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Race Card: American or United Statesian?

United States flag

Black or African American? Latino or Hispanic? Native American or American Indian? Debates break out all the time about the best terms to use for certain ethnic groups, but many in the U.S. haven't the faintest idea about the controversy that's long surrounded the term "American." Because the term applies to any resident of North or South America, including countless indigenous peoples and people of color, some argue that it's imperialist and racist for "American" to be used exclusively to describe nationals of the U.S.

Just last week, I saw a reader comment on a website objecting to the term. And in recent years, I've generally heard more outcry about the use of "American." In 2008, for instance, activist Elizabeth Martinez wrote a piece in Z Magazine called "Don't Call This Country 'America.'" According to Martinez:

It is Manifest Destiny that calls this nation 'America,' thus denying any serious existence to over 550 million human beings who stretch across 7,785,000 square miles. For Latinos/as here and abroad, calling this country 'America' is offensive. Perhaps unintentional, but offensive. We should all ask ourselves: do we really want to approve that racist, imperialist worldview by using the empire's name for itself?

To be honest, this isn't an issue I've given enough thought to, despite the fact that when I studied abroad in England as a college student, I rarely referred to my country of birth as "America." Instead, I called it "the States," as all of my British classmates did. I understood that calling myself "American" could be confusing considering that the rest of the world views Canadians, Mexicans, Brazilians, etc. as Americans in addition to people from the United States. So, the issue isn't that U.S. nationals should completely stop referring to themselves as "Americans." Even Martinez agrees that they are correct to do so. The issue is that we need to recognize that residents of the other countries in this hemisphere are Americans as well, which may be impossible in a country where the term "all-American" is most often used to describe people with Nordic or Germanic features, and immigrants of color are told "you're not a real American,'" as Martinez points out.

What U.S. nationals should call themselves and their country hasn't garnered nearly as much attention as the debate over the politically correct names to call ethnic minorities in the States, but discussion over the term "American" is hardly new. In July 1915, the New York Times published a letter to the editor from one Christine Ladd Franklin of Columbia University in which she called it "illogical and impertinent for the inhabitants of the United States of America to seize upon the name 'Americans' for themselves." So, what alternatives exist? In Spanish-speaking countries, the word "estadounidense," which roughly translates to "United Statesian," is used to describe people from the U.S. Franklin, however, argued that the term "would not be a very aesthetic designation."

Still, United Statesian appears to be the most popular alternative to American out there, arguably because of that term's popularity in Latin America. But it's not just Latinos who advocate its use. In 1986, Rachel Weller of Urbana, Ill., wrote in to the Times to proclaim herself a proud United Statesian. "It should be our greatest source of pride that we are a 'United States'—a union embracing an enormous wealth of human diversity with immense geographic dimensions," she explained of her embrace of the term.

I realize that it's extremely unrealistic to expect people in the U.S. to abandon the terms "America" and "American" as they're currently used. If they didn't make this move a century ago, it's highly doubtful that they will do so today. And I'm not going to front: I've no plans to permanently delete these terms from my lexicon either. But when I write, I will make a conscious decision to use the term United States more.

Even in progressive circles, there's a surprising amount of resistance to dropping the "American" identifier. Since "United Statesian" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue and referring to "people from the United States" all the time sounds a bit clunky, that makes sense. But it's not too much to ask people to broaden their definitions of these terms to include the other nations that make up the Americas. During an age in which just 30 percent of U.S. nationals have passports, it's more important than ever for them to realize that they're not the center of the universe, let alone of the Western Hemisphere.

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Comments

39 comments have been made. Post a comment.

I generally shorten it to

I generally shorten it to USian - it *looks* a little more awkward in print, but it flows off the tongue a bit easier.
And I do think it's important - language matters, and the words we choose convey a lot of explicit and implicit meaning. While you're right that saying American or USian won't change quickly, I believe it can (and hopefully will) change over time - we have plenty of examples with other words to see that.

could you somehow spell out

could you somehow spell out the pronounciation of USian? Thanks!

