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Old 04-06-2012, 12:42 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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It's still very common 'round these parts to know what your "heritage" is, as most people in northern Minnesota are at least partially descended from immigrants who arrived in the U.S. 100 to 150 years ago - during the era of mass immigration from Europe. It's not used at all in a negative way, though, especially considering that most below age 60 are a melange of nationalities.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:52 AM
Status: "Nobody's right if everybody's wrong" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
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I never hear people in Central Kentucky discuss that because people here have been ethnically mixed for hundreds of years before even coming to Kentucky. No one in my family knew too much about our origins until I did a family tree, turns out we descend from England (arrived in the 1500s), Dutch (arrived in the 1500s), Scottish & Protestant Irish Settlers (arrived in the 1700s), German (arrived in the 1700s), Welsh (arrived in the 1700s), and a couple of French branches (arrived in the 1700s). I found only one ancestor who came to America after the Rev. War.

Of course most Black Kentuckians descend from ethnically mixed African slaves who arrived from 1500 to 1800. Their ethnic roots could lie anywhere from Ghana to Angola and it's basically impossible for them to trace anyway.

So anyways around here most people are just "Americans". Cultural divides are based on sports, race, and the region of the state you live in.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:41 AM
 
Location: south central
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Sightly relevant anecdote: I was in a class about a year ago and talking to a girl and I commented on her ability to speak Arabic. She said "I'm from Lebanon." I was surprised because she was so very American and in fact so very Boston. But anyways I said "So when did you come here?" She looked at me as if I had just told her she was ugly and said "I was born here."

My family comes from...my heritage/background is. Don't see I am from if that's not where you are from. It make other people look like asses.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:26 PM
 
985 posts, read 3,261,607 times
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Default Blanquura

Quote:
Originally Posted by AuburnAL View Post
My guess is that in those states you were historically either white, mexican, black, or indian. They had divisions, but they just didn't have many divisions among white people except for mexicans and everyone else. If you fell in the non-mexican white category you were at the top of the heap anyways so you weren't about to go telling people you were Irish or Dutch or something since they might decide your group didn't belong at the top if you made people aware you were some other group.
That's a good point.

Have you read "How the Irish became White"?


"Where are you from?" is an interesting question because when posed to AsianAmericans and Latinos, especially those who don't look White and don't have a White sounding name, you usually expect a foreign country as an answer.

I used to have an objection with the term "People of Color" because I thought White people are not "colorless", but in a sense they are in America.
You don't question their belonging or "nativeness", unlike AsianAmericans even in the 2nd or 3rd generation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neutre View Post
Hawaii is unique among the States for having the highest percentage of Asians and lowest of Whites, so Asians are more or less "normalized" there.
In the rest of the States and in the Anglo media in general, Asians have been portrayed as exotic and as perpetual foreigners, and associated with characteristics that were deemed feminine in the Anglo society. In combination with White male being the representation of normalcy and power, it's no wonder that in the US Mainland Asian females ended up pairing up with White males, while the opposite has been happening in a much lower scale.
Very similar pattern was also discernible within the gay community, with Asians being the passive part.

The OP and aggrocrag mentioned it in their posts.
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Originally Posted by Johnhw2 View Post
My experience was in Tx and Ok long ago when growing up was "what are you never came up". Native Americans roots were recognised but not Euro roots.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aggrocrag View Post
Yeah, in Miami "Where are you from?" means "What country are you or your parents from?" It's a question that gets asked a lot. I still ask the question most cities I go to if I notice that someone has an accent or looks "foreign". I don't ask a traditionally "White" American their ethnic roots though, besides you can figure it out by their last name most of the time.

There have been estimates that up to 40% of undocumented a.k.a. illegal immigrants in the US are White, mostly people from Europe who just overstayed. Yet the picture of an illegal immigrant we have or are presented with 90% of the times are "Brown".

I also remember a talk where people were asked to picture an "All-American guy or girl", and most of them, regardless of their race, pictured a White person, and in the case of the girl most of the times she had blond or light brown hair.

I'm sure that this is evolving, but the tendency is still relatively strong.

