Sometimes its hard to tell what our president is thinking. Sometimes I think he’s not thinking at all but reacting.
Yeah, I know, its been said before.
That’s why I haven’t been commenting much on Trump lately. There are far more people (both more qualified and less than I) making statements about and trying to guess what the president is thinking, probably more than at any other time since he’s been a public figure.
Just since November of 2016, the conversation has shifted from trying to do the math as to how he won in the first place to what he’ll do to where he was coming from to is he mentally fit to hold office. So many of these questions have obvious answers. He won by appealing to the baser instincts of a group of Americans who not only feel left behind but even if they voted for him, as many did, were swayed by the constant barrage of dog whistle idiocy that was the media during the Obama administration. They feel left behind by a country that always told them they were golden, chosen people, so when that promise was uncovered as a lie they rebelled. As with most popular rebellions, the scapegoat firewall lay between them and the people who truly fucked them over.
Never before in my lifetime have I seen the Country in such a state of reactionary fervor. If I’ve learned anything it is that you should never think things can’t get any worse, or any weirder. Sometimes being prepared for the worst is the best you can hope for. Not that you should abandon all hope or lose all sense of optimism, but keeping those things in the vacuum of the naive belief that “people are generally good” is downright suicidal.
I often try to look at recent history and try to draw a flowchart in my head to link all the things I’ve seen since the end of the Vietnam era ( I was born the year the conflict reached its Apex of 500,000 US troops) and remember middle-class. I mostly remember the palpable sense of dread that came with slowly admitting defeat in an unwinnable battle. I was born the year of nationwide unrest over the treatment of African-Americans (we were called negro, Colored or just Nigger at the time, in equal measure) and the year before the death of Martin Luther King.
I remember watching as the post-civil rights era played out, how legal segregation turned into redlining and blockbusting and I remember how the wash of irony felt as I sat in a real estate class 40 years later and heard my teacher discuss the practices as if they were ancient history (they weren’t, and aren’t). A few years before that I watched my Mom “steered” into a property in a mostly black part of town and in a double whammy also watched her sold a subprime mortgage with a huge balloon payment that would have kept her in permanent share-cropper status for the rest of her life. I watched as friends who had genius level IQ’s , but had little or no support at home, were shuffled into “alternative education” and taken out of the system of merit they would have all but taken over.
I watched the systematic dismantling of families, the ignorance of the problems faced by people who were just out of reach of the middle-class dream, not quite poverty-stricken, but barely able to make the rent, the car payment, and the heat, and often one or more of the above would suffer. (oh and food, let us not forget food)
I also remember being terror-stricken by television, the resurgence and resurgence, and further resurgences of “hate groups,” militias and various other largely white organizations whose members instinctively knew that their days as the majority were numbered. Who ignored the unequal application of benefits to them and cherry-picked statistics to bolster their own “superiority” (there is nothing funnier and scarier than listening to someone uneducated and unwilling to be, call me a monkey) even when they had an 8th-grade education and hardly a tooth to speak of.
I saw the 50-year slide into identity politics. WHITE identity politics. And now I shake my head when I hear someone like Richard Spenser, Alex Jones or any of their loosely affiliated internet sleeper cell operatives promote the narrative that Blacks, “the Left” and the “the gays” are the ones who started this whore identity politics shit. As a writer, I look out into the world, and it makes no narrative sense, as a truth-teller the story is flawed in a way that disqualifies it even as magical realism. There is nothing real about it.
As I look over all the historical links in my lifetime, I see definite patterns. Some overlap and others diverge, but a few, though taking up different sections of the page, clearly resemble each other.
Taking the experiences of poor White Americans and Poor Black Americans in snapshots of events, drug addiction, poverty, enslavement (Blacks by government mandate through slavery and its aftermath and whites by government mandate through union busting and land grants to wealthy corporations) they trace similar paths. The positive elements also converge, reverence for the elderly, a sense of community, developments in art and culture, resistance to undue authority…
But somehow, some way, the two rarely meet.
They don’t meet because one group, although downtrodden, believed that they were better by virtue of “whiteness”. That belief carried down through the years and was the current on the river to Trumpville.
This is not fake news.
Thinking for a second about some of the self-described leaders of these folks and their motivations there has to be something other than the endgame that gets them off. Even if they could eliminate or disassociate themselves from the rest of us there are still going to be sociopathic tendencies, violent individuals, and disagreements within their midsts.
