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Old 05-23-2015, 12:07 AM
 
4,802 posts, read 3,841,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyGirl415 View Post
We are obviously American if we live here. Unlike many European or Asian countries, the US is very diverse and made up of people of various races and ethnicities, oftentimes mixed. Many people are second or third generation (their parents or grandparents were immigrants, especially in the Northeast where white ethnic groups are diverse) or even first generation. When we open our mouths, we know who is American and who is not based on our accents. It's not like it's unclear if we're American. But along with that, many identify with their ethnicities because we are not ETHNICALLY American - it's our nationality.

Think about it. In Italy, pretty much everyone's ethnically Italian. They'll all have very Italian first and last names and Mediterranean features, or lighter hair and skin up near the mountains. Same with England - all very Anglo in name - I can even recognize a British person by facial features. In Japan, most people are ethnically Japanese with Japanese names. In the US, you have a varied mix of names and looks. People are "mutts." We are American but we're not ETHNICALLY American, like Italians are ethnically Italian - it is both their nationality and ethnicity. Americans can be ethnically Nigerian or Haitian or Chinese or Polish or Irish or Russian or German or Colombian or a mix of anything. We are Americans by nationality but there are few ethnic (Native) Americans left today. This is why Americans tend to be hung up on ethnicity. It's a way we can identify ourselves based on our family history and culture. And if you think people don't know anything about their ethnic cultures then you don't know New Jersey Italian-Americans.
Yeah, have you ever been to England? You'd be singing a different tune if you realized how not as English it is as you think.
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Old 05-23-2015, 04:24 AM
 
12,651 posts, read 10,497,278 times
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Originally Posted by EddieOlSkool View Post
Yeah, have you ever been to England? You'd be singing a different tune if you realized how not as English it is as you think.
There are ethnic Brits in huge numbers while almost no ethnic Americans in America. That's my point.

Last edited by JMT; 05-23-2015 at 09:35 PM..
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Old 05-23-2015, 10:32 AM
 
Location: worldwide
696 posts, read 880,852 times
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OP: How do you define "American" ? Everybody has a different definition of what "American" is.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cityKing View Post
OP: How do you define "American" ? Everybody has a different definition of what "American" is.
The same way one defines English, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, etc.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:52 PM
 
4,802 posts, read 3,841,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyGirl415 View Post
There are ethnic Brits in huge numbers while almost no ethnic Americans in America. That's my point.
So? There are little to no ethnic West Indians. The natives of the West Indies have large been displaced or killed off in the cases of nations like Jamaica, Haiti, and the Bahamas. Doesn't stop people there from calling themselves Jamaicans, etc. Who were the true ethnic Jamaicans? Arawak Indians who are practically extinct for the most part. They are the true Jamaicans but nobody bats an eyelash at non-native people of West African descent calling themselves Jamaicans. They're not originally from Jamaica as my ancestors aren't originally from the US. But why are they allowed to be ethnic Jamaicans while I can't be an ethnic American? It's such a stupid double standard.

Last edited by JMT; 05-23-2015 at 09:36 PM..
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Old 05-23-2015, 02:20 PM
 
Location: MD's Eastern Shore
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I'm satisfied being American. I didn't immigrate here, I was born here. Therefore I am 100% pure American. No hyphenated crap! My mom was born in Norway and moved here over 50 years ago when she was in her 20's and even she has called herself an American my whole life.
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Old 05-23-2015, 03:57 PM
 
12,651 posts, read 10,497,278 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieOlSkool View Post
So? There are little to no ethnic West Indians. The natives of the West Indies have large been displaced or killed off in the cases of nations like Jamaica, Haiti, and the Bahamas. Doesn't stop people there from calling themselves Jamaicans, etc. Who were the true ethnic Jamaicans? Arawak Indians who are practically extinct for the most part. They are the true Jamaicans but nobody bats an eyelash at non-native people of West African descent calling themselves Jamaicans. They're not originally from Jamaica as my ancestors aren't originally from the US. But why are they allowed to be ethnic Jamaicans while I can't be an ethnic American? It's such a stupid double standard.
You can be whatever you want to call yourself. I don't give a damn what you call yourself, just like people shouldn't give a damn what I or anyone else calls themselves. It's a free country for a reason. We are not persecuted for who we are or how we identify - at least we shouldn't be.
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:06 PM
 
4,802 posts, read 3,841,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyGirl415 View Post
You can be whatever you want to call yourself. I don't give a damn what you call yourself, just like people shouldn't give a damn what I or anyone else calls themselves. It's a free country for a reason. We are not persecuted for who we are or how we identify - at least we shouldn't be.
You didn't address the main point, that there's a double standard that makes no sense.
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:33 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
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Even though im german and irish I always have reffered to, and identified with being American. Born here, raised here and its all I know. Never been to either country my ancestors are from and have no attachment to them otherwise. I understand why some talk more about where their from being more culturally or emotionally attached.. or they just think its cool, no idea. I just know I have always stated just plain american.
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Old 05-23-2015, 10:16 PM
 
12,651 posts, read 10,497,278 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieOlSkool View Post
You didn't address the main point, that there's a double standard that makes no sense.
Fine. Enjoy this novel I'm about to write you, but you asked for it. Apparently I have to spell it out for you so here goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieOlSkool View Post
So? There are little to no ethnic West Indians. The natives of the West Indies have large been displaced or killed off in the cases of nations like Jamaica, Haiti, and the Bahamas. Doesn't stop people there from calling themselves Jamaicans, etc. Who were the true ethnic Jamaicans? Arawak Indians who are practically extinct for the most part. They are the true Jamaicans but nobody bats an eyelash at non-native people of West African descent calling themselves Jamaicans. They're not originally from Jamaica as my ancestors aren't originally from the US. But why are they allowed to be ethnic Jamaicans while I can't be an ethnic American? It's such a stupid double standard.
Ethnic Americans are Native Americans. One is not ethnically American unless they are Native American and can trace their roots back tens of thousands of years at most to ancestors who lived in what is now this country. All white Americans are ethnically European of some sort. American is our nationality. We are a new country (not even 300 years old, officially) of immigrants. This is not news - or should not be news.