So to answer the OP's question, I guess it's still true, and it's pretty unlikely that it's going to change in the sense of people asking more about one's ethnicity if you're White. For Whites, the trend has been for "blending in".
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
It's still very common 'round these parts to know what your "heritage" is, as most people in northern Minnesota are at least partially descended from immigrants who arrived in the U.S. 100 to 150 years ago - during the era of mass immigration from Europe. It's not used at all in a negative way, though, especially considering that most below age 60 are a melange of nationalities.
Yes, I knew a woman from Minnesota who was Frehch, Polish and Icelandic, which is about as varied as you can get and still be European.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:06 PM
 
Location: the dairyland
1,195 posts, read 1,925,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BitofEndearment View Post

My family comes from...my heritage/background is. Don't see I am from if that's not where you are from. It make other people look like asses.
Yup, agreed. Same happened to me frequently in Wisconsin when I told people that I was German (for real that is, citizenship and stuff ) and had moved there. My response was usually: Nice, so do you speak any German? Ever been there? Know anything about the culture? Well, then, besides your last name there is nothing German about you.
It is interesting how Americans know so much about their pedigrees though. Back in Europe almost no one knows about things that go further back than their grand parents, or perhaps great grand parents.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:28 PM
 
Location: plano
6,565 posts, read 8,094,240 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuburnAL View Post
My guess is that in those states you were historically either white, mexican, black, or indian. They had divisions, but they just didn't have many divisions among white people except for mexicans and everyone else. If you fell in the non-mexican white category you were at the top of the heap anyways so you weren't about to go telling people you were Irish or Dutch or something since they might decide your group didn't belong at the top if you made people aware you were some other group.

Whereas in the northeast historically you just had a lot of white people so the divisions between white people were more important because until the early 1900s you didn't see very many black people even in cities like New York City or Chicago.
Im older than you must think from that guess. There was only one Spanish speaking person in my home town, she is now my mother in law. Now there are many more in that OK town. Houston was predominately either black or white in those days. Spanish speakers were no where near as abundant as they are today even in Houston. I worked for an international company but few moved from one country to another to work in those days. I didnt know what I was other than American and the same was true of those I worked. Most of us had been in the USA for generations so our heritage didnt come up in Ok or Tx. The neighborhoods had no ethnic concentration like I ran into in Pa and the NE. I believe the NE and Pa were much more focused or concerned about heritage then Texans or Oklahomans despite the stereotypes I hear on CD at times about those locations. A recent study showed Houston and Dallas now to be more integrated and diverse than other cities. It seems to me those seeds were sown long ago. I cant explain it really.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,609 posts, read 3,150,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob702 View Post
Yup, agreed. Same happened to me frequently in Wisconsin when I told people that I was German (for real that is, citizenship and stuff ) and had moved there. My response was usually: Nice, so do you speak any German? Ever been there? Know anything about the culture? Well, then, besides your last name there is nothing German about you.
It is interesting how Americans know so much about their pedigrees though. Back in Europe almost no one knows about things that go further back than their grand parents, or perhaps great grand parents.
Yeah, something that shocked me when I first came to the US from India. Back home we speak different languages in different states, and rarely marry between states, so almost everyone is "genetically pure", so to speak. And no one knows (or cares) anything about ancestors more than 3 generations back.

I don't see how knowing about ancestors 2 centuries ago helps though (unless they are very famous). You might not share any qualities, good or bad, with them.
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
2,331 posts, read 3,052,638 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asubram3 View Post
Yeah, something that shocked me when I first came to the US from India. Back home we speak different languages in different states, and rarely marry between states, so almost everyone is "genetically pure", so to speak. And no one knows (or cares) anything about ancestors more than 3 generations back.

I don't see how knowing about ancestors 2 centuries ago helps though (unless they are very famous). You might not share any qualities, good or bad, with them.
I think in countries with long histories that history helps root people into their society. The US doesn't have a long history so people use their family history as a proxy.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
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I grew up in Texas. I don't remember anyone discussing their heritage. I recall at one time when I was in elementary school our various heritages being discussed. I asked my mom what we were. She said our last name was Scottish and that her maiden name was Irish. Much later as an adult I learned that my maiden name was not Scottish. It was Irish. No one even knew what we really were.
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