A quick scroll through the Products page of hyphened-nation.com reveals two quotes. The first from Wayne W. Dyer states, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change”. The other is from John Quincy Adams and reads, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. These two quotes from leaders of our past represent the ultimate vision and purpose behind author Nicole Draffen’s meaningful social movement and new book, Hyphened-Nation: Don’t Check The Box.
After living abroad in the UK for a year, Draffen noticed a stark difference between the way she was treated back home and how she was treated in her temporary homeland. While in Europe, she was treated as a pure American, meaning no one referred to a hyphenated description. It’s only in the United States that we place our ethnicity before nationality. And through this practice, we continue to push separation through society in all that we do. This is a practice that she seeks to upend with her movement.
"It’s only in the United States that we place our ethnicity before nationality. And through this practice, we continue to push separation through society in all that we do."
The Hyphened-Nation book explores how hyphenation limits the economic, educational, societal, and cultural growth of those attached to ethnically specific labels. In the book, Draffen writes, “The hyphenation of your nationality minimizes your standing in the nation. The hyphen might as well act as a minus sign. Both are represented by the same symbol, and have the same consequences. Just as a minus “takes away” a numerical value, its counterpart hyphen lessens the value of your nationality.”
Thus far, readers have praised the book for its honest insight and eye-opening perspective. But the true movement goes beyond the findings of the book.
For those supporters who’ve joined the Hyphened-Nation movement, they’ve been encouraged not to check the box on applications that ask for their ethnicity. They’ve also been asked to contact their state representatives and request their support in ending the nationwide hyphenation practice. In a show of solidarity, members of the movement are wearing personalized Don’t Check the Box bracelets.
"The practice of hyphenation represents our troubled American history. The imposed separation is about so much more than politics. It’s about national pride and acceptance."
At a time when race is at the forefront of political and social discussion, the Hyphened Nation movement is one that’s necessary. Draffen’s movement is focused on tangible change that’s far more than symbolic. The practice of hyphenation represents our troubled American history. The imposed separation is about so much more than politics. It’s about national pride and acceptance.
As this positive change movement leaps forward, there are plenty of people in agreement with Hyphened-Nation’s message. The movement’s Twitter page has almost 5,000 followers and almost another 5,000 on Instagram. It’s clear that this is a message that resonates big. As we move deeper into the election year and race continues to dominate the conversation, Hyphened Nation will only continue to gain steam.
This is about truly taking pride in the diversity of America and discontinuing the destructive practice of making the ethnically diverse feel less than or different. Every American citizen should be classified as just that…American.
For more information on the Hyphened Nation movement, head to hyphened-nation.com.