Why does it matter where you were born?

2 May

Last week Obama caved to the pressure of a growing number of wingnut conspiracy theorists who firmly believed his pregnant mother flew from the US to Kenya to give birth to him, and then immediately to Hawaii (the farthest state from Kenya, seriously! Florida was only a couple thousand miles closer) in order that her child could one day be president of the United States.

The fact is, this whole “birther” movement isn’t about Obama’s birth certificate. It never has been. If you read between the lines you’ll see that all this talk about where he was born is just thinly veiled racism. “Obama is a nigger, and niggers aren’t Americans.” It’s sad, but not surprising, that such a large chunk of conservatives have subscribed to this view. They, and they alone, are the true Americans, surrounded in a land of savages and heathens who would destroy their America.

But the fact that Obama isn’t white, and thus will never be a “real” American, aside, why does it matter where you are born? I’ve never understood people’s preoccupation with this. I feel like it’s some pseudo-spiritual bullshit like the idea that the stars you were born under dictate your personality. (Horoscopes)

It does not matter where your mother squeezed you out of her vagina.

Back in World War Two, Nazi propaganda encouraged young couples to have sex in particular cemeteries. The idea was that if the woman conceived a child from the encounter, the spirits of the ancient German folk heroes buried there would enter the womb and thus be given a new body when born.

Believing that where you are born matters is no more bat-shit crazy than believing ancient ghosts will enter your baby if you fuck in a cemetery. The whole notion of “where you’re born matters” revolves around this idea that some “spirit” or quality of the place imprinting itself on you at birth.

I was born in Texas. Therefore I must be a real Texan right? Hell no. I was there for about a year, all of which I don’t remember. I don’t hunt, I don’t drive a truck, I’m not religious, I don’t have a cowboy hat or boots, I don’t have a Texas accent, I don’t like spicy food, and I’m not a republican. Nothing about me is Texan.

Land is land is land. There is no mystical qualities about one place that makes it different from another. The only difference is in weather and vegetation. Last time I checked, the 5 day forecast and what types of berries grow outside don’t effect a person’s personality.

What matters more than where you entered the world is where you spend time growing up. The culture you’re raised has a large impact on your personality and world view. Someone raised in Saudi Arabian culture is going to be molded by that culture. The physical land surrounding that culture doesn’t do the molding, the people living there do. Yes, geography impacts culture, but none the less, you’re not being raised by the rivers and the trees.

A perfect example would be the children of immigrants. They may be born in another country, but their parents are still the ones who raise them. Depending on how strict the parents are about keeping the traditions and culture from their homeland, the child may or may not grow up to resemble that culture.

So in essence, it doesn’t matter where you’re born. Obama could have been born in Japan, it wouldn’t make a lick of difference. He was raised in the US and thus he is American. Oh, and little know fact: John McCain was born in Panama, which is now not part of America.

4 Responses to “Why does it matter where you were born?”

  1. teo May 14, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    “What matters more than where you entered the world is where you spend time growing up.” – totally agree with you :)

    But practically it matters big time where you were born, I see that in the lives of fellow emigrants and immigrant every day. It makes a big difference if you have one or other country’s citizenship, if you are allowed to work / live here or there, if you have the right to get social securities etc. As with racism, we need to change the law in order to achieve equality, and even then it takes time to see some changes…

  2. godlesspaladin May 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Yeah, I know that practically it matters a lot to governments for those kinds of things but it’s really an arbitrary way of deciding who gets those things. Usually the most patriotic, hard working people are immigrants that choose to move to a country instead of just being born there without caring about it. :-(

  3. teo May 15, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    I can’t say that it’s “the usual”… Immigrants often simply has to work harder, because they don’t get any social securities etc.
    I know that we need to change the law somehow, but when it comes to what and how exactly I really don’t know.
    What’s the fair and equal way to make the law?
    If it’s all about what you’ve done, what do we do about children, people with disabilities, fugitives etc. Being fair is really not easy, I really don’t know how one government could do it – do you?

  4. thesecretatheist May 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    I agree, they aren’t raising the issue because they think he might not be an American citizen, it is because they resent the fact that he is in office at all. They resent this because he is a Democrat and because he is black.

    Had he spent his entire life in the US they would find some other issue stand on claiming he is not qualified. Had Hillary won the nomination and presidency in 2008 they would find some issue to stand on to claim she wasn’t qualified. The issue still wouldn’t be their problem, it would be that she is a Democrat and a woman.

    The people who want to be taken seriously can’t stand against them in racism or sexism openly in our society, so they do it through other avenues. (Yes, there were people who openly claimed both positions in the previous election, but no one took them at all seriously, that just isn’t something you do in polite company anymore.)

    When the day comes that an openly homosexual or atheist candidate has a viable bid at the White House (which will only be when it is equally unacceptable for the majority of people to openly criticize their candidacy for office on those facts alone) these same kind of people will find some similar issue to stand on claiming the candidate is not qualified. The true motivation, however, will still be their bigotry.

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