Wednesday, November 4, 2009

not american enough? you know what they really mean

Meb Keflezighi

NY marathon winner - not american enough.

The headlines after the race declared,
"American Wins Men’s NYC Marathon For First Time Since ‘82”
 And then it started...

CNBC Sports Business Reporter, Darren Rovell,
"The man who won the marathon is Mebrahtom Keflezighi, who immigrated to the U.S. when he was 12, became a citizen and later trained in youth, college and professional level distant running programs. But from the moment Keflezighi won the marathon this past Sunday, the dispute erupted online: Should Keflezighi’s win count as an American victory?"
Meb Keflezighi, who won yesterday in New York, is technically American by virtue of him becoming a citizen in 1998, but the fact that he’s not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies…

Given our disappointing results, embracing Keflezighi is understandable. But Keflezighi’s country of origin is Eritrea, a small country in Africa. He is an American citizen thanks to taking a test and living in our country.”
As Racewire says,
"Keflezighi did exactly what anti-immigrant reform activist say immigrants should do. He came to the U.S. twenty-two years ago legally as a refugee and became a "naturalized" citizen a few years after. So even when immigrants of color enter the U.S. "the legal way" they're still not welcome."
And a comment from Tammy Johnson sums up my reaction,
"I bet that he's American enough to be stopped by the NYC PD or to have a cab pass him by. I bet he's American enough to be denied healthcare because of a pre-existing condition (Being a Black man in America.) And he's already proven that he's American enough to be another Black man targeted by mainstream media as the source of every problem you can think of. Oh yeah, I've got your "American enough" CNBC!"
Is citizenship determined by longevity? Or is it shared experiences? Conscious decision making? Undergoing birth and death within the country? Or are you a citizen when you look like everyone else - read 'white' not 'brown' or 'black' or 'dark'. Would this have occured if he was born in sweden?

How does this relate to us, over here?

What do you think about this?

Hat Tip - Racewire Blog

1 comment:

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