In May 2023, Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville replied, “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans,” when asked by Richard Banks, a radio host for WBHM in Alabama, if he believed white nationalists should be allowed in the U.S. military. Tuberville, who later said “I look at a white nationalists [sic] as a Trump Republican,” also later slightly recanted, stating that, “We agree that we should not be characterizing Trump supporters as white nationalists.” However, Tuberville’s initial comments and impulses create and reinforce a corollary that to be American is to be white. Americanness and whiteness have long been linked as concepts, and in quietly adopting its own anti-immigrant policies (especially for immigrants entering via the Mexican border), the Biden White House has itself advanced a xenophobia premised in the phantasmagorical image of the United States as an imperiled white body. Yet it is actions taken during the two Trump presidential campaigns, the Trump presidency, and Trump himself that have emboldened, reinvigorated, and even lionized white nationalism, the idea that non-white bodies are not American, are surplus, are excess, are too many, are a threat.
This panel will feature creative works by immigrants and Black and Indigenous People of Color that center on and interrogate what it means to be an American in our current moment. Now, as much as and more than ever, it is vital that immigrant voices, that indigenous, black, and brown voices be heard singing out still, again, that they (too) are American.
This creative session seeks creative work from immigrants, Black and Indigenous People of Color that focus on what it means to be an American in our times.
*This panel is to take place at the NeMLA conference in Boston from March 7-10, 2024.