Question about heritage/ethnicity

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by milos_mommy, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    These, are, to me, pretty different.

    A friend's boyfriend today told me he's Australian. I said "Like Aboriginal?" and he said "no, my great grandfather and his family lived in Sydney, I don't know how they got there." I said "that doesn't make you Australian!"

    He said it does, and even if he moved to another country to have children, they would still be American because that's where he, his parents, and grandparents were born.

    I would not consider my children American, in that case. Yes, America is part of their heritage, but THEY aren't American. Like my ex's family moved from Russia to Canada, and then to America. He considered himself Russian, not Russian-Canadian! If friend's bf was born in Australia, maybe I could see that calling himself Australian, but he wasn't.

    So, if your ancestors, born of a certain ethnicity, moved to X country, and then somewhere new, would you consider X as part of your heritage or ethnicity?
     
  2. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    My grandpa was Piikani Blackfoot. He was born in New Brunswick and a bunch of our cousins live on the reserve in Alberta. But I've never considered myself Canadian or thought of it was being part of my ethnicity even though my ancestors were aboriginal Canadian. Just Blackfoot. :dunno:

    It's funny though, because my other grandpa is Greek and we identify, culturally, really heavily with that family. There's a ton of clan pride and everything, and most of us consider ourselves "Greek" even if we've never been there. I think a big part of that is the clan thing though. We have cousins in Greece and are a pretty close knit bunch for being halfway around the world from each other.
     
  3. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Yes, but you ARE Greek and Blackfoot. Lol. Lets say your grandparents, who were Greek, moved to France for a while before moving to America.

    Would you say you're "Blackfoot, Greek, and French"? Or still just Blackfoot and Greek?
     
  4. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    I'm not sure what you mean by to you they are different, as they are different by definition.

    The place where you were born, be it Canada, the US, Australia, whatever.. Determines your heritage. For example, I'm Canadian.

    Your ethnicity has to do more with your culture and language. For example, my mom is French Canadian.

    Your heritage has to do with where your ancestors are from. For example, I have ancestors from Ireland and Scotland mainly.
     
  5. Assamiea

    Assamiea New Member

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    Both of my parents were born in Guyana, South America. My dad moved directly from Guyana to Canada and my mom moved from Guyana to England, where she lived for a few years then immigrated to Canada.

    My parents are Guyanese. I was born in Canada and consider myself Canadian of Guyanese descent, not Guyanese as I wasn't born in Guyana. Now in everyday conversation, people will ask what my background is and I say that my parents are Guyanese but I was born in Canada. If I'm in another country (like the US) and people ask I say that I'm Canadian.

    I don't consider my mom as being British since she lived in England and I don't consider it part of my heritage or ethnicity.
     
  6. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    I mean I don't use them interchangeably, which apparently most of my FB friends do...

    So if your heritage is "where your ancestors are from" is it your ancestor's ethnicity (which I consider to be not only about culture but also about genetics), or is it acceptable to consider any place your ancestors lived your heritage?

    When speaking about heritage, I'd say something like "I am from" or "my family came from" or "my ancestors lived XYZ". I would not say "I am ____" because to me, that implies ethnicity.
     
  7. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Well, my family is not native to Texas but my family has lived there for many generations. They were one of the first European people to settle there and have lived there while TX was part of Mexico and while it was it's own country.

    It's obviously not an ethnicity or anything like that. But the people that have moved away still keep a lot of the Texan culture as far as cuisine and traditions and things like that go.

    Anyways, that's a small example compared to different nationalities, but I think if a family moves and stays in one place for generations then it can become part of your family 'heritage'.
     
  8. ChristineB

    ChristineB New Member

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    I agree with that. Having lived in Europe I realize that although I have french reletives, German relatives and other European relatives, I am American. I am of German and French decent, but I am all American. The cultures you are raised in really affect who you are.
     
  9. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I'd say ethnicity follows genetic heritage; nationality or sometimes even culture where you grew up or were born?
     
  10. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    This.

    For me, ethnicity is more of an ancestor "mother-land" kind of thing. Nationality and culture is where you are from.

    Example: My little cousin is adopted from the Philippines. That is her ethnicity. but her nationality and culture are both American (it's where her family lives, where she grew up, etc..etc..)

    Hell, some of my little adopted cousins even consider Haiti to be a part of their nationality/culture..since that's our ethnicity lol I think it works.
     
  11. Jules

    Jules Magic, motherf@%$*#!

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    It drives me crazy when people tell me they are German when they were born on the States, don't speak German, have never been (well, or lived) there and just label themselves German instead of American. My family originally comes from France. I don't consider myself French, I'm German (was born and raised there).

