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  • Audrey Cleo

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    the coolest of the cool.

    In a poll conducted by social networking site Badoo recently, Americans are the coolest nationality in the world with Steve Jobs and Snoop Dogg, among others, cited as American ambassadors of awesome. This, and the fact that the Texas State Fair had fried bubble gum, make me proud to be an Amurrican.

    Of course, with the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 coming up, I’ve been reflecting a little on what that actually means. I’ve been asked “what my nationality is” a lot throughout my life and for reasons I still can’t quite grasp. When I answer “American,” people tend to think I’m intentionally being a smart-ass and shirking the question. Actually, I’m answering it. I carry an American passport. I was born in America. I eat corndogs, apple pie, watch fireworks on July 4th and said the Pledge of Allegiance throughout grade, middle and high school. My nationality is American. Asking someone about nationality isn’t inter-changeable with asking someone about ethnicity, the latter being a touch more sensitive question which those ignorant to the difference between the two think they can mask by asking about the former. What’s worse is that the question itself suggests not only ignorance but the idea that I am, as an Asian-American, somehow foreign or different; an “other” whose nationality requires inquiry. I’d like to think our “coolest nationality” designation comes from people with a variety of origin narratives and ethnicities. It does.

    After being asked about this for the umpteenth time, my sensitivity level about the whole thing has gone down considerably and now I have new answer to the “What’s your nationality?” question: “Coolest.”

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