I often wonder how an ethnostate of any sort would look. Having no skin in the game and no need to wish for such a thing I think I’m a bit freer than most to imagine a more realistic version of this utopia.
It would be like any other society, divided along some imaginary, or real but either way subtly enforced means, messy and stratified and pretty much just as fucked up as the one we have now. Either it would have classlessness imposed by a tyrant, or be capitalistic and leave some people behind. Either way, there is no escape from the same bullshit we face daily, it would just be whiter, or blacker. There is no way, through merely segregating “Europeans” or “Africans” to magically make everything better. The same power struggles, the same marital disagreements, the same arguments about government and what it should and can do will still exist.
Just because y’all look the same, does not make you the same.
Have you ever seen people who agree, are of the same background or the same political beliefs all in the same room together and NOT arguing? In most cases, intra-group disagreements are more violent than those between groups. Without the political or racial “other” to swerve the distraction bus towards, those conflicts would explode.
I guess perfect is the enemy of the good after all.
Edited on 10/12/17 because the first time around I just don’t give a f***!
Edited 9/8/17 because brought to you by the letter “M.”
Edited (yet again) on 8/10/2018 for a few misplaced (s)s and slightly augmented wording.
Can we re-purpose a reactionary frame?
Can we take something not quite patently offensive, but triggering and reshape it to mean something that can unite rather than divide? Can a community of people, who already feel burdened with the explainer role, manage again to unify under something they mainly feel is a bastardization and outright insult to the movement they identify with?
If we’ve learned anything from the election of Donald Trump, we should take away this, using the language of the oppressed to claim oppression works, but can the opposite work as well.
When I’d seen the statement “All Lives Matter” in response to BLM, I cringed. I knew it was a reactionary, angry, reflexive response to a needed if not fully appreciated movement. It angered me that people who know better should have understood that killing an unarmed member of any community should be denounced, that people who should know that there is a disparity between the way young Black men are seen and treated in our society, and the way young white men are treated. That Black Lives Matter, of course, wasn’t a statement of exclusivity but one of defense. That the implication that ONLY Black Lives Matter was NOT part of this declaration, nor was the implication that Black Lives Matter MORE, but it was merely that Black Lives Matter AS WELL.
There is much to be said about how we got here, much hand wringing to be done about how history had drawn a clear line to this moment and how forces, both seen and unseen have forced these confrontations.
For context, I suggest reading some of the books on slavery or civil rights or some of the more inclusive books on American history A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn is a good place to start.
I’m not getting into context here, it’s too obvious to me and would distract from my point. Plus, I believe we should all be more responsible for exposing ourselves to the context of the history of the country of which we so effulgently pronounce our love.
One of the things I have learned about messaging is that sometimes to do it effectively; you have to give up some deeply held preconceptions. You have to resort to some to the tricks of the oppressor, if you will, and one-up them by playing their game. There are limits to this, of course, but within those limits is where progress can be potentially made.
Appropriation is a hot-button term. It evoked Native headdresses or kente cloth; it evokes everything from girls in yoga pants to Rachel Dolezal.
It doesn’t deserve the reputation it has. Appropriation is, in some cases, the same thing as acceptance, it is the brother or sister or transgendered, polyamorous, biracial neighbor of cultural assimilation. McDonald’s appropriated images of Black families in print ads to appeal to the people it was trying to sell burgers to, advertising, in general, appropriates members of audiences it wants to reach, and this is often called “inclusion.”
My feelings are half and half. Half of me welcomes the representation because it brings visibility and half of me knows the motivation is to sell a product. In many cases, even this gives a certain amount of arrival cred but still begs the motivation question. Yet, for whatever reason, it’s better to be seen in a positive light than a negative one, though it can be argued that this isn’t all that positive:
but is was certainly better than this:
Appropriation can be a gateway to conversation and understanding, or it can be a gross misuse of a symbolic cultural totem. I think its time for us to use the poseur of appropriation on the All Lives Matter crowd.
It makes sense that reactionary forces would seize on an approximation of a statement that virtually says the same thing. In this era of lack of imagination, lack of the ability to see things in shades of grey, and lack of connection across lines of partisanship, we have been unable to ask each other, “so what exactly do you mean by that?’ instead of reflexively attacking each other over our perception of that meaning.
