In the wake of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s controversial statement that he “does not believe in hyphenated Americans,” Irish-American congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), has spoken out in defense of Americans who take pride in or place emphasis on their ethnic backgrounds.
"To some degree it looks like Jindal has some kind of an identity crisis. That is too bad for him," Crowley told the Press Trust of India.
"I am from New York. I am very proud of my Irish roots,” he said. “Be it Irish-American or an American Irish, there is no question that I am an American first. Maybe it is unfortunate that he feels that to overly demonstrate the fact that he is an American. I do not apologize [for] where my ancestors came from, I let it shine, I applaud it.”
In a speech he made last week in London, the Republican governor said, “I do not believe in hyphenated Americans. This view gets me into some trouble with the media back home. They like to refer to Indian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and all the rest.
"My parents came in search of the American Dream, and they caught it. To them, America was not so much a place, it was an idea. My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans. Not Indian-Americans, simply Americans.
"If we wanted to be Indians, we would have stayed in India. It's not that they are embarrassed to be from India, they love India. But they came to America because they were looking for greater opportunity and freedom," Jindal declared.
Crowley is “highly regarded” among Indian Americans, according to the India West newspaper. He was a founding member of of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans and formerly served as its co-chair.