In doing research, I came across a book of essays written by first-generation Americans. I thought it would be a great resource as I explore the subject in my own writing — me, the daughter of Polish immigrants. But on closer inspection, I noticed the book used the label to refer to the immigrants who had moved to U.S.; to folks like my parents, not their children. So I did what any good researcher would do. I “Googled it out.” (Like that phrase? It’s my father’s. Take it, use it. You’re welcome.)
Across the interwebs, I found no clear consensus. Then I stumbled on this post from Southern California Public Radio that seeks the same clarification. Radio Host John Rabe explains that in an interview with Andrew Ahn, a Korean-American filmmaker, he referred to his guest as being “first generation.” Some listeners took issue with that label, saying that Ahn’s parents are the true first generation of Americans. Check out the post to see what Rabe came up with, then add to the conversation — either here, or on the SCPR website. For my part, I’m sticking with my claim on first generation. Maybe I’ve just identified myself that way for so long, it’s hard to let go. But I think it also properly conveys what I intend: that I am the first generation of my family to be born in the U.S.
What do you think?