USian

I don't know if there's an official pronunciation, but I for one have been saying "yoo-ess-ee-an."

Please weigh in of course if I'm incorrect!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

I can understand why there's

I can understand why there's some controversy about "American" is a catch-all identifier for US citizens, but I don't think it denies citizens of other countries their own identity---we generally identify ourselves as citizens of our nation of origin: Canadian, Mexican, Brazilian, Peruvian, whatever, and the nation I live in is the United States of America. So I don't think the term "American" is inaccurate or automatically imperialist--I think it's become loaded with that connotation because of America's imperialist past and its long history of culturally dominating other nations in North and South America.

I take issue with this, though. During an age in which just 30 percent of U.S. nationals have passports, it’s more important than ever for them to realize that they’re not the center of the universe, let alone of the Western Hemisphere.

Yes, Americans need to stop viewing themselves as the center of the universe. Yes, it would be good for Americans to travel more, if they can afford it.

But let's not pretend that not having a passport makes you narrow-minded and convinced you're the center of the universe. There are many American nations where fewer than 30% of citizens have passports--not because they think they're the center of the universe, but because travel is a privilege that they cannot afford.

Becky Sharper www.harpyness.com

Passports

I agree with you completely about many people in the Americas not having the privilege to travel abroad, but if you click on the link I provided, you'll see that the percentage of people in the U.S.A. with passports is far lower than other "developed" nations, which suggests that we are more insular both in our travels and in our mindset.

Could it have something to do

Could it have something to do with less of a need to travel to other countries, say for business? I'm all for world travel and broadening cultural horizons, and I'm aware that plenty of Americans-from-the-US travel outside of the US for business purposes, but the US is huge. If you live in the middle, you could travel the same distance as someone in Europe and remain within the country, where the person in Europe might be several countries away form their starting point. It's kind of the same idea when people argue that people in the US aren't as accomplished in speaking foreign languages. Again, learning another language, like traveling, is always a good thing, but I think for some American-from-the-US people, having a passport is not a priority because of their geographic location. This could be the result of "insular" thinking, but I think saying all cases of people in the US not having passports is a result of this mindset is kind of a generalization.

And here's my two sense: United Statesian and USian are terrible. I wouldn't be opposed to something other than "American" to denote "from the USA," (though changing everyone's deeply-rooted linguistic habits is always so much easier in theory than in practice), but the above choices are just ugly. Maybe I'll just call myself a New Yorker.

Yes, but...

you'll see that the percentage of people in the U.S.A. with passports is far lower than other "developed" nations, which suggests that we are more insular both in our travels and in our mindset.

That completely ignores the difference between the size of the United States and the size of other Western nations, which kills the apples-to-apples comparison you're trying to make. If you live in a European country, you cross several borders in a matter of hours, and you might routinely do business or have family in those other countries as well because of proximity. Borders are much closer and less restrictive for Europeans than they are for Americans, and international travel is much less costly, so yes, it makes sense they'd have more passports than Americans do.

If you live in many parts of the US, the only way you can visit other countries is by air travel, and air travel is beyond the means of many Americans. Europeans, on the other hand, can hop in a car, train or ferry and be in another country for relatively little money. It seems unfair to compare Americans unfavorably to a Europeans simply because the Americans don't have the thousands in cash required to fly to Europe--or even Canada or Mexico or the Caribbean.

Becky Sharper www.harpyness.com

For real?

Seriously? This is utter nonsense. The reason we call ourselves Americans is because our country's name is the United States of America. You can argue that the name of our country is suggestive that only the U.S.A. is the only America, which would logically wrong, but frankly, even that argument is a lot of nonsensical hand-twisting. The name of our country doesn't mean the rest of the American continents don't exist.

But to take issue with what we designate ourselves to be? Seriously? Was I asleep when Mexicans, Chileans and Peruvians started all calling themselves Americans? When did we begin referring to our continent and not our country when we were asked where we were from? It is NOT imperialist to refer to yourself as an American when it's your country's NAME. So until we change our country's name to "The United States," I'm going to keep considering myself an American and not whatever cracked up title people who think way too much come up with.

