Friday, May 04, 2007

"I'm Not American"

Last night, Paulo C's cousin had a group of high-pitched Brazilians over to celebrate somebody's birthday (could it have been hers?) I still owe her a present from Christmas.

I was in a shitty mood because Dave and I are in the middle of a domestic dispute, and the last thing I wanted to do was fall asleep scratching my hives under the influence of Portuguese. I don't know where Paulo C's cousin rounded up all these people but they were my age; one was Russian, one was American, and the rest were Brazilian. All of them spoke Portuguese and English. All of those who weren't Brazilian wanted to be Brazilian. Well, except for the Russian, because Russians are pretty hard up on Russia and all.

My biggest pet peeve is a person who wants to identify with another culture so bad that he will disown his true culture in order to fully convert to the preferred one. Especially if this person is American and is "trying on" different cultures how others might "try on" different religions; pairs of pants. I say "especially if this person is American," but the odds are pretty much 99 to 1 that such a behavior is that of an American. I've yet to hear a Russian or a Mexican or an Australian disowning their motherlands. I mean, really.

So yeah, I suspected that all these people wanted to be Brazilian from the onset, but my suspicions were confirmed when I heard some chick (it's always a chick) saying, "I don't feel like I'm an American. You know, I don't identify with the culture. Sometimes people ask me if I'm French or Brazilian because I don't seem American, and I say, 'I don't know; maybe.'"

Wow, is that fucking deep or what? She is above everything that America stands for. And, if you ask her exactly what it is that America stands for, you better believe she'll ramble off some textbook cliches to the tune of: "Drive an S.U.V." "Drink Starbucks." "Superiority Complex." "Greedy." "Ignorant to the rest of the world [not enlightened like myself]." In my opinion, the greatest tell-tale sign of an American is an identity saga similar to the one she is currently entertaining.

I am totally interested in what her Brazilian friends thought of her when she said that. I would assume it was embarrassment for her. In Brazil, the idea is that no matter where your ancestors are from, you are Brazilian if you were born in Brazil. The irony thickens. "I don't feel American." For Christ's sakes...


DCchick said...

Sometimes people ask me if I'm French or Brazilian because I don't seem American, and I say, 'I don't know; maybe.'

How did you NOT say something to that???

Good God!

expatbcn said...

I've been living in Spain for the past 8 months and before I came here it was hard for me to fathom being proud to be an american. Living in Europe and defending my country have certainly given me a more objective view of the motherland. I know that I cannot change where I was born anymore than anybody else can and that it's silly to try. I am proud of the people of my country (not all of them, however), and I'm always the first to correct someone when they mistake me for something I am not.

Oh, and I really enjoy your blog. Have a lovely day.