So let’s start out by saying that all lives do matter. Black, White, Mexican, Gay, Straight, tall and short, cis, queer, nongender specific, Cops who occupy all of the other identities as well and are both sheltered and wrongly maligned, we can even go as radically far as to say that plants, animals….all life is important. The human variety is where we’ll focus for the moment though, let’s just say that all human experience is valuable.
Now we can get into a little trouble here in our appropriation as we often do when trying to be inclusive, how far is too far? So if the whole point of this is a marketing strategy (and make no mistake, the most efficient way to convey this message is through that means), who is the intended audience?
Assuming the target audience is the former Obama voting Trump devotee, a person who, right or wrong, thinks he is now in the minority, who assumes that being white has somehow become a liability, despite all evidence to the contrary, and now feels he must pull back into an enclave of reactionary juxtaposition. We aren’t going for the 1% White Lives Matter crowd, they are lost and never wanted to be a part of this new America anyway. Calling out the hypocritical other and also the people who genuinely don’t understand why All Lives Matter is such a divisive statement by appropriating the tag is a tact worth pursuing.
Re-branding as All Lives Matter, re-purposing with inclusion in mind of the people of all races that have been discounted and ignored, bringing in law enforcement of all races to have a dialog about how people are not treated equally and to what degree. Actually TALKING to each other about these vital issues under a moniker that doesn’t seem to exclude.
Maybe All Lives Matter can be a vital starting point to challenge the notion that they do conceptually and working on how they can actually.
Taking advantage of the short memories of Americans to change things in the long-term may be sneaky, but it can also be useful. From a marketing standpoint, it would be as brilliant a coup as turning a brand that had been wrongly associated with Nazi Germany into a brand that appeals to the Spanish-speaking among us.
In the world of spin, anything is possible.
Edited 10/20/16 For Clarity and Grammar
Edited 3/28/16 – 11:45 Tags
I have a love/hate relationship with firearms.
On the one hand as a guy who played war and cowboys and Indians as a kid, an adult who has done archery and played countless shoot em ups, I’m fascinated by the skill it takes to hit a target at range. As a slightly paranoid father and household head, I am just as terrified of someone breaking into my home and assailing my family as I am paranoid that they will find, or wrestle a firearm from my hands as I attempt to defend myself.
As an African-American and a reader of history, I understand the complicated relationship we as a people have with firearms and how that relationship has been manipulated. As an American I see both sides of the debate, I see how an interpretation of the 2nd Amendment can be the determining factor in where you stand and how your race and background can figure equally into both your understanding of others feelings and your personal feelings about gun ownership. I also see how that is changing.
What I especially don’t care for is the manipulation of past restrictions on gun ownership by Black Americans by the NRA and other regressive organizations to make political points that work against us. Using the Black Codes as a means to flip the script and somehow paint gun owners as civil rights pioneers is deceitful, hateful and disrespectful as primarily white gun owner associations have never been either enslaved or restricted by the federal government to behave as full citizens, with equal rights under the law.
As a Progressive, I’m seeing both where we have far too many guns in the hands of untrained citizens as it is, and far too few in the hands of those who share my political philosophy. As a practicalist, I see how we are becoming more violent, more volatile as people. As a realist, I also see that part of the reason is that we have a massive proliferation of firearms.
With tensions in the country simmering to the point of boiling over, Trump firing up angry crowds and inciting violence, and most of these folks committed to defending what they feel is rightfully theirs regardless of a lack of logic behind any of it; I’m feeling more like Huey Newton and less like Mahatma Gandhi.
But the fact remains, firearm possession is legal in the United States, so the question becomes should Liberals and Progressives seek gun ownership?
I’m leaning towards yes.
It is ever so slightly paranoid to believe that some race war or civil war on any large scale, is coming. However, if the rise of Trump and his throng of angry and armed supporters decide to wreck havoc, is it not best to be prepared?
It is very easy to assail a person, to threaten them with a gun, a knife or some other sort of physical brutality on a whim if you feel you outgun them, this is an essential tendency of our species, the strong, for better or worse, feel empowered to prey on the weak. Indeed, if they already feel under siege, certainly if they feel emboldened and right. It is alw3ays easier to prey on someone weaker than you than it is to attack someone equal to or stronger than you.
