FLIP-FLOP: Let’s Eliminate the Hyphen

I propose a mission to Flip Flop of all of our citizen designations.  This movement to change how we label people would make us truly culturally diverse, and help eradicate segregation, and racially motivated crimes.

I know that trying to make this happen is akin to trying to move a mountain with a teaspoon. It will, however, bring awareness to how we segregate ourselves. Choices and opportunities would be enhanced; our citizens would have all diverse people to learn from and stand beside them in unity.


Hyphenated cultural variations are causing a significant divide in our country. Americans are obsessed with labels. We even label our citizens with hyphenated designations.  We segregate groups into ghettos according to these labels. This has a polarizing effect.

Of course “black lives matter”, but so do everybody else.

For a long time I have argued against the hyphen.  It is too divisive. Saying someone is African-American or Mexican- American drives them to closed societies.  Many feel that the only chance they have is to group around similar people to have a comfortable life. Children learn that this is who there are and who they will always be. Hopes and dreams are limited by their circumstance.

An immigrant should still be labeled by their home country.  The first generation may also carry that label, unless they are naturalized or were born here, in which case the new label would apply.  Any generations after that should be American-subgroup. We would all be Americans with honors given to our heritage; for example American-African, American-Mexican, or American-Irish.

We should be aiming at full assimilation and integration, but I don’t see that happening any time soon if we continue using divisive labels.

The mingling of diverse people, their thoughts and ideas make for a richer culture. People living in mixed communities will learn from their neighbors; people would become more open to individuals of different backgrounds; shared learning and activities would help bring people together. People would be able to aggregate their knowledge and strength to help them grow and their neighbors weather their challenges.

The crime rate would invariably decrease because gangs and other trouble makers would not be confined to ghettos with limiting philosophies, but spread out all over town. Education opportunities would improve with diverse mixed classes. Children who do have hopes and dreams would be in a better position to reach their goals.  We would reduce the differences between poor schools and rich schools; the playing field would be leveled for the benefit of all of us.

Cultural diversity was the goal our founding fathers who had a philosophy of equal treatment and opportunity for every citizen, (slavery is another story and fit into the culture at the time). Dividing our nation with hyphens is the opposite of their goals of inclusion and is causing challenges that should not even be on the table.