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Joined: September 18, 2006  (email not validated)
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i am an immigration attorney and third-generation japanese american (i.e. grandparents immigrated, parents born here) and i find that many immigrants use the terms interchangeably and could care less about this distinction. for example, i have greek friends who loathe being called anything but "greeks living in the usa" despite having been born here in the usa and having never lived in greece. in contrast, i have other friends who bristle at being labled anything other than "american" and do not want that status qualified in any manner whatsoever.

in melting pots like new york, l.a., etc., the question, "what are you?" often begets a declaration of ethnicity followed by an explanation of one's family immigration history. so, my conclusion is that both are correct and it really comes down to a matter of preference.

*note that i did not use a hypen between japanese and american (another "issue" among ethnic groups in america)

masato September 18, 2006, 7:53am

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