Many Southerners self-report as being "American" rather than whatever European ethnicity their ancestors were. This is because many Southerners are descendents of some of the earliest Americans and cannot trace their roots or identify with their ancestral cultures or traditions. They may not even know what countries their ancestors came from, their families have been here for so long. This is similar to the Caribbean. It's been hundreds of years since slaves were brought to the Caribbean. People probably don't even know which African country their ancestors came from anymore - for various reasons, including time and lack of records. Thus, ancestors of immigrants are referred to - or self-referred to - as ethnic Jamaican, or whatever. Same with some Americans - the oldest families have totally lost their European ethnic traditions and now consider themselves ethnically American.

OTOH, the Northeastern U.S. is and always has been an immigration hub. This is where (I find) ethnic ties are strongest. Many Northeasterners are ethnic whites whose parents or grandparents were immigrants. They or their parents or grandparents grew up in ethnic inner city neighborhoods, like in New York or Newark (before only fleeing to the suburbs in like the 60s), where the Italians stuck together or the Polish stuck together because they were new immigrants, or their parents were new immigrants and that's just how things worked back then. There were white ethnic neighborhoods, like now there are minority ethnic neighborhoods in cities. Who congregates in urban areas has changed, but the idea of sticking together by ethnicity has not. This is nothing new. Because many Northeastern families are relatively new to America, ethnic ties are stronger. Many of us still have family we actually talk to in Italy or Russia or Ireland. This does not make us any less American.

I am one of the most patriotic people I know - seriously, I am. I majored in history because of my love for American history and minored in political science because I love this country. I am proud to be an American. I support our troops 110% and simply love this country, the Constitution, our laws, the flag, I tear up during the National Anthem and when we stand and clap for veterans or those who are in between tours who are meticulously honored at Mets games for their service. I cry like a baby watching soldier surprise homecoming videos and I am incredibly proud to talk about my country (and state!) to anyone who will ask, especially foreigners, and dispel any stupid stereotypes or rumors. But I am also proud to be of Italian descent, to have known my great grandmother who migrated from Sicily and spoke to me in Italian when I was a young child. To have grown up eating pasta multiple times a week and having Sunday dinners at grandma's. I love hearing my grandma curse in Italian and sharing family recipes or old pictures, or discussing with my grandparents what their parents first did when they arrived here and what life was like for them. I was proud when my grandparents took me to Italy that my grandma speaks Italian, which helped us get by - and I was relieved too!

I'm proud that my grandpa on the other side of my family survived growing up in Germany during WWII and that they were able to escape and return here. I'm proud my grandpa speaks German and still talks to old family friends in his still reeling riverside German town that still suffers effects of the war to this day. I'm proud that my mother took one of those family friends to the top of One World Trade Center on her first visit to the U.S. in 1992 and showed her the beautiful views of New York City from one of our best buildings that was unfortunately destroyed in a terrorist attack a decade later (a terrorist attack that STILL makes my blood boil and makes me incredibly sad, and when I see pictures of those cowardly terrorists I want to kill them all with my bare hands even though they're already dead). I'm proud of my roots on all sides because they're still fresh and any figurative wounds or physical family ties still new or relevant.

Eventually, if and when immigration ever stops or slows so that generations have been here so long they don't even know when their ancestors came and where they came from, we can all consider ourselves ethnically American like the Jamaicans or Bahamians. But this will never happen because this country was built for immigrants, by immigrants. People all over the world would do anything to come here, and many do every day. They risk their lives to cross a desert - ethnic Mexicans or Colombians - just for a stupid low paying, low skill, manual labor job. Ethnic Cubans trying to cross 90 miles on a raft. Ethnic Chinese having their babies in California homes or hotels that harbor illegal immigrants who give birth here, to anchor babies - it is literally a business. Ethnicity will always matter here because of the history of this country and the constant immigration. Ethnicities have always been part of and told classic American stories - the Chinese building the railroads in the West, the Irish and Italians working in New York City in the poorest jobs possible while living in the worst slums possible, and their prevalence in unionized city construction, fire, and police jobs, to name just a few - but so will our nationality - and to many (like me) the nationality matters more.

If you take issue with the way my family or I lives in my life in the United States or with what I am proud of, just because I enjoy my heritage and ethnicity, YOU have a problem. Not me. There is no double standard. We are a rather unique country with a history and characteristics that make us a place people flock to. There will always be new arrivals and first generation Americans of various ethnicities, and for the next few generations, ethnic ties in white ethnic populations will continue to flourish. It's just the way it is. Don't like it? Well, bye. We cannot be compared to Jamaica. People don't risk their lies to migrate to Jamaica like they pretty much always have to come here. It's a totally different situation, different country, different history, different future.

Last edited by JerseyGirl415; 05-23-2015 at 10:45 PM..
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