Hyphen-Nation

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Chapter one Hyphen-Nation in Roots Too written by Annie Roiphe discusses the movement of Americans reflecting on their heritage in modern society. Roiphe first focuses on John F. Kennedy’s ‘return’ to Ireland. His speech showed how people of the same decent are all bounded together by a shared experience even if they live in different countries. This experience Roiphe explains through John F. Kennedy’s speech is the movement of ethnic revival in America. Roiphe shows how this ethnic revival led to “new ways of articulating the individual citizen’s place within society and its relationship to it.” This statement shows the affect the ethnic revival had on modern American society in understanding the importance immigration and assimilation had in the past and the present. She explains how the political source of the ethnic revival came from the Civil Rights movement and introduced this new “group identity.” This sparked anti-modernism, which is when people wanted to remove the idea of America being a melting pot and go back to their pre-modernized communities. I enjoyed her explanation that ethnicity is now considered a particularity instead of a thought. She claims that ethnicity is now represented as an outlook instead of a biological condition. This claim shows the importance of the ethnic revival in changing the concept of ethnicity in American society. Roiphe depicts that ethnicity is the “symbolic building block of American national unity”, which was created through immigration.

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