What does your national heritage mean to you?


-j. said, (34 days ago)

(I've been thinking about this during the World Cup, and watching people in my neighbourhood wearing all manner of jerseys.)

Everyone has a national heritage (even if it's Anglo), and most of us are mixed. If you are, for instance, of Greek descent but born American, do you think of yourself as Greek? Greek-American? Or American? If you are of mixed national heritage, is there one country you identify with more than the others?

Do you celebrate your heritage country's holidays? Follow their stories in the news? Cook their traditional dishes? Or is it just a part of you that you acknowledge but it doesn't change much in your day-to-day life?

(I am thinking specifically of national heritage, not so much race, although that is another very interesting question.)

the way i get by said, (34 days ago)

I consider myself Canadian-Chinese and try my best to uphold chinese traditions. Sadly this hasn't extended to actually learning how to speak conversational chinese.

Skanko said, (34 days ago)

Well, to be totally honest, I am just waaaaay too many nationalities to pick one. The largest percentage of anything I am is Italian (can't you tell by the huge red beard?) but that's only 25%. I don't really feel like 25% is enough to start going around and touting it as my predominant heritage. Being American doesn't really seem to mean much to most people apart from rooting for the USA in sporting events, and I guess I would fall into that category as well. I do love many things about my country, it just also scares the living crap out of me.

Centropomus said, (34 days ago)

My national heritage means making fun of your national heritage.

Jay Def said, (34 days ago)

Since I'm mostly Norwegian (on my dad's side) and Danish (on my mom's side), I like to brag that I'm mostly Viking.

Bustie said, (34 days ago)

It means I'm conflicted almost by definition. I'm not a real American, but I'm not a real Latino either. The rest of Latin America - if they remember Puerto Ricans at all - tend to think of us as Yankee dog sellouts. Americans tend to think of us as the hubcap-stealing Mexicans that took over New York.

I like the history of my "country" (though as a territory we're not even a real country), but I truly, truly, truly can't stand its modern "culture". I can't stand being around my people, but I feel a strange pride in being one of them. PR is a nice place to visit, but I don't ever want to live there ever again. I really miss the food, but I know a lot of it is kinda gross and breeds porkers.

Like I said, conflicted.

Lady Ham Hammers said, (34 days ago)

All four of my grandparents were born in America, and even most of their parents. I'm a total Euromutt, mostly Irish, but we've been in the US for so long that we have very few traditions that go back to the "old countries." My great aunt, less diluted than me, who is all Irish and Welsh, is a good Irish Catholic with a whole set of clover dishes, but that's about as close as we come.

I prefer to think of it in terms of family instead of nationality. My mother's side is very close, and so we have our own culture and traditions. For example, any time anyone has any major life changes, we "convene a panel." Basically it's so the women in the family can drink and ask embarrassing questions. It's more fun than it sounds.

WordNerd said, (34 days ago)

I feel bustie's conflict, it's hard to be stuck between cultures... although maybe it has something to do with how many generations separate the cultures? my family is mexican, but I was born here in the u.s., first generation born here - both of my parents came here in their teens (mom) and as adults (dad). culturally, I'm mixed - I still follow lots of mexican traditions (food, celebrations, customs, etc.) but I'm also very much american (clothes, more independent, language).

however, when it comes to a sense of history, I identify much more with mexico than with the united states. it's hard for me to feel a connection when I come across a patriotic movie/story/etc., because I just don't see it as part of my history. my bff gets all worked up and teary eyed at movies like "the patriot", and I feel nothing. but you should see our household during any of mexico's games in the world cup... nos volvemos locos!

Skanko said, (34 days ago)

I'm jealous of Jaydef, i wish i was part viking.

Muppy said, (34 days ago)

Although my genetic heritage is really really German, my family has never really practiced any sort of Germanic traditions. As a result, I consider myself an American. I do have pride in my country, but like Skanko said, it usually only really comes out in times like the Olympics or the World Cup. I'm proud of the US's spirit - the "anybody can make it here" attitude the US has cultivated over the years - but I'm also aware that for all our innovation and strengths, we have been bullies around the world, and we tend to take the whole "America! FUCK YEAH!" attitude a bit far sometimes. Just because you're American doesn't give you the right to everything everywhere ever.

rethwyll said, (34 days ago)

I'm so far removed from my heritage that I don't even really think about it, except when my father phones me all excited that he found so-and-so 8-times-removed grandparent in County O'Bumfuck, Ireland (hello, genealogy freak.)

As for holidays, I celebrate my Irish ancestry on Saint Patrick's Day and my Welsh ancestry on Sad Sack Loser Coalminer Day (April 17th).

-j. said, (34 days ago)

Oof. I need to stop creating threads on days when I can't even get back to them :/

@TWIGBy: is that something you want to learn? Do other members of your family (immediate or extended) speak it?

@Skanko: mutts are the best. Do you have family spread around the globe?

@Centro: from what I can tell, everyone's national heritage involves making fun of my national heritage.

@Jay: that's bragworthy, all right. I'm going to start calling you Jaygar the Mighty, if that's okay.

@Bustie: don't worry, anglo North America has plenty of gross food to tide you over too. How do Puerto Ricans in general view themselves as regards to "being American".

-j. said, (34 days ago)

@Mace: Basically it's so the women in the family can drink and ask embarrassing questions. It's more fun than it sounds.

Really? Because, not gonna lie, that sounds pretty damn fun already.

@WordNerd: that's a very interesting point about the number of generations removed one is. In what moments, if any, do you feel most "American"?

@Muppy: sports do seem to have a way of evoking national pride, don't they? I wonder if it's the direct competition without scarring consequences...mostly ;)

@Rethwyll: April 17th is my mother's birthday. THAT WAS A "YO MOMMA" JOKE, WASN'T IT? I'm onto you, lady.

Skanko said, (34 days ago)

@-j - i WISH. unfortunately as far as i know EVERYONE still living in my family is in America. i mean the odds are that's not totally true. but everyone i know that exists is here. boring.

little_p said, (34 days ago)

My Scotch/British heritage sabe "put some alcohol between you and your thoughts before they lead to questions!"

The cherokee part says "i cannot argue with that drinking solution you've come up with..."

-j. said, (34 days ago)

@Skanko: you will always have a home in Canada, my friend the lumberjack.

@Little p: Scots-Cherokee is a new one by me! That's actually kind of fantastic.

JasAsian v2.0 said, (34 days ago)

Texas is a fine country to be from.

WordNerd said, (34 days ago)

@-j.: I don't feel particularly "american" that often, I feel it most