Dominance over smaller women by larger men common in sports, most especially in MMA, is one example of this. Police using deadly force against suspects, primarily but not limited to men of color is another. Is not an equal playing field a guarantee of some semblance of safety?
I find myself now drifting into the realm of the Gun rights camp but not fully, not without the balance of statistics and not without significant reservations.
First reservation: Police.
There aren’t many police confrontations with open carry permit holders of color to compare to the ones posted on youtube with Caucasian men. This one recently occurred in Bridgeport CT, and pretty much goes the way most of the others do. But I do not trust already trigger happy police to handle every confrontation this way. They have proven time and time again that they are willing to break the law and assassinate people as a matter of course. Would people of color applying en masse to get permits change that script? Would Blacks, Browns, Liberals and Progressives open carrying make the same impact?
Second Reservation: Itchy Trigger Finger Syndrome.
The consensus found by recent studies is that having a gun in the home increases the chances of violence, either toward someone else or by self-harm. It is also has been the conclusion of a few studies that firearm possession increases not only the likelihood of their use in a confrontation but the escalation and threat of a confrontation itself in armed motorists. Concluding that people who are armed, and already angry feel extra empowered to use or brandish a firearm. Conservative white men who have grievances based on fear of the other have been involved in the majority of cases of road rage gun use, but would adding carrying Liberals, Blacks, Browns and Progressives who also have legitimate grievances to the mix not only increase the likelihood of violence? Are people indeed people across color lines and politics? My guess is yes.
Third Reservation: Critical Mass.
We’ve seen it time and time again, in many ways, we have this conversation in the first place because of critical mass. When the number, demographically, of “others” begins to eclipse the number of “whites” as it is starting to do now, the assumed balance is upset. The power structure is upended, and those who associated power with race (everyone) starts trying their best to adjust to the new reality. In the case of the United States, it isn’t going well at the moment. Many in the US, who self-identify as “white,” have enjoyed a long stretch of prosperity mostly inherited. The proof of this is all around us, said in explicit terms and implied in coded language that has become part of the vernacular. Many of these very people feel honestly that the election of Barak Obama was the death knell for the old America, which it was, but somehow despite the culture being a mix of the best and worst of all of us, this is only seen by them as a bad thing.
Others have had much more powerful things to say about this, and I suggest seeking them out. The fact remains that if the critical mass in legal gun ownership by Liberals, Progressives, Blacks and Browns is reached, judging by the knee-jerk reactions to the duly elected President, it will be ugly, probably very ugly.
Regardless of what we fear will happen, it is apparent that many folks are paranoid and armed.
Would balancing the paranoid and armed on the right with sober gun owners on the left be a good thing if the path we are on seems bound for confrontation? Or would the number of bullies be less likely to be dissuaded from starting aggressive movements if they knew those they oppose were armed as well?
I know this, an armed society is not immediately a polite one, a polite society is polite despite being armed or disarmed.
I’m still weighing my role in all this.
I wish no ill will on anyone, want nothing more than to live and let live and even find some common ground along the way. I also do not want to be the one with a target on my back. Despite what they may think the changing cultural demographics can benefit everyone, I just don’t want to be a victim of someone who has other ideas.
Could it be that the drug war began as a way to demonize the poor and brown? NO WAY!
After writing about the Yale protests yesterday I just wanted to make a few things clear.
- Racism does exist on college campuses. In many ways, more openly and obviously than ever. I, for one, prefer it that way.
- There is a HUGE difference between the systemic racism and racial hostility going on at University of Missouri A public university and Yale, an exclusive private one.
- Just because some people may cry wolf, that doesn’t not mean that the wolves aren’t out there, hunting sheep.
- As far as the PC flap goes I blame everyone, including myself for not speaking up when people say stupid shit and for sometimes just not knowing how to take a freaking joke.
- I am African-American, I have friends and relations of every ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and whatever else there is I either don’t know about or don’t care to know about. That doesn’t insulate me from being an occasional prick to one or more of these groups. What it does do is give me examples of people as people first and as categories later, and what THAT does is allow me to feel like shit when I hurt a real persons feelings. Thussly I have to reexamine what I say and decide whether they are being too sensitive or I’m just being an asshole. AND all with the added bonus of having a conversation about WHY I hurt their feelings in the first place. Maybe if we associate with the rabble a little it might just help us understand why they think that way, or change our minds about why we shouldn’t try to make them.