    Not sure if it's just me, but I meet a lot of people who will say "I'm 20% British, 10% French, 25% Russian" ... Etc.
     
  12. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    So wait. Let me get this straight, I'm not South African because white people don't come from here? Or am I understanding you incorrectly?
     
  13. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    I dunno, I mean my family immigrated to the U.S. six generations ago and literally did the whole trudging through the forested swamps of the area and cleared an area and built a town there. My brother now lives in the house that my great-great-great-great grandfather and his wife built after helping to found the town.

    And my family would still consider themselves Germanic. Not German per se...there's no mistaking that...but our traditions and cultural heritage and that of the area where I grew up is very Germanic. Low country Germanic, to be specific. I don't speak low German nor do my parents, but my grandparents and most of their local generation still do. During WWII, speaking any form of German was frowned upon so there is a sudden and rather distinct linguistic generational gap.
     
  14. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    I'll say that I'm Greek, French, etc. even though I have never been to those places. But my ancestors are from there.

    I would not say "I am from Greece" or "I am from France".

    Fran - as far as having step/adopted family, I'll say "my family is from Ireland" or "my family is from Italy", the cultures and languages are really relevant to my life and upbringing, but I don't say "I'm Irish" or "I'm Italian" because I'm not.
     
  15. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Do you live or were you born in South Africa? Then you're South African. But, I'm assuming your parents/grandparents/some ancestors relocated TO South Africa from somewhere else.

    In that case, let's say, for example, your ancestors, however far down the line, moved to South Africa from England. They, of English descent, gave birth to your parents, also of English descent. Then, your parents move to another country, say, France.

    In that case, you wouldn't claim to be South American, because you would not have been born there, ever have lived there, or had any ancestors who were, by ethnicity, South American.


    ETA: my complaint is a friend I have, who has never been to Australia, who was not born in Australia, and who's ancestors are in no way ethnically Australian, is claiming "I am australian" because his grandfather's family lived there at one point.
     
  16. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

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    Ok. Yes. I get you. And yes, it drives me nuts too. I'm South African, not English, Irish or French.
     
  17. Fran27

    Fran27 New Member

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    I'm so confused LOL. I'm not sure what the correct term is for everything either, so it doesn't help. I consider myself 50% French and 50% Belgian, even though I've never lived in Belgium (I've visited a lot), and I've lived in the US 1/3 of my life (man. It feels so odd when I think about it this way). That's where my parents are from. But if you ask my nationality, I'm French. In 2 years, I'll be French/American (I'm taking the citizenship test next year). But that doesn't have anything to do with my heritage/ethnicity or whatever you want to call it.

    I think it just really depends on the context.
     
  18. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Yeah, I guess technically I'm American of French/Greek/Iroquois/Czech/Irish/English background....but when talking about ethnicity, I do say "I'm French/Greek/Iroquois/Czech/Irish/English". I doubt I'd say that in another country, though. Americans just like to brag about what mutts they are, apparently to the point of throwing in every country anyone related to you has ever even lived in...
     
  19. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    It seems to get really sticky where the name of a cultural group is also the name of a country that you can be born in and have the same label put on you by virtue of citizenship.

    Greeks are a good example of this. They're a people with a pretty old culture, and they still have a county. Someone can be ethnically Greek without being born there, and someone can be born there and still be Greek when they're a different ethnicity.

    It's clearer when it's an ethnicity that doesn't have its own nation. Like Basques. There was a Basque family next door to us growing up. They spoke Basque and their dad lived in the mountains working as a shepherd. The parents were from Europe, but the mom wasn't even sure if she was technically born in France or Spain. In that case someone could be born in France or Spain and be French or Spanish, but they wouldn't be Basque because that is a separate ethnic group. If they had their own country that'd be a bit different though.

    Jewish is another one with funky definitions. It's a religion, but also an ethnicity. I have Jewish ancestors and will identify as being part Jewish even though I don't subscribe to the Judaism as a religion. A lot of my friends identify as Jewish even though they're, in practice, agnostic or even atheist.
     
  20. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Yeah, my ex was Jewish and identified as Russian Jewish, and one time I said something about how he was a perfect example of a stereotypical Jew...our friend was like "he's not even Jewish really..." and I was like "uhh what?"

    Our friend said "ethnically maybe, but not religiously." I was like "yeah that's why we just finished fasting for Yom Kippur???" But we do have other friends who practice Judaism who aren't ethnically Jewish at all, grew up in whatever Irish/Italian catholic families, converted at a later age, and now call themselves "Jewish" which I'm sure some people question because they certainly don't look like they're ethnically from any country where Judaism is prominent.
     

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