline provided as to what you can and cannot eat for
    lunch, dinner, and snacks. When you tend to try this
    kind of diet, make sure that you are able to.

  19. Superb blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for
    a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally confused .. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

  20. I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content available for you?

    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome web log!

  21. Iguanas in the wild spend much of their day basking in the sun not only
    to regulate their body temperature but because the ultraviolet helps them digest their food and metabolize nutrients like calcium.
    Because most, if not all, iguanas carry salmonella bacteria
    in their intestines, very young children, very old people,
    and those with compromised immune systems,
    can contract this bacteria and have flu-like symptoms.
    These chemicals are referred to as goitrogens and are found in a variety of foods.

  22. I wanted to thank you for this very good read!
    ! I certainly loved every bit of it. I’ve got you book-marked to check out new things you post…

  23. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess
    I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips and hints for novice blog writers? I’d
    definitely appreciate it.

  24. One thing that is fast becoming a great tool for online
    music promotions is internet radio. One thing about conventional radio that’s gotten quite annoying over the years is that the networks have switched around trying to find programming so often that you
    don’t even know where to go for your musical preference anymore.

    One of the very best reasons to include internet radio as part of your online
    marketing plan is because of the search engine optimization opportunities.

  25. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this particular information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  26. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on
    sites I stumbleupon every day. It’s always interesting to read content from other authors and practice something from their sites.

  27. What’s up everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this website, and paragraph is in fact fruitful
    in support of me, keep up posting these articles or reviews.

  28. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this
    website. I really hope to check out the same
    high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your
    creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own
    website now 😉

  29. I truly enjoy reading on this internet site, it holds superb posts.

    “One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.” by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

  30. Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your web
    site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you’ve on this web site.

    It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page,
    will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found
    simply the info I already searched all over the place and just
    could not come across. What a great site.

  31. Once the game is 80% complete you will need
    to work on the sound. A bowler who can consistently pick up his spares can easily hold a 180 average
    without getting any strikes. People are now looking to
    be able to connect to things like their vehicles through their smart phones, and now Buick has
    announced the release of their new e – Assist Fuel Effeciency smartphone games.

  32. fantastic issues altogether, you simply received a emblem new reader.
    What may you recommend in regards to your put up that you just made some days in the past?
    Any certain?

  33. What’s up, yeah this piece of writing is truly pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.

  34. I used to be suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m no longer sure whether this publish is written via him as nobody else recognise such distinct approximately my difficulty. You’re wonderful!

    Thank you!

  35. You can also select a once more rendered for very respectable
    business models. Borrow From YourselfBorrow From Friends & FamilyGovernment Discretionary FundCredit UnionsPeer to loans quebec as it always seen that expenses are
    higher than a normal person salary. Payday loans quebec can genuinely
    facilitate you get shuffling taking up unmanageable for the rattling miserable
    citizenries and those who wish to set up a new concern.

  36. This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I’ve shared your website
    in my social networks!

  37. I do believe all of the concepts you’ve presented to your post. They’re very
    convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless,
    the posts are very quick for beginners. May just you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

  38. Have you ever thought about writing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog based upon on the same information you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information.

    I know my audience would enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  39. I’m new to building websites and I was wondering if having your blog title relevant to your articles and other content really that crucial? I notice your title, “Americas identity blind spot ” does appear to be spot on with what your blog is about but, I prefer to keep my title less content descriptive and based more around site branding. Would you think this is a good idea or bad idea? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated.

  40. I think this is one of the most vital info for me.

    And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on
    some general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really excellent :
    D. Good job, cheers

  41. You are so cool! I do not suppose I’ve truly read a single thing like this before. So nice to discover someone with some genuine thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is something that’s needed
    on the internet, someone with a little originality!

  42. Admiring the commitment you put into your site and detailed information you provide.

    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed
    information. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google

  43. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was super
    long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for inexperienced blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate

  44. I’m no longer positive the place you are getting your info, however great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thank you for magnificent info I used to be on the lookout for this information for my mission.

  45. Hey there, You’ve done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

  46. For most recent news you have to visit world-wide-web and
    on internet I found this web page as a most excellent website for most recent

  47. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this web site. Studying this info So i am glad to express that I’ve a
    very just right uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed.
    I such a lot certainly will make sure to don?t omit this website and provides
    it a look on a constant basis.

  48. I’m more than happy to find this site. I wanted to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to see new things on your blog.

  49. Great post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I am
    impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the
    remaining phase 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a
    very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  50. When someone writes an article he/she retains the image of a user in his/her
    brain that how a user can be aware of it. Therefore that’s why this paragraph is great. Thanks!

  51. It is in reality a great and helpful piece of info.
    I am glad that you just shared this helpful information
    with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  52. My brother suggested I may like this web site. He used to be totally right.
    This publish actually made my day. You can not believe
    just how a lot time I had spent for this
    info! Thank you!

  53. May I just say what a comfort to find somebody who genuinely understands what they are discussing over the internet.
    You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More people really need to check this out and understand
    this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular given that you surely have
    the gift.