- I believe that people are too fucking sensitive, yep I said it.
- I also believe that there are some assholes who will wear that excuse on their sleeve just in order to be assholes.
- I believe in this article, and this one and this one and this one, but I don’t fully agree with any of them. It’s called thinking for oneself.
As a long time townie I’ve seen many changes at Yale that have contributed to the sense of entitlement that the students feel on campus and in New Haven. Yale has reached deep into communities and squeezed small businesses and lower income residents out, ignored the continual outsourcing of its staff while at the same time demanding favored status by claiming to be New Haven’s largest employer, and sequestered its students behind locked gates and high walls because of a few high profile incidents that on balance are NOTHING compared to what residents face daily.
Unfortunately, the students (who, any townie will tell you, are just generally a royal pain in the ass) are part of the problem. They are rude, obnoxious and arrogant; they regularly silently espouse an ownership of the city that the institution has perpetuated throughout the years. (not to mention actual OWNERSHIP of a large swath of downtown)
So it comes as no surprise that the latest round of protests are being met, even by people who would normally be on their side, with either a sigh or a mighty WT ever lovin’ F!
Yale town/gown relations have gone down the toilet since our lord and master decided to clean house on Broadway (New Haven’s Broadway that is) and eliminate all the deadbeats who brought locals in to mix with the Academics, and as a consequence brought some of them together maybe a little closer than the university would have liked. Yale has systematically, through its ownership or acquisition of over 400 properties invaded distressed neighborhoods, redeveloped, re-purposed and otherwise changed the face of New Haven.
Casualties have included a gathering place/coffeehouse that regularly hosted meetings between Yalies and Townies, Profs and Skaters, Punks and early Hip Hop kids, one of the best damn art-house theaters on the east coast, small family owned restaurants, clothing stores and basically any trace of local color. Pretty much all the things that made New Haven an interesting place to shop and visit.
So now we have a multiracial (good start!) group of students angry over patterns of discrimination and cultural insensitivity at the institution. An admirable protest subject(s) indeed, if it weren’t for the inherent irony in the whole damn thing. I’m not talking about the glaring irony of the students looking to express themselves, shouting down a professor who was there to answer them. Yes, becoming the thing you hate takes about 5 seconds as opposed to the lifetime it used to take, PROGRESS! I mean the GREATER irony, the great and powerful irony, the man behind the curtain wears no clothes irony of LOOK IN THE FUCKING MIRROR!
It’s not that I don’t feel for the students affected, and It’s not that I don’t agree with the principal of what they are upset about, but the fact is that they are already a privileged group, and they wave that privilege in every single resident’s face regularly is just too much to process. They are protected from much of the poverty and violence that wracked some parts of the city and they have pulled back further and further into their own “community” that they seem to have no concept of what that word means outside of YALE. In short, while looking inward at the Yale community, they need to be looking outward into the larger community they occupy. They regularly treat the city as a playground, whose crosswalks they ignore with impunity and whose residents they crowd off the sidewalk four abreast. Subtle as these things may be, and some of them are, they still indicate a pattern of well…abuse.
And then, of course is the little matter of that irony I mentioned.
I remember being a student when the PC movement started and I remember looking around at the “correct” sanitized result and can honestly say that I saw this coming. On both the Left and the Right there is a growing movement away from meaning and to increasingly meaningless language, we are so preoccupied with what we call ourselves and not who we really are. We are so enamored with labels and so ignorant of the lives of the people behind them.
Yale has many recent sins to atone for, as I listed above. Instead of simply protesting about insensitivity, the many students gathered need to open their eyes to the community surrounding them and reach out into it by becoming reengaged with it. Yale students are a big part of the reason New Haven has been dubbed one of the most unfriendly cities in the US. The superiority and snobbery has caused increasing amounts of town/gown tension in the past 20 years.
Cultural insensitivity is not just racial in nature, it is also based on class, education and privilege, ignorance of that is on display regularly in New Haven by the Yale community, Unfortunately, I’m sure many guilty parties took part in the “conversation” currently going on at Yale.
Folks, this ain’t #blacklivesmatter.
