Phantom Sway

Proud to Be a Whatevercan

Why don’t Americans like being American?

can-you-handle-the-freedomMy junior year of college, I shared a dorm room with girls from Sweden, Romania, & the good old US of A. The American was in the minority, as I’m a British subject. The Swede & the Romanian marveled at my mixed heritage, as my father is from Slovakia & my mum is English. Our American roommate declared “Oh, that’s nothing. I’m a quarter Dutch, a sixteenth Iroquois, an eighth French, a tenth Portuguese..”

The Romanian stopped her and said, “Dude. You’re American.”

Why don’t Americans like being American? Many of you are now participating in a purely American ritual in which you toss your 4th Amendment rights to the wind in the quest to find out what you really are. Yes, I’m talking about the DNA test.

You people gleefully submit, under no coercion whatsoever, your genetic code to a corporation—in order to find out if you have a great great grandmother from Latvia. You willingly hand over what most people demand a court ordered warrant prepared by a public prosector to supply, because you strongly suspect your love of tapas means you’re Spanish.

Think about that for a second.

You don’t like getting weighed at your doctor’s office, but you’re sending cells from your actual body, to a corporation, to find out if raiding Mongolians raped your ancestors? Hint: if you like goat cheese, they probably did.

Where does this need to be labeled and categorized come from? You are the land of the free and the home of the $4.99 buffet! Endless drink refills! With ice! You all have cars, 500 channels, and specific cookware just for making waffle cones and pressed sandwiches! That’s your bloody category, you numpties! Your label is “From a Country So Rich We Can Afford to Put Ice In Everything, Motherfucker!”

You people freeze water and give it away for free! ALL THE TIME. Americans have no actual idea how rare and fantastic this is. If you ask for ice anywhere else in the world, they look at you like you just asked them to put on a gimp suit and soap up your anus with a live mink. Revel in your Americaness!

But instead you’re an entire nation of those women who rescue a shelter dog but then say “I know she’s a pure bred morkie-poo” and I honestly don’t even know if that’s a thing. Are you all desperately hoping that you are part pure-bred morkie-poo? Aren’t Americans not supposed to care about breeding? That’s something we awful backwards Brits see to, with meticulous family records and carefully arranged inbreeding.

This is completely understandable if you are adopted, or are pretty sure your family came over as slaves or indentured servants. But the people who ship their building blocks to for-profit data warehouses are almost invariably middle to upper middle class types who can tell the urgent care doc exactly which of their great aunts has ulcerative colitis.

“Oh, it’s easy for you,” you sniff over your free range kombucha. “You know exactly what you are.”

Yes, I am half Slav and half Brit, which means I am 100% melanoma. I am a walking, breathing, colourless lesion. Go me!

You are an American. Be happy! You came from folks who were fed up with the squalid conditions of wherever they came from and made the journey to a land full of high fructose corn syrup and ice! You have vibrant genetic diversity as well as vibrant cultural diversity, which means you can suck down a Coke while eating a Korean/Chilean fusion taco & maybe not develop diabetes quite as fast as your darker skinned companions! America is fantastic.

So enjoy telling stories of how your Uncle Bud fell off the houseboat, how Aunt Doris got the Lyme’s at her New Hampshire cabin, how Great Grandma shot a prowler off her back porch, then made a chicken pot pie. Your DNA doesn’t tell stories.

Would you rather have the foreign DNA, accompanied by stories involving secret police and generations of alcoholism? No. So add some more ice to your sugar water and toast your great heritage, American.

Kellie Jane Adan

KJ Adan is a writer in Los Angeles. She likes cats and tea length party dresses and Jesus and hugs and coffee and music. Turn offs include sensible mid priced sedans, monkeys, and Tom Cruise.

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Harriet Tubman is one of America’s most beloved historical figures but has sadly been largely relegated to just a few facts during Black History Month. This incredible ex-slave, spy, cook, nurse, public speaker and rescuer deserves a story worthy of her stature.

“Minty” – tentatively titled after Tubman’s nickname – is a “reimagining” of Harriet Tubman as an action hero. It is a period piece with a modern flare.