Maybe it did happen while you were asleep...

Hi Lowblow,

As Nadra and some other commenters have pointed out, people from North and South America (and not just the U.S.) *are* Americans, and many do refer to themselves that way. While it is correct for people from the U.S. to refer to themselves as American, it's also correct for people from Mexico, Chile, and Peru to do so.

As far as your continuing to call yourself an American goes, go right ahead. Nadra is only pointing out that "American" doesn't just mean "resident of the United States." As far as your assertion that this issue is "cracked up" and only for "people who think way too much" well, we may have to agree to disagree there.

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

no, really, it is problematic

saying this is a non-issue would be true if it really were, but it's not.

i witnessed an exchange a few years ago between a panamanian friend of mine (born and raised in panama, now a u.s. citizen as well) and someone she had just met who asked said friend (who has a heavy panamanian accent) "are you american?" - implying that sounding like a foreigner means you have no citizenship in the u.s. of course said friend said she was an american. the stranger refused to accept that panama is a country in the americas and therefore that my friend is and always has been an american, regardless of what american country she was born in.

as stated over an over again already, the problem is not that citizens of the united states of america call themselves americans. the problem is that we have decided that we are the only ones who own that title and, conversely, that it only refers to citizens of the united states when we use it as a broad term. just as one would hopefully realize that the label "european" means something vastly more broad than "french" or "italian", we need to remember that "american" is an umbrella term that covers a whole lot of very diverse countries. it's as simple (yet obviously privilege-confronting...which leads to defensiveness) as that.

Difficult Argument

Lowblow, the argument is complicated. No one's objecting to the "of America" part but to the fact that we now use the terms the "United States" and "America" interchangeably, as if they are one in the same. In reality, the U.S. is just part of America., but we behave otherwise. That's the imperialist argument in a nutshell.

Ameriacan

@Proweb365: Black or African American? Latino or Hispanic? Native American or American Indian? well! in my point of view, all of Us should be call "American People"..we were born, grew up, and working for USA. Therefore, we are the same.

Thanks!

This is a topic I often bring up with folks who get tripped up on the "awkwardness" of having to find another term to describe people living in the country called the "United States of America."

I have taken to calling myself a "gringa" and describing the things that I used to describe as "American" with the adjective "gringo." I'm an anarchist. :: shrugs :: Whatcha gonna do?

I do have to point out that (while not everyone would find my personal choice to call myself a gringa to be a palatable one to use themselves, and maybe we need to think up some other options) there is more than one United States in the Americas. Someone pointed this out to me in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2002 when I was studying there and had initiated a conversation with someone about this very topic.

Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos is, last I heard, the "official" name of Mexico. A friend down there reminded me of this when I very determinedly stated that I would no longer refer to myself as American, but as "estadounidense". He said it to me jovially, kind of poking fun at my seriousness... but I did take it seriously, and that's pretty much when I started referring to myself as "gringa."

yay! i love it when gringos

yay! i love it when gringos re-appropriate that term and call themselves gringos. good for you!

Not I! Both gringo and anglo

Not I! Both gringo and anglo are really unpalatable to me. Anglo implies western Europe to me, getting called a gringo simplifies me as a white imperialist who will just never get it. Maybe I'm particularly sensitive because I'm multi-racial. But there isn't an equivalent word for Latinos/Hispanics/indigenous Americans that is as socially acceptable. Gringo can be loving or teasing, but it always always always makes you aware that you are "other," even if used affectionately. And I'm a white Hungarian/Ukrainian as well, which Anglo just does not acknowledge. I'd rather just be estadounidense.

I used to think that 'United

I used to think that 'United Statesian' would be better than 'American' until someone pointed out that Mexico's official name is the Estados Unidos Mexicanos, or the United Mexican States. Most countries have their official name, like "Federal Republic of ____" but generally only go by the ___. The United States of America is somewhat unique in that we use our full official name, it's initials, and various pieces of the name.

