Toward a More Perfect Union
in an Age of Diversity

What some Americans are saying ...

Who Are We?

The Many Faces of America

Americans describe their cultural identities in many different ways.

People in the two AMPU videos --
had many ways to describe their cultural identities.

Here's what some of them said:

I have German on my father's side and Irish on my mother's. It was quite an interesting marriage, a German and an Irish person. Then, on my mother's side, my grandfather was an American Indian.

-- Debbie Burtle

My padrino, Cleofes Vigil, used to be asked all the time how long he had been in this country. And Cleofes would look at them very pensively and say, "I can take you to my grandfather's grave and to his grandfather's grave and to his grandfather's grave. That's how long I've been in this country." I think our family goes back to 1598, to the settlement and conquest of New Mexico.

-- Vicente Martinez

All I know is that I came from North Carolina and happened to move to Pittsburgh, PA, and I'm an American. That's my vision, where people begin to realize that we have nothing else but this.

-- Ray Henderson

We live in West Orange, New Jersey. Basically we're just an all-American family, other than being African-American and Native American.

-- Monique Perry

Each generation our family moves away from where we started. I really don't practice any of the Italian customs; I really couldn't tell you what any of them are.

-- Greg Vadala

How many generations does it take for somebody to be called an American? What is a hyphenated American?

-- Ammiel Alcalay

I feel limited by the classifications that we have to put ourselves into. What are you? OK, I'm a white Jewish male. Oh, you're Jewish, are you Sephardic or Ashkenazi? I'm Ashkenazi. Are you from Eastern Europe or Russia? I'm from Eastern Europe. OK, I'm an American. Are you liberal, conservative or moderate? I'm moderate. Baseball: do you like the Mets or the Yankees? I happen to like the Mets...

-- Jared Michael Strauss

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