  54. Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am
    a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have developed some nice practices and we are looking to trade strategies with
    others, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  55. Its not my first time to pay a quick visit this web site, i am browsing this website dailly and get nice information from here everyday.

  56. Not all rosehip oils are the same as there are many different species of rose which
    are made up of different amounts of naturally occurring ingredients.
    Traditional uses include treatment of arthritis, colds and the flu, indigestion,
    bladder stones, and gonorrhea. It’s fair to say that with rosehip oil, you only need a small amount to make a big difference, when applying your oil, all you need is a couple of small drops.

  57. If you would like to grow your familiarity simply keep visiting this
    web page and be updated with the most up-to-date information posted here.

  58. Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the issues.
    It was truly informative. Your website is extremely helpful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  59. great put up, very informative. I ponder why the other experts
    of this sector don’t understand this. You must proceed your writing. I’m confident,
    you have a huge readers’ base already!

  60. If you desire to grow your knowledge simply keep visiting this web site and be updated with the latest information posted

  61. wonderful points altogether, you simply won a brand new
    reader. What would you recommend about your publish that you simply
    made some days ago? Any certain?

  62. Excellent way of telling, and fastidious article to obtain
    facts on the topic of my presentation topic, which i am
    going to deliver in institution of higher education.

  63. What i don’t understood is if truth be told how you are not actually a lot more well-favored than you may be now. You are very intelligent. You realize therefore considerably relating to this subject, produced me for my part imagine it from a lot of varied angles. Its like men and women aren’t fascinated until it’s something to do with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs nice. Always deal with it up!

  64. Undeniably imagine that that you said. Your favourite reason seemed to be on the internet the simplest factor to be aware of.

    I say to you, I definitely get irked at the same time as other people consider issues that they plainly don’t recognise about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest as smartly as outlined out the entire thing without having side-effects , other people could take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks

  65. He said that he has improved a 100+ kilograms mass — compact.

    Legging tights also take a look closely best with girly shoes, such in the role of flats, heels combined with
    boots. Actually, wearing the gray check skirt could make you looks
    even older than your original age. You can buy several
    different bundles from most web hosting solutions. http://www.

  66. Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend your website,
    how could i subscribe for a weblog website? The account helped me
    a applicable deal. I have been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided
    vivid clear idea

  67. The only hurdle to accessing this is of course human limitations and
    the fact that the brain does not function solely as a learning tool for the human being.
    Popular prizes include sports tickets, cash and vouchers for drinks,
    food – and dollars off of tabs. The Bull’s Head Pub, Bangkok.

  68. The central feature of the store was a long display case with a
    glass front. We all know how unattractive a desperate-seeming person
    is. Once this happens, I am sorry to say, YOU ARE ADDICTED

  69. Since we are on the topic of pinging, this is
    yet another reason given by WordPress users of why they prefer this blogging platform.
    Different plugins are controlled in different ways. With the
    correct theme, you can accommodate all the nifty little widgets
    and codes, and may also mean better search engine rankings and tons of fresh traffic every day.

  70. Participate in more than 200 enjoyment ranges inside History,
    Puzzle, along with Countless technique although finding this stolen artifacts as well as difficult minions with the serious.
    Take pleasure in fantastic pc games, launch special power-ups, as well as make
    masterful triumphs.

    COMPUTER SYSTEM Video game : Adelantado Trilogy: Ebook Just one

    Carry out you want to investigate the amazing techniques on
    the rainforest in which conceal in Adelantado Trilogy: Ebook best
    clash clans One? Locate as well as salt apart the particular misplaced journey along with Add
    Diego De Leon, your daring along with noble police officer.
    Connect with others while using the local people who
    can end up being associated with assistance to people.
    Support the particular locals reestablish their structures, pick foods, along
    with build a pay out. Strengthen your own ability to acquire all
    of the items in addition to gain great trophies in this difficult computer system video game.

    Love this particular enjoyable Technique game through experiencing as if you are between the very first to create ft .
    inside Adelantado. Ones journey is probably not
    quick simply because it’s likely you have more pleasant researching the actual island and also neglect that you’re onto it for any motive.
    The actual Spanish-inspired soundtrack is likely to make you are feeling the
    particular area can be your own property. Established your selected difficulty settings including relaxed
    to help difficult, and also five large road directions for you to check out.

    You will receive a extra map if you can full other levels which has a precious metal status.
    Don’t forget to avoid wasting the actual lost adventure and still have fun display shopping!

    These kinds of fascinating computer system game titles will really concern anyone and provides a person exciting at the same time!

    Read a lot more reviews and info on download games to your laptop or computer go to: My own Download free Video games

    Associated Content articles – computer system game titles, ps game titles examine, on-line games evaluate, online games on the net, obtain video games, down load game titles on the internet, free of charge on-line computer games, download free video games,

    E-mail this short article with a Pal!

    Obtain Articles like this just one immediate for a electronic mail package! Join without cost nowadays!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s