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Thread summary:

Human Ancestry: America, football, barbecue, immigrants, house.

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Old 06-19-2011, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Cleveland bound with MPLS in the rear-view
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My wife's grandparents both were survived-victims of the Holocaust and they celebrate Polish Jewish heritage so as not to forget their past.....if that's lame, I don't care, it's totally appropriate to celebrate the lives of those who escape with their own, as well as their children/grandchildren. That being said, if Europeans/Africans/Asians/etc. want to mock us for celebrating part of our heritage, who cares???? Jealous haters is what they are....AND muts themselves, especially in Europe!
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Cleveland bound with MPLS in the rear-view
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
Yeah I'd think being mixed doesn't necessarily mean your ancestry is unimportant to you. Although I think America is a country where, among those here for multiple generations, you don't have to care about your ancestry if you don't want to. Particularly if you're "white." I'm Scottish, English, Belgian, Dutch, and maybe some German. I feel little or no connection to any of those cultures. (Some to Scottish, but that's before I knew I had any Scottish ancestry)

However even in the kind of small-town white world I live people may choose to care about their ancestry. There was an Irish-American family who moved in, ran the bar for a bit, and were totally "Irish" with it. Lots of Celtic-punk and Irish music which drove people away. One of my teachers was of Serbian ancestry and it seemed to matter to him some. People would think he was Italian and he'd correct them, also it was the early 1990s so he had some non-standard views of the war there as a Serbian-American. However his family had been here for generations and he wasn't Serbian Orthodox or anything. The only thing odd about his speech was he said "you know what I'm saying" alot, but I don't know if that's a Serbian thing.
Particularly if you are white? Depends where you are. In Chicago, where my Polish side of the family is from, my Mother is 2nd generation, I am 3rd. Although normally I wouldn't care about being 3rd generation, my Grandparents force-feed us Polish food and vernacular so we don't forget who we are. If you are white in the South, you may have been in this country for 6 or 7 generations, so then I suppose it probably isn't so important to you. BUT, if you are black, chances are you ancestry is equally as distant and hence, less important. I have a black friend from the Ivory Coast, Africa, and I don't think he has anything in common with other blacks in the Twin Cities who are NOT from Africa directly. In fact, that is pretty much who he hangs out with, besides myself and a handful of other co-workers who he has met along the way.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:35 AM
 
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
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Yeah I wasn't quite sure on that. Being Black in America often means you're specific ancestry is unknown, but I would say you're generalized ancestry would matter.

Let's say you're a Polish-American from Chicago named Adam Sadowski. Well if you move to KC you can say you're of Belarussian or Lithuanian ancestry, or just not say anything, and people may not think you're Polish. If you're a Black guy from Chicago and you move to KC telling them you're Egyptian or Melanesian or even Dominican is probably not going to fly. And people may consider you "Black" even if you're a bit more Italian than Black.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:20 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
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Originally Posted by Futcha View Post
We watch MTV, we call McDonald's "going out to eat," we barbecue, and we watch football (the American one).
I don't do 4 out of 5 of those things (and yes, I'm American). Please stop lumping everyone into the same group as you.

You also have to understand that researching one's genealogy isn't necessarily about our current culture. I research my ancestry because I love history and I love the "detective" work involved in tracking down info and records - and I simply love learning about my ancestors... who they were, where they came from, how they lived, where they lived, etc. It probably has nothing to do with my current culture but so what? These people are still my ancestors - why shouldn't I know about them? Just because they are a mix of different cultures, they shouldn't interest me? Surely, that makes them all the more interesting!
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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I guess it depends on where you are from. I remember a friend from Michigan in school in NYC that thought it was very strange and almost rude that everyone asked what ethnicity he was. As far as he was concerned he was just "American". But to those of us from NY, NJ, Philly, Boston everyone knew what their ancestry was and was proud of it. Many have parents and grandparents that were born in Italy, Ireland, Carribean, etc and are very much connected to the traditions of their culture.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:49 AM
 
Location: The City
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Originally Posted by 2e1m5a View Post
I guess it depends on where you are from. I remember a friend from Michigan in school in NYC that thought it was very strange and almost rude that everyone asked what ethnicity he was. As far as he was concerned he was just "American". But to those of us from NY, NJ, Philly, Boston everyone knew what their ancestry was and was proud of it. Many have parents and grandparents that were born in Italy, Ireland, Carribean, etc and are very much connected to the traditions of their culture.

Agree and while I would first and foremost consider myself to be an American i still feel pretty well connected to my Italian and Irish heritage (I am 50/50 with both side being seperated by 2 generations or less). I still have family in both Italy and Ireland which I am in contact with. My family still retains elements of both countries traditions and i do feel a personal association to both countries. Personally though i wish i retained more of the Italian language of which I am pretty deficient and can only get by; though it does come back after a few days there.

