I can appreciate the reaction to what reads like asserting Anerican as freedom. Having been a few years since reading the novel, I ought to refer to the source before commenting…

But I’m not convinced Doctorow is suggesting this. The novel takes place in Anerica. Put it somewhere else and someone would make the assertion– it’s not about asserting Anericans, it’s about asserting ones status as a (persecuted) citizen.

But as a white male American I also am privileged to not be suspect at first glance. I am also embarrassingly aware of this, and really cannot imagine beyond some wild empathy guessing what it feels like. Sadly as we always are physically, culturally different, it’s hard to imagine this changing. What we can change is our own attitudes.