Doug and I were tossing around ideas for the team shirts for the Masters' Worlds in Canada and wondered …
US or USA - which is proper?
United States or United States of America
Hmmm ... United States of America. There are lots of theories as to the origins of the name "America" but it appears its first use on a printed map (America's Birth Certificate) was in 1507 and the map was of present day Brazil. When the United States of America was first named in 1776 replacing the name the United Colonies, there were only 13 colonies occupying a small portion of the northeast portion of present day US.
How does the term "American" come to mean a citizen of the United States? Why am I an American and not a USican? Why aren't Canadians and Brazilians also Americans? Technically, they are, aren't they? It's not like the US even occupies the largest portion of North America, let alone America. How can the the citizens of the US essentially claim ownership of the entire continent by just declaring that they are Americans?
In consulting my USA passport, I discovered that nowhere am I called an "American" … on one page I am a "citizen/national of the United States" and under "Nationality" it says "United States of America." However, on Doug's Canada passport, under "Nationality" is says "Canadian/Canadiennne."
I think the Aussies nailed it. I spent a few days on the Race Committee finish line boat at the Brisbane Masters' Worlds and thoroughly enjoyed everyone on board. I can't remember what I said or did but I jokingly earned the name 'Damn American.' In hindsight, I realize that in the minds of many, that pretty accurately narrows it down to a US citizen.
It could have been worse. Imagine being called a Vespucian. :)ReplyDelete
Hmmm ... then I might feel inclined to ride a Vespa.Delete
I always thought Australians called us (Americans) Seppos.ReplyDelete
I hadn't heard that term before and had to look it up. I didn't quite get the derivation but it was something like yank = septic tank (seppo) because Amreicans are full of shit. Doug lived in Oz for years and never heard that term used. Maybe it's more popular in certain parts. Oh well ... live and learn.Delete
It is bizarre. "America" is a part of "North America", and "North America" and "South America" are parts of "the Americas", as are the "West Indies". As for where the Hawaiian Islands come in, they're part of America but not part of the Americas I suppose.ReplyDelete
It is indeed bizarre. In my research, I discovered that many Latin American countries consider the term American to refer to people from the continent and not the US. It will be interesting with the Olympics being in Rio to see the sensitivity in the use of the term American. I imagine most of the US athletes could inadvertently offend quite a few people simply by identifying themselves as American.Delete
What is also bizarre is how a US team will win a national championship (i.e. football) and then declare themselves to be World Champions. Doug always shakes his head when he sees or hears this.Delete
Seppo is indeed derived from Septic Tank, which is Cockney Rhyming Slang for Yank, so is actually a British term, and no more disrespectful than thatReplyDelete
On the other hand, the United States of America doesn't seem to be have been recognized at all by the Laser Class. In the ILCA we are in the North American Region and, within that, in Districts which are groups of US states or Canadian provinces (or parts thereof.) Whereas in many parts of the world (e.g. Europe) "District" is often synonymous with country.ReplyDelete
So should there even be a USA team shirt at all? Maybe we should just have a North American Region shirt?
Plus not all Laser sailors who sail with USA on their sails are US citizens. Me for one. I am officially an alien and have a card from the US government to prove it. But there is a rule somewhere that says I should use the nationality letters of the Laser district in which I normally sail. I have sailed Lasers quite a bit in ESP and BVI this year too so perhaps I could join their teams.
Anyway didn't you have a post a few weeks ago that says top sailors don't apply the rules the same way? Maybe I should join the Aussie team (wife's place of birth) or even the Indian team (grandmother's place of marriage.)
So many shades of gray...
Interesting questions. I too wondered why there wasn't a NA team shirt instead of a USA and CAN team shirt. I'm told that's the way it has always been and who am I to question tradition. Plus, I think the Canadians would rather distance themselves from USA. Doug says he always feels like having a USA on his sail is like having a target on his back for the Judges with the whole USA reputation with Rule 42 at international events.Delete
Doug is a Canadian citizen and not a US citizen yet he sails with USA on his sail. With the Worlds in Canada this year, part of him wants to sail with a CAN on his sail. His first thought was the allocation of Worlds slots and since the slots are allotted to NA region and not USA/CAN he wouldn't be taking a slot away from anyone. Nevertheless, he'll be sailing under a USA sail but quietly cheering for the Canadians, except at the mark roundings where he expects them to all say their sorry and get out of the way.
If you could make an argument to sail under AUS, good luck on qualifying for a slot. Don't know about the allocation of slots for ESP, BVI, IND (?) or the Rule that says you have to sail in your district but I would imagine ILCA would welcome anything that increases participation and will discourage anything that bumps those living in the district.
It don't think it's uncommon for athletes with Olympic aspirations to move to a country that gives them a better shot at making the cut. I'm not sure how I feel about that but I think maybe I admire their passion and determination. I've always been a firm believer that 'no' just means find another way. Maybe that's an American thing ... can't beat Canada or Mexico for extra territory? ... well how about we just claim the whole dang continent as ours.
It's a gray world indeed ...