I do think this is more felt in areas with higher concentrations where the traditions are more mainstream in the area
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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My thoughts...

first of all I am interested in ancestry for historical purposes... that said. I am fully American, and if anyone asked I'd say American.


We are distinct, I don't know if I would say that the list applies to everyone (I hate football, I don't consider Mcdonalds going out to eat, etc..) but we still have a distinctly American culture.

Still I think we are a melting pot, and even with a disconnect from our culture, I think the fact the US is such a melting pot its why people look at their roots and may try to connect in some ways.... other countries don't have this as much as us, though with globalization I look for that to change unfortunately.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
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I do think it starts to get kind of pointless when people start naming off 27 European countries and claim to have a connection, when it gets to that it's pointless. If you still celebrate your ancestors' culture and live it at home, then you might claim it. I am not really sure whether to call myself American or Cuban, I usually say Cuban when I'm in the US and American when I'm outside. I grew up with very Cuban parents and have eaten all the traditional food and done all of the things I would have done in Cuba, I already speak with the accent (in Spanish) despite having only been there a couple of times. It's not that I'm ashamed of my ancestry, but I think that most people abroad would consider me to be very American, however most Americans whose families have lived here for longer might not see me as truly "American", if you get what I'm saying. I guess I split right down the middle. Perhaps as time goes on I will consider myself more American, but I will not let go of my ancestry after just 20 years of my family living in this country. My children might consider themselves fully American, I still cling to both cultures.

Hmm, I think the OP might have meant something else. I think ancestry becomes meaningless if it goes too far back. This might not be a good example, but if I start calling my self Spanish, and then Arab, and Portuguese, and all this other stuff it stops making sense, imo. Perhaps my ancestors were born in some of these places. I have no connections with them.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Futcha View Post
What do you think?

My view:

Nowadays, we're all mutts. And if not, we're all pure Americans. We have established our own way of life, our own culture. Sure, festivities will take place for a day or two here and there, but many Americans use that as an excuse to get out of the house for a while, not to embrace and thank the people that came before you on Earth. We watch MTV, we call McDonald's "going out to eat," we barbecue, and we watch football (the American one).

100 years ago, ancestry may have been a little important, but even then you're in a new country, a diverse one, and you do the same hard labor as the next guy. Now, everybody is one big race... For all I know, my ancestry is Irish, British, Chinese, African, Mexican, Arabian, Turkish, Swiss, Russian, and Italian. With such a large family, I don't see why it's not possible... But who cares? My grandparents are from Naples, Italy... I'd love to go there, but I don't live like that, I live like an American... Well, more like a New Yorker. I watch the Yankees, Giants, Rangers, and Knicks... I watch ESPN, MTV, the YES Network (Yankees channel), and MSG. I listen to hip hop and some rock, etc. and I love walking.

Ancestry is really becoming a meaningless sidenote in America today. We're mutts. lol We like to call ourselves Irish, Italian, or German but we're now just Americans.
I understand what you are trying to say. But . . .

No, ancestry is not really meaningless. People are still influenced by their parents, who are influenced by their parents, who are strongly influenced by their parents.

Yes, you may not live like someone in Naples Italy, but yet there is a distinct Italian-AMERICAN influence that might give an individual its value system, a tendency to have skills passed odnw, etc.

Are there more locally owned mom and pop pizzerias in your area of New York?? That may not be what people eat in Naples, however, the strong Italian heritage in New York does may locally owned pizza places more common there than say Texas, where there was relatively little Italian immigration.

The fact that the two largest beer companies in America are located in the two cities in America that have the largest % of people with German ancestry is no suprised.

There are many more examples. And you would be suprised to know how many people are not that mixed.

The fact that Jews have a higher average income than Italian or Irish Americans, although maybe just an average, is related to ancestry.

And then these groups had different relationships between different groups too. For example Jews go along much better with blacks, than the Irish did.
The Irish were much more resisting integration then when that failed they moved further out, whereas Jews were more welcoming to upwardly mobile blacks, and today stable middle class areas were formerly Jewish, and the impoverished crime-ridden areas were often Irish.

I will say for example that some parts of America are very mixed, as they are largely transplants without much neighborhood history, (such as California) but I would say most of the older cities and towns of the midwest and northeast are much more colored in many subtle ways by the people that immigrated there decades ago.

Read "Ethnic America: A history" by Thomas Sowell. Its a little dated (1981) but he talks about the influence and legacy that different ethnic groups left. Why some have been more succesful than others and in which lines of work, etc.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:29 PM
 
Location: MO
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Ancestry has alot to do with some people. People are influenced by their ancestries more than they realize when it comes to local customs and traditions. There are still many people that are nearly 100% of one ancestry in certain regions of the country.
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