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Americanish

Update: 2019-04-1924
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In 1903 the US Supreme Court refused to say that Isabel González was a citizen of the United States. Then again, they said, she wasn’t a exactly an immigrant either. And they said that the US territory of Puerto Rico, Isabel’s home, was “foreign to the United States in a domestic sense.” Since then, the US has cleared up at least some of the confusion about US territories and the status of people born in them.


But, more than a hundred years later, there is still a US territory that has been left in limbo: American Samoa. It is the only place on earth that is US soil, but people who are born there are not automatically US citizens. When we visit American Samoa, we discover that there are some pretty surprising reasons why many American Samoans prefer it that way. 


 This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria.


Special thanks to John Wasko.


Check out Sam Erman's book Almost Citizens and Doug Mack's book The Not Quite States of America.


Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate

Comments (24)

Edward Reagan

The fact that she can't understand the Samoan perspective of preserving their culture and keeping their land is hilarious. It's a simple concept and Hawaii was even given as an example. By the way just to throw stats in the mix...suicide rates are almost 3 and a half times greater in America.

May 3rd
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ABR

Ryan Persaud A lot of people just struggle with nuance and complexity. It's a widespread problem.

Aug 30th
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Lois A. Grimm

Ryan Persaud I'm a progressive liberal and I completely understand the American Samoans concerns. I think those concerns are totally valid and rooted in historical fact.

Jul 11th
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Mae Lee Arant

this basically shows racism is perpetuated by every dominate group with power.

Apr 29th
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Wendy Bruder

I agree with them about protecting their culture from the curse of the American set of ideals.

Apr 29th
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Matthew James

omg another white people are bad everyone is a victim podcast. deleting and never coming back to this rag

Apr 22nd
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Wizen Thorne

Matthew James says he's Native American. So clearly Matthew James is not white.

Sep 5th
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ABR

Matthew James Omg another whiny brat who can't handle grown-up discussions without throwing a mini-tantrum and letting everyone know. Blocking and forgetting you exist. 😂

Aug 30th
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Vince Chen

fascinating report. a small community is bound to be diluted when merged with a larger one. it is true that today Hawaii has completely lost its heritage. And it was the trade-off they made.

Apr 20th
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