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Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By Felsamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Nov 03, 2009 03:53 PM

Here is the story

www.msnbc.msn.com . . .

Basically Meb Keflezighi won the NYC marathon. He is the first American to win it since 1982.

He was widely celebrated as the first American to win the New York race since 1982. Having immigrated to the United States at age 12, he is an American citizen and a product of American distance running programs at the youth, college and professional levels.


Yet as soon as he won people started saying since he was not born in the US he should not be considered a US runner. They are saying race has everything to do with it since people who are born in places similar to where he was born have strong runners.

“Race is still extremely important when you think about athletics,” said David Wiggins, a professor at George Mason University who studies African-Americans and sports. “There is this notion about innate physiological gifts that certain races presumably possess. Quite frankly, I think it feeds into deep-seated stereotypes. The more blatant forms of racial discrimination and illegal forms have been eliminated, but more subtle forms of discrimination still exist.”


So should he be allowed to say he is American and take on the title of an American winner in the race?

I will pitch in later.

30 Replies to Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?

re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By iliahmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Nov 03, 2009 04:04 PM
So he's an American citizen. Why is he not American enough? He gave up his loyalties to his home country when he was sworn in as a citizen during naturalization.

If naturalized citizens can serve in the government, why can't a marathon runner be considered American?
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Nov 03, 2009 06:45 PM
Edited by Heart (21721) on 2009-11-03 18:46:00
Hands up everyone who just Wikipediaed "Eritrea." Definitely did not know that was a country. It's in Africa, bordering Sudan and Ethiopia, to save the rest of you the trouble.

12 is awful late to move to the US and consider yourself a citizen. If I had moved to a different country when I was 12, I know I would still have deep ties to that country.

Either way I'm pretty much tired of seeing imported finely trained athletes representing America in sports. I would love to see a true born and bred New Yorker win the New York Marathon. As do many people. Why is there a stereotype and a lot of complaining about a skinny Kenyan winning marathons every year? Because a skinny Kenyan wins every year! Let's acknowledge the stereotyping right now ("not every African country is Kenya!"), step aside and see the real point here. People are frustrated because this DOES happen and it IS annoying.

My personal opinion? Yeah, it's another skinny African winning a marathon. It's like seeing one of our imported Russians win at gymnastics. Very nice, but big whoop.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By LeSoulierVertmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Nov 03, 2009 09:38 PM
^Your post sounds very nationalistic... just sayin'.

I think he's an American citizen, so let him be an American winner.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By hylndlasmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:08 AM
According to our own Government he is a US citizen.

*shrug* Why are we debating this again?
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough? (karma: 4)
By FeisDadAndre
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:38 AM
Hands up everybody who is not an aboriginal member of the First Nations (i.e., an Indian). If you've got your arm up, you are a descendant of colonists or immigrants and thus, can trace your lineage back to something other than "American". Does that means you are, therefore, not a true American?

Arnold Schwarzeneggar is the Governor of California, one of the most populated states in America and the fifth largest economy in the world. He was born in Austria but became an American citizen. Is he still considered an American?

Did any of you walk outside this evening and look up at the stars and think, "Wow, those are so pretty". If so, you are harboring sympathies for another celestial body, so does that make you less of an Earthling?

Thank God we have finally solved the problems of world poverty, hunger, disease, war and environmental degradation. Otherwise, we would never have the time to spend debating something like this that is so...... meaningless.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By iliahmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 03:27 AM
12 is awful late to move to the US and consider yourself a citizen. If I had moved to a different country when I was 12, I know I would still have deep ties to that country.


You don't consider yourself a citizen. You go through a long, elaborate legal process to naturalize. It takes many years. Personally I grew up in the U.S. I came here when I was 10. I speak English with perfect fluency. Yet, I don't consider myself American because...I haven't gone through the process of naturalization. If I ever do so in the future, I'd definitely consider myself American, and I'd be sorely offended if you told me I'm not because I wasn't born here or came here at an early age.

Naturalization does not allow dual citizenship. You give up your allegiance to the country you're born in, and swear your loyalty to the U.S. You can have deep cultural ties to your home country, but your loyalty is now with the country you became a citizen of.

