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April 29th, 2010
12:00 PM ET

'I assert my Americanness proudly ... even defiantly'

Gregory Rodriguez
Special to CNN

Rodriguez: It's the nature of being American that allows pursuit of ambitions, identities

Rodriguez: It's the nature of being American that allows pursuit of ambitions, identities

There's nothing like traveling abroad to learn what it means to be American and what being American means to everyone else who is not. I lived in Europe for a year when I was 14, and two unpleasant instances brought the complicated nature of our national identity into sharp relief.

The first happened at a party. After finding out I was American, a young Italian hipster suddenly started attacking me for my country's voracious, imperialist appetite. She cited chapter and verse: interventions in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Opinion
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