To many in the USA, leaving the tiny hyphen out of “Chinese American” or “Mexican American” speaks loudly. After all, you can be many kinds of American; a short American, a frugal American, an educated American. Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University and author of “A Chinaman’s Chance” explains that this goes further than a grammatical issue, it’s about claiming your country. The hyphen, as seen by Liu, symbolizes a “transaction between two parties”. When a second-generation kid is raised in the U.S., they find that growing up in a different country influences their notion of self-identity and rarely identify themselves the same as their parents. America is the country of immigrants, and immigrants are the force behind change in America. In Liu’s words, “the change is accelerating.” We are here to act on this change. Check out the rest of his CNN article here.
Catch the full Provoke Weelky – To Hyphenate or Not to Hyphenate?