Final thought - What do you call the "skinny Kenyan" who was born here to Kenyan parents who immigrated to the U.S.?
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By pokomember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 05:49 AM
FFS. Why is this even being debated?

The guy is an amazing runner. He trained hard, just like everyone else. He had a goal, just like the rest of them.

Documents say he's American. So He is "American-enough".

My mother was born in England and moved here when she was about 14. She considers herself Australian. And this is why racism still exists today.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 06:42 AM
^^Actually it is legal to be a dual citizen with one of those being US. There was a Supreme Court case on this quite a few years ago. There are risks to this however...you could be drafted into two armies, for example.

At sometime, everybody in the Western Hemisphere has a background as an immigrant...even the Native Americans and the various South/Latin/Central American civilizations. Something like 15-20% of the current US population was not born here.

As the Olympics are supposed to be, marathons are individual events, not team sports. We celebrate the achievement of the people who run these events, winners or otherwise, because they are a significant INDIVIDUAL achievement...even for the person who requires 4-5 hours to complete the course. While it may be interesting to note that there is a trend for people from East Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya in particular) to excel in these event in recent years, these are not national accomplishments.

So who really cares where they are from?

Jon
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:44 AM
Since when is nationalism a bad thing?

Self-identifying is very important. There are many Americans who primarily identify with other countries rather than America. I consider that more important than the naturalization process.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By seannettaPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:30 PM
^OK, but then who are you to judge whether a "skinny African" self-identifies more with his/her home country, rather than America? How could you possibly know that? And by the same token, I have known of people who are American-born and who self-identify with their country of heritage more so than people who were born outside of the U.S. and now call it home. So who's more American in that case?

How do you police that kind of thing, anyway? What counts as self-identification? Do you have a checklist? Does a person have to score a certain number on a quiz to be considered American enough? Is it OK to wear a hijab but support American policies and values? How much can you disagree with the country's policies before you're no longer American? How can you possibly start drawing lines in the sand about this kind of thing?

In my opinion, becoming an American citizen is a form of self-identification with the U.S. The act of becoming an American citizen is certainly an act of loyalty, is it not? In fact, CHOOSING to become an American citizen surely involves more active thought on what it means to be American than a person who is not an American by choice--i.e. someone who is born in the country?

Back to the Eritrean-born-runner: I can't believe this is even being debated. American sports programs and coaches trained him how to run. He didn't come over here a marathon-winner. And even if he did, I would hope that we would be celebrating the addition of another talented American to the country, and feel flattered that he's chosen the U.S. as his home.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough? (karma: 2)
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 01:10 PM
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2009-11-04 13:14:30 clarification...
To say that people who have come here as a teen or older might have questionable loyalty to America is quite a slap to every sacrificing ancestor who came through Ellis Island... My hubby and I are second and fourth generation progeny from Ellis immigrants whose loyalty to this country was/is very deep.

Current immigrants should not be considered any less patriotic or loyal than those who came earlier. If the race winner's family came here when he was twelve then I am quite certain that they sacrificed plenty to be here and that it was not easy for them once they got here. That's the very essence of becoming Americans - the striving and the sacrificing to be here. Their story is American as it gets. I'm proud to call Mr. Keflezighi an American and proud of his American accomplishment.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough? (karma: 1)
By LeSoulierVertmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 04:39 PM
^WORD D4J.

Heart- There's a difference between having a healthy amount of patriotism, and being blatently nationalistic. You claimed that it was annoying that this man won, because he wasn't REALLY an American he was a skinny African. This is rude, unecessary, and really unsupportive of the ideals that our nation was built upon. America is a melting pot of various groups of people coming together for a better life. He did this, and your ancestors did this. Please try to keep your mind open to that.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By MaxwellPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 05:22 PM
Why would you actually think that this nationalistic, xenophobic people have a legitimate point? Meg Keflezighi is as American as you or I. "American" does not mean white dude born down the street, it means citizen of America.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 05:40 PM
I just really don't give a crap either way.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By LeSoulierVertmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 05:48 PM
^How convenient.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough? (karma: 8)
By Celebrianmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 06:29 PM
Edited by Celebrian (127245) on 2009-11-04 18:47:22 fix that
Edited by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2009-11-05 14:59:29 This part was too close to a personal attack, so it's got to go.
Heart wrote:

I just really don't give a crap either way.