While it's unfortunate that 'America' is confusing if we want to speak continents versus one country, 'United States' is presumptuous in a different way. I don't think it sounds any less "superior" to act like we're the only country that is an assemblage of states - many are.

Yes, I Agree

Yes, I've also heard that Mexico uses the United States, too, so United Statesian is a bit problematic. I've also heard that Latin Americans call people from the U.S.A. "norteamericanos," but that's not very accurate either, considering that Canada and Mexico are also part of North America.

USer

I had a Haitian professor as an undergrad who used the term USer. I have been using it every since, but will try out USian. I am game to trying out new ways of seeing.

I had a professor who

I had a professor who referred to folks in the US as "USer" and it stuck. I use it instead of USian. I think it sounds better...

Thank you for writing this.

I happen to be a graduate student in a department of Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies; in my classes and amongst my colleagues, this is a major issue of contention.

For those looking for a demonym, we tend to use 'U.S.-American', which I think works well and is less awkward than US-ian or US-er.

I fully admit to taking this issue very, very personally as a Latina and as the descendant of Puerto Rican migrants, after having had my right to belong on the mainland of the US questioned so much. So I don't mean to sound like a douche here, but really: this shit is not that hard. Or, to quote the author: "...it’s not too much to ask people to broaden their definitions of these terms to include the other nations that make up the Americas." Thank you, Nadra, for writing this, and for making the conscious decision to use the term 'United States' in your writing!

Psh

I think you guys are confusing nationalistic arrogance with imperialism. The two may go hand-in-hand, but they are far from the same. Throwing around the term imperialist to refer to a designation about one's country of origin is basically politicized thinking. You see what you want to see, and then drag it another ten miles to whatever side you lean towards. It's not imperialistic for anyone to call themselves American. Argue for nationalistic arrogance, and I'd disagree with you but find your argument sound. Furthermore, in America at least, we tend to refer to the whole as "the Americas," which rather nicely implies we know we ain't the only one.

I'm also with Becky Sharper on the issue of passports, In fact, your own link talks about the causes for relative low passport holdings and comes to a completely different conclusion: "the United States' own rich cultural and geographic diversity, an American skepticism and/or ignorance about international destinations, a work culture that prevents Americans from taking long vacations abroad and the prohibitive cost and logistics of going overseas." I have no passport, but I'm learning one language and will learn another when I transfer to uni. I am not insular. I simply have neither the money, the time nor the skills/connections necessary to travel abroad. Which is pretty much what the CNN piece suggested.

@Sam - Asking someone with a heavy accent if they're an American is specifically asking about citizenship. [We do have legal non-citizens in this country with foreign accents.] The split over whether American can refer to everyone or only those from the U.S. is no different, IMO, than a split about whether a movie belongs in one genre or the other, or both. It inflames passions more, and means more, but it's still a linguistic disagreement over what the term encompasses. Though I am more inclined to believe someone who'd argue that a Panamanian can't also be an American was simply being an ass. Probably an anti-immigration ass, at that. But it's irrelevant to the word's meaning. Stupid people exist the whole world over, the U.S. doesn't have them all. Yet. X)

I find the term American to be just one more drop in the bucket of cultural and linguistic differences, not a sign of imperialism. Imperialism would be saying that not only do non-U.S. citizens not have the right to call themselves American, but that we will back it up with lawsuits or bullets. I understand that there are a lot of Americans who'd object to a non-citizen within the U.S. calling themselves American instead of Mexican or Brazilian, but this is still a cultural/linguistic issue. It's not that they object to the use of the word itself, it's that they object to a non-citizen using a term that designates you as a citizen. (Frankly, I could care less what you call yourself.) Now, if the same person objects when they're outside of the U.S., just punch them in the face for being asinine.

Seems like the typical

Seems like the typical identity-politics liberalism(you know, the kind that totally failed to make any significant progress in something like 50 years). Change some WORDS, and that will somehow have some positive results!!

Again, the term American comes mainly from the fact that the country has the word America in its title. Whining about this terminology does nothing to actually confront real, existing American imperialism. The time spent to write this article could have been better spent highlighting some form of American intervention somewhere in the world at this moment. Just close your eyes, spin a globe, and write about the American intervention in whatever country your finger happens to land on.