I’ve been struggling lately with whether or not to engage in the latest version of the culture war (a term I find dubious at best) and how to do so if I choose to jump into the fray. I’ve come to believe that we are at a precarious place in our development as humans. Our cultures, mores and roles are changing rapidly, maybe, along with our environment, too rapidly.
I’m not at all against progress; I’m firmly for freedom of expression, freedom to self-determine, freedom to keep a firearm, and freedom from economic oppression. I, as an American, enjoy these at least conceptually and am well aware that many people throughout the world don’t even have these “freedoms” in the abstract. I am also aware that being privileged comes with some assumptions that make many of the issues we are dealing with in western countries, minor. Not to us, of course, but to parts of the world that view us in a less than favorable light.
So here we are fighting about the various versions of what we define as freedom. Especially troubling seeing it firsthand are the battles over gender and race, two things that we should have moved past due to the twin miracles of the Obama presidency and the best chance of having a female president we have ever managed. When I heard the joke “January 1st, the day when 40 million Racists become 40 Million sexists” I laughed, but as the possibility gets closer, the pre-reactions are getting stronger.
The emergence of the acronym-Americans, MRA, SJW, CS, and so forth, should terrify us all. Regardless of your feelings, political and/or social, the distillation of a type into a three or four letter word that encompasses the various shades should chill you to the bone. The confrontational nature of those using them should make you question the term “progress.”
What follows is a brief breakdown of the terms, a cast list if you will, of players in the new pigeon-holed play. Lets call it Birth of the Acronym-American Nation.
First the dreaded SJW or Social Justice Warrior: this (feminist) first amendment averse, angry man hater (or self-hater as the case may be) reacts with great vehemence at any perceived injustice, bristles at the fact that we celebrate Columbus day and not Stonewall day, and has an answer to anything ‘merican with un-American skepticism. If they are men, they are cuckolded beta males, if women, lesbians.
Second we have the MRA, or Men’s (Civil) Rights Activists. These hairy trolls stalk the fringes of the internet, still angry at their bitch of an ex who took not only their house but their kids as well (real or imagined), and dumped them for an ALPHA (see below) they originally started out as men with genuine complaints about a system that demonizes men and favors women in custody cases, and slowly devolved into seething balls of hate for all things “equal.”
Next we have the PUAs or Pick Up Artists, again, started out as something not quite harmless but not so harmful as noted feminist Robert Downey JR, would play one, but soon became more sinister. The Tucker Max effect, mixing privilege into the equation, and the subsequent empowerment of those formerly docile harpies known as college educated women created the modern PUA. PUAs are a curious lot, many are just out for sex, like any person young enough to still have a libido (or to have been lucky enough never to have dated an SJW) to the evolution of the SNL Roxbury Guys into metrosexual versions of Ahnold. There is a trove of literature on the subject, mostly confined to the Darwinian self-destruction of the species that results from unprotected sex with morons.
ALPHAS, Alphas are the top dogs, the best groomed, best postured, best in business, best in life men at the top of the food chain, that is, at least until some nerd builds an Iron Man suit. They excel at everything they touch and are focused, determined and often armed. They dominate simply by displaying alpha posture and either not letting anyone else speak or being so intimidatingly silent that no one dare speaks in opposition to their superior ideas. Alphas are part Stallone and part Ayn Rand, with a little fascist dictator thrown in for good measure. Many are ex-military, cops or contestants on the Apprentice, none are librarians or teachers, unless of course the subject is Gym.
Feminists, often confused with and sometimes intersecting with SJWs and pussies, are the root of all evil (the black ones are the worst, but we don’t acknowledge them, so they don’t exist, like global warming). They usurp traditional roles and take our jobs (not to be confused with illegals); they feminize men by making them get in touch with the feelings they cooked up in their evil feminazi labs just outside San Francisco. They make babies that they insist are theirs alone if they let you have them in the first place and possess the ridiculous notion that they should be in control of their own destinies. They are a part, and secret leaders in, the Liberal New World Order agenda.
#BLACKLIVESMATTER, No they don’t all lives do asshole, and if you don’t believe it I’ll fucking kill you!
Do I have to say that the above is at least partially satire?
Do I also have to say that I can identify with some aspect of every one of them and that some other parts make me want to retch?
No, I shouldn’t but unfortunately I do.
Welcome to hyphenated, acronym’d, uncomplicated, no shades America.