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Old 04-02-2012, 06:07 PM
 
Location: plano
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I lived 28 years before anyone asked me what my ethnic roots were.

Is that because parts of the country ignore or simple do not know their roots? Or is it because the roots have been lost due to time passing and not living around others of that root?

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.

Is that still true? If so which part of the country and why?
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:38 PM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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Where I grew up, it was often one of the first questions you were asked when meeting a new person, "What are you?", "What's your nationality?", That sort of thing.

Probably because there was a lot of cultural diversity and recent immigration. My neighborhood was Italian/Irish/Black/Portuguese/Brazilian/Jamaican/Puerto Rican with a smattering of about 20 other backgrounds.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:40 PM
 
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It's pretty common up here to ask people what they are, it comes up often. Growing up in Iowa we certainly all knew our roots, and I was aware of what most of my neighbors were.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
Where I grew up, it was often one of the first questions you were asked when meeting a new person, "What are you?", "What's your nationality?", That sort of thing.

Probably because there was a lot of cultural diversity and recent immigration. My neighborhood was Italian/Irish/Black/Portuguese/Brazilian/Jamaican/Puerto Rican with a smattering of about 20 other backgrounds.
Growing up in two of America's largest cities, EVERYBODY asked that question of EVERYBODY ELSE. You would not ask that in some of America's "up and coming" newer cities. It has been pointed out to me. Unless you're 100%, 25/75, or 50/50 or for some reason up on your genealogy, there are a lot of people that consider this question inappropriate. I always wonder what nationality people are, though sometimes I am reluctant to ask.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
Growing up in two of America's largest cities, EVERYBODY asked that question of EVERYBODY ELSE. You would not ask that in some of America's "up and coming" newer cities. It has been pointed out to me. Unless you're 100%, 25/75, or 50/50 or for some reason up on your genealogy, there are a lot of people that consider this question inappropriate. I always wonder what nationality people are, though sometimes I am reluctant to ask.
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.
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:05 PM
 
3,806 posts, read 5,201,972 times
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Quote:
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.
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.
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Phoenix Arizona
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People in the East seem more concerned with that.
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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I grew up in a town where a majority of the people were Dutch, and of a Calvinist religious persuasion that would not let you forget it. Everyone knew who was a Hollander and who wasn't, but aside from that, everyone was the same. Then I went to college in Louisiana, where everybody either was or wasn't a Cajun, and that was pretty obvious, by their surname alone if not their accent. But again, the non-Cajuns were not subdivided. In both of the above, nobody was ever discriminated against for their roots, but everyone knew which side their roots were on.

I've found it increasingly common recently for young people to not even know their mother's maiden name. Or if the father is absent, to not know anything about their father's background.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:38 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
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I don't know the ethnic roots of my town because most people here came from someplace else. It's a heavy duty government/government contractor town.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:32 AM
 
56,660 posts, read 80,952,685 times
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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.
Actually, this isn't necessarily true. For instance, NY had slavery until 1827 and there has always been Black communities in the cities up here. In fact cities like Syracuse and Saratoga Springs actually had higher Black percentages in parts of the early, mid and late 19th century versus the mid 20th century. You have to remember that many European ethnic groups didn't really kick in until the late 1800's and many Blacks came by way of the Underground Railroad to Northern and Canandian cities prior to this immigration too. So, Northern cities have long established Black communities as well.
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