100% American-identified, but ok with inclusivity :)

Considering our country's official name is The United States of America, I do not think it is at all problematic to refer to ourselves as Americans. I'm acctually quite attached to the term - being a Mexican-Nicaraguan-AMERICAN is an important part of my identity, and I would not want to replace the American part with anything else. It just feels... right. Of course, if I ever meet a person from a Latin American country and they wanted to refer to themsevles as American as well for the reasons desribed in this article, I would be completely respectful of that and refer to them as such. If there was a movement to make the term American more inclusive, I would be perfectly ok with that. But I have many relatives from Latin America and also live in a border town, and I have yet to meet a non-US citizen from Latin America who felt that the term American described them.

I need to modify my comment.

I need to modify my comment. I have met non-US citizens who identified as American, but that's because they were living in the US and hoped to become citizens. What I meant to say is: I haven't met a Latin American residing in a Latin American country who wished to identify as American. Hope I didn't offend anyone.

The thing is, having

The thing is, having "America" in your name as a country doesn't make it right to call yourselves "americans", it makes it logical, but not right. You see, I live in Chile (Southamerica) and I have never met anyone else from the continent that refers to "USian" as "Americans". We don't talk about the "americanos" we talk about the "estadounidenses" (the oficial name in spanish) or just "gringos". It really offends me when I hear estadounidenses talk about their country as "America". I know it is in the name, but still, it just reeks of egocentric-ness. To know why we hate it when you call yourselves american you have to fully understand what the US has meant in the whole continent: an interventionist, exploiting, self centered country. As a country you have rarely cared what has happened in the rest of the continent if you couldnt get any direct benefit from the situation. The US goverment intervened in my country, orchestrated and funded a coup agains the only socialist president who has been democraticly elected in history, and caused a dictatorship that ended in 17 years of censureship, torture, and death... and that to this day has left my country scarred and divided. But to get to my point, when you call yourselves american all we see is just another manifestation of the belief that you alone exist on this continent, that you alone are all that is worh aknowleging. Maybe if it wasnt for our history, we'd shrug and not make a fuss, but the US carries that stigma in front of the rest of the continent. Maybe its not a big dea for you guys, but it is a big deal to the rest of the continent.

I wonder if Russians want to

I wonder if Russians want to be referred to as Asians? They live on the Asian continent.

No...

First of all, most Russians live in Europe, not Asia, and they are for all intents and purposes a European people. Moreover, the official title of Russia(Russian Federation) does not contain the word "Asian". United States of America contains the word "America".

This whole non-problem demonstrates so clearly why America doesn't really have a left. The history of 20th century relations between the USA and Latin America has been one of invasion, sponsored coup d'etats, unfair treaties and trade agreements, sponsored terrorism, embargoes, and economic warfare. All of these represent concrete manifestations of imperialism. But what do American "leftists" do? They focus on WORDS!! Yes, words will fix everything!

This is the gift of privilege, the idea that one can be progressive and revolutionary by doing utterly meaningless things which are incredibly easy(like using different words). I also have no doubt that walking around saying USian garners all kinds of attention from "normies." I'm sure some people just blush with ecstasy when someone asks, "USian? What's a USian?" What a PERFECT opportunity to display one's enlightened self-righteousness.

"I'm sure some people just

"I'm sure some people just blush with ecstasy when someone asks, "USian? What's a USian?" What a PERFECT opportunity to display one's enlightened self-righteousness."

Lol I love this comment. I don't necessarily agree that identity politics have done nothing to combat racism/sexism/ismsismsisms (it's considered totally unacceptable to use the word faggot conversationally or in movies these days (unless you're friends with idiots) but I watched a 90s movie recently and my jaw dropped when I heard it come out of a character's mouth in serious conversation) but it's important to keep it real ya'll.