Yeah, sure you don't give a crap. Well I say your claim is BULLCRAP. If you really didn't give a crap you wouldn't have spent time posting your narrow-minded, haughty point of view and then clicking 'post'. You know what your problem is? You know you can say whatever you want because it's the internet. But the truth of the matter is you would not even have the courage, the intestinal fortitude, to walk up to a 'skinny African' and say this to their face.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By LeSoulierVertmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 06:49 PM
^While, that was such an intense personal attack, that I can't really justify giving it karma, I just had to say that you won so many points for not only saying intestinal fortitude but bolding it!!! Awesome
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 09:51 PM
Edited by Kekoa (69553) on 2009-11-04 21:52:42
People always have to complain. Nobody American wins the marathon for 20-something years, people complain. An American finally wins, people complain. He's just as American as the rest of us. In fact, dude is probably MORE American than me, because I feel incredibly strong ties to my heritage and would leave in a second to move to Norway or Ireland if it weren't for my family here.

Also, maybe the reason American athletes never win, why we have to use "imports," is that American athletes suck? Not to mention, the only real, home-grown Americans were virtually wiped out for land and money.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By DefyingGravityPremium member
On Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:07 PM
Of course he's "American enough." Heck, if he was able to pass the rigorous testing process to become a citizen, and gave up his legal ties to his home country, he probably should be considered more American than I am! I tend to take for granted the rights and privileges that come with being a US citizen; he probably recognizes them more than I.

That said, I think it would be really cool if John Smith from Main Street, USA won the NYC Marathon because I could probably relate to him more than a naturalized African-American immigrant. Once again, Mr. Keflezighi is 100% American and I 100% support him and am proud he won, but it's a different sense of pride for me than if little Johnny with the white picket fence won.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By hylndlasmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:36 AM
DefyingGravity wrote:

Of course he's "American enough." Heck, if he was able to pass the rigorous testing process to become a citizen, and gave up his legal ties to his home country, he probably should be considered more American than I am! I tend to take for granted the rights and privileges that come with being a US citizen; he probably recognizes them more than I.


I'd hazard a guess and say that most American's if handed the same test a Naturalized Citizen must take most native born Americans could not pass it. I took a practice one a few years ago to see....and even I struggled to answer it. (I passed but barely).

Give the guy some credit....it's hard work and a pretty major accomplishment to become a naturalized citizen of the US.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Nov 06, 2009 01:58 PM
Edited by hylndlas (107168) on 2009-11-06 18:03:17 just a tad much.....
But the truth of the matter is you would not even have the courage, the intestinal fortitude, to walk up to a 'skinny African' and say this to their face.

Wanna bet? I pride myself on not censoring down my "nationalistic, xenophobic" views. You might be able to pull that on some other person, but not on me.
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Nov 06, 2009 03:12 PM
I'm in a political based club at school and one of the events we plan to put on next semester, is a "Could You Pass an American Citizen Test?". I bet that the majority of my school couldn't and I bet the same with the majority of the American members of DDN. It is a rigorous test that includes, history, government, politics etc. etc. Go check it out, and see if you yourself are "American enough".
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By MaxwellPremium member
On Fri Nov 06, 2009 06:06 PM
^^If you don't give a crap, why did you post in the first place? Because now that we've called you out on your crap it is convenient for you to be apathic instead of arguing? And you're openly proud of being a backwards bigot? What is wrong with you? Since when do YOU get to decide who's an American and who's not?
re: Is the NYC marathon winner American enough?
By LeSoulierVertmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Nov 06, 2009 07:15 PM
*Imagines Heart going up to Mr. Keflezighi* "Hey! You didn't deserve to win, because you're not really an American, like me! I think it's annoying that your skinny self won, because you weren't born and bred like I was, you came here at twelve! Twelve WHOLE years! I want someone who came from the womb!"


Uh yeah right.
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