Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dear Ann Coulter

I know, I know: when I led workshops this spring about social media and online presence for history organizations, one of my rules of thumb was "don't feed the trolls." There are people who exist in this world who will say ridiculous, outrageous, vicious things simply to garner attention. The internet is their playground.

However, given that I have talked about family history on this blog, and tracked the movements of my ancestor Richard Gustin in particular, I do have to carefully and precisely refute her recent argument that "I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer."

(I will not link to her full blog post, because it is filled with racism, nativism, and a whole boatload of particularly obnoxious privilege; Google "Ann Coulter" and "soccer" and you should hit it immediately.)

My grandfather was born in Pennsylvania, and he fought in World War II. My great-grandfather was born in Pennsylvania. His father was born in Pennsylvania. His father was born in New Jersey, and he fought in the Civil War. His father was born in Massachusetts. His father was born in Massachusetts, and he fought in the Revolutionary War.

You get the picture? That's one line of my family; the other goes back even further. I have an atypical American family tree for the lack of immigrants that show up after the 17th century. So I should be Ann Coulter's ideal American, at least for that narrow definition and example.

I love soccer. I watched a ton of the World Cup games. More to the point, both of my brothers are those fans. They play several days a week in competitive leagues. One went to college on a Division 2 soccer scholarship. They tailgate at New England Revolution games. They live and die by the fortunes of the US Team. They react in the white-knuckled, nauseated, deathly still way to a close game the way only a diehard sports fan can manage. Their heritage is the same as mine.

Again: not that it needed refuting. But I am living proof that she is flat out wrong.

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