4395 - A Continental American: The Quest for Human Dignity

All Americans in the continent have always struggled for human dignity. But the same factors that hide this history of shared values also lead to the accumulation of power in the hands of the few across the American Continent. I propose that understanding of the interdependence that defines us as Continental Americans is critical for the well being of present and future generations. While there is a general sense of what we mean by Europe, Asia, Africa, or Australia, the term “America” immediately fragments into a variety of meanings: you mean from the U.S.A. or from South America? The fact is, anyone from any country in the American continent from Canada to Argentina and including the Caribbean countries is technically an “American.” This leads to the question: What power relations operate behind the difficulty of imagining or fabricating the concept of a Continental American?




Behind this question one finds a Military-Industrial-Entertainment Complex that through cultural hegemony, hides the fact that all peoples in the American continent have been struggling for human dignity for centuries using a variety of strategies depending on their own circumstances. These struggles continue today and are evident in a series of linked issues: increasing wealth inequality, a global labor force with declining protection and a forced economic legal and illegal migration (both of which set the stage for to attacks on illegal immigrants). What makes this a critical and ethical situation is that these interconnected issues are erupting in a world of declining resources. At the very least to be an “American” in the Western Hemisphere is problematic because we perceive ourselves as islands in an archipelago, not a continental commons. The concept of a Continental American is not intended to erase the different customs of the diverse peoples in the continent but to bring to light the historical debt we owe to those Continental Americans who have fought for human dignity.

Keywords: Continental identity, dignity, military-industrial-complex

Author: HERNANDEZ VAZQUEZ, FRANCISCO (Sonoma State University, Ud States of Am / USA)


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