What comes to mind when someone is described as "all-American"? They're probably physically healthy, maybe blonde, and definitely white. This image isn't neutral: By associating the American identity with whiteness, we allow whiteness to dictate our definition of "normal," of "us" versus "other." This is dangerous to people who don't have that "all-American" look.
But what if our idea of "all-American" was actually . . . all-American? Identity is a multitude; reading more broadly into the American experience can help us create a truer, less oppressive image of who is considered American. The following list collects a few of the infinite narratives that complicate our understanding of the "all-American" identity. They encapsulate what I hope is a wide berth of experiences, genres, and intersections—written from people who identify as American or have experienced the reality of living in the U.S.