Thoughts from a Canadian

I remember finding this extremely absurd at the age of 12 - as a Canadian I found it extremely arrogant of Americans to assume that they had a monopoly on the term "American." However, the issue is not really a simple matter of syntax or location. We call Europeans "European" because they live in Europe. Canadians live in the continent of North America. Therefore, I certainly refer to myself as a North American, but never an American (we get confused with each other often enough due to most people's inability to differentiate our accents). This is actually a huge insult to most of us that are north of the border (people always had huge apologies for calling me American when I lived in Europe), but this Canadian anti-Americanism is an entirely different topic. There is also the issue of "Native American" and "African American" that people for some reason think applies to Indigenous Canadians or Black Canadians. This is NOT the case, and calling aboriginal Canadians "Indians" is usually seen as a tremendous insult coming from non-aboriginal people. For whatever reason, American authors (in particular) seem to think that the terms cross the border(s), but they don't. Essentially, the terms we use are largely a historical production.

Therefore, America is called America based on a certain history, and changing the name is not the way to undo the damage that has been done. For people who say that there is nothing imperialistic about Americans calling themselves American, you're wrong: it is imperialistic, regardless of intent. The word "America" was assigned to two continents by Europeans, and that is imperialistic. This does not mean that you shouldn't be able to call yourselves American if that is how you choose to identify, but you do need to be aware of how arrogant it can make you sound (whether or not you care is obviously up to you) in certain contexts (not all). It really depends on your audience - unlike my twelve-year-old self, I'm no longer bothered by it, but if you know that Latin American people are likely to take offense, I would suggest treading more lightly. Semantics may not matter to you, but they are of great importance to others. That Canada is called Canada has certainly bothered many people for many years and it's something that you have to navigate carefully in some contexts.

In any case, I find myself confused by some of the responses here as America is not a continent, it's the greater name for two continents (who gets called a "Eurasian," and does anybody care?), nor is it the name that was used here prior to European exploration. Perhaps America as a country shaped by colonialism should keep the word and the North and South continents should be renamed to something more authentic.

I have a better idea.

Why don't we simply change the name of South America to 'Ameribox'?

That way we won't have the trouble of confusion with the word American, instead people of the south will be proud 'Ameriboxes'!

Seriously people who insist on calling Americans USer's or united statesians or some such drivel are simply being douches.

Why not rename oceans and seas while we're at it? The Indian ocean does not only support India, and it can be construed as imperialist and insulting to certain other countries to keep that name. Same as with the South China Sea.

Don't let your anti-americanism cloud your judgement, we are American, that is the term. A person from Panama should properly call themselves 'South American' if they want to identify with the larger continent or a 'citizen of the Americas' if they want to identify with the majority of the hemisphere.

Likewise for Canadians...Canadian, North American, citizen of the Americas... not so hard right?

To insist on calling yourself an American without being a citizen of the United States of America or any of its territories given today's linguistic evolution is just deliberately trying to confuse people with more common sense than you have. Such childishness is expected from kids, not adults. Bottom line, don't be a douche. douche-ness transcends national boundaries.

"I personally believe that... US Americans..."

Perhaps Miss Teen USA--South Carolina has more wisdom than we give her credit for. Granted, she still doesn't know where maps are, so...

...beyond the surface, please.

I would have preferred if this article linked the imperialism of the past to that of current day. We have gone from white supremacy to amerikan supremacy. I simply wish folks could be honest about the benefits we are afforded as amerikans. Needless to say, it would be a disservice to any intellectual exercise if we fail to contextualize our privileges. The global south is the perpetual feast for the global north. Can't you see, Amerika has become obese while countries shrivel to death. Who cares what you call us, look at what we do, look at the suffering that we are complicit in sustaining. This article is emblematic of our profound state of oblivion and arrogance. This is disconcerting.

I respect and use "American" when I'm speaking English

A little late but if I may...
I am a native Spanish speaker from South America. I have witnessed this "American vs American" discussion about a gazillion times. The thing is, different languages and continet models lead to different mindsets.

Most of Latin America is taught a different continent model than the English-speaking world. In Spanish there is no "Americas", that is, there is not two continents called "North America" and "South America" but a single continent called "América" comprising three regions: North America -Canada and the US-, Central America -from Mexico to Panama- and South America -from Colombia to Argentina (BTW and AFAIK from some Mexican acquaintances, Mexicans are not very happy with that model because they consider themselves North American -which is totally respectable- so when you start messing up with continents you can upset not only Americans, just saying.) As you can see, in the Spanish model we are all "americanos" and the Americans are "estadounidenses", but in the English model there are "North Americans" and "South Americans" and "Americans". I see nothing political in this but a matter of linguistics. The fact is "American" is the proper English demonym for people from the US, while "estadounidense" is the proper Spanish demonym. People can't just jump from one language to try to "correct" what they perceive is wrong in another language. That is ignorant, arrogant and self-centered. Plus every people is entitled to call themselves as they feel like. Plus those made-up alternatives around are so effing ugly, even for my non-native ears: USian? USer? United Statesian? US Citizen? C'mon...!

The awful truth is most people in our countries who b**ch about this "American" issue are leftist radicals who dream of the glorious communist paradise we could be if the US didn't exist and blame America for every bad thing that happens here: poverty, corruption, delinquency, illiteracy, backwardness, intolerance, inequality, violence, even natural disasters. They complain not because of a logical realization but out of a visceral hate, and no argument can discuss with that.

Yes Mexico is in North America

Yes, Mexico is in North America and this is evident because almost all of Mexico is in North America and only a portion a small portion is in Central America. Also Mexico is a member of NAFTA or North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada, United States and Mexico are the only members because they all are in North America.

Can we get some more eggshells?

I think people are taking things way too far. Seriously, who cares what anyone is called?

A lot of people seem to be spending way too much time trying to figure out a classification system in order to describe something without stepping on people's toes. We've got how many racial descriptions because people get upset? The last I spoke with a few people from Africa, there are a lot of people pissed at the term African-American because they're so far removed.

How is it so difficult to simply state the country you're from, or if you insist on using a continent as a descriptor, you might try throwing in a cardinal direction. For example, North American. South American. Eastern European. Strange, seems like I've read terms like those somewhere before.

People should just get over having to have the best term for themselves. I don't care what you call me. The term I'm labeled by isn't who I am, and a label really isn't enough to make any sort of judgement about someone else. In all my time abroad I've never had any trouble conveying where I'm from. If people could realize that it really isn't all that important to begin with then maybe we could actually make progress on REAL issues instead of bickering like school children.

Last I checked poverty and crime in a lot of South American countries seems to be a much bigger problem than who gets confused about their Americaness.

america is a continent, not a

america is a continent, not a country. argentina is a country from american continet. american is the people born in a american continent

So if Natives went to Europe

So if Natives went to Europe and conquered a few countries like Spain and France and called it the United States of Europe they would be the only Europeans? I think not. If White People take over a few countries in Africa and call it the United States of Africa then would they be the only Africans? Nope sorry you are wrong. People born in America are United States citizens or United Statesians but not really just Americans. It just isn't correct.

I definetly agree.

I definetly agree. They should call themselves and should be called United Statesians, since the term Americans refer to citizens from all the continent.

Ok, for the sake of accuracy,

Ok, for the sake of accuracy, might i suggest using a demonym that breaks convention? The fact of the stile of the nation being written as "The United States of America"(which is less a name than a geo-political description, one that should be described in full as "the democratic federation of the sovereign (nation) states born of the (european-american)colonies". Can you guess why Jefferson passed on that longwinded description?) does not make it necessary to refer to ones nationality as or by the federation. What i would suggest is making use of state demonyms complete and leaving the "U.S" federal demonym to non natural citizens indicating thier original citizenship.
If you were born in New York, you're a New York-er. If you were born in Alberta, you'd be a U.S.-Canadian. It wouldn't clear up the matter of there being more than one U.S. in the americas, but it would draw clearer lines of citizenship. BTW, the state that holds your certificate of birth is your actual nationality as a natural citizen, you're not a federal citizen untill registered to vote, and that state maintains your citizenship untill your death, not to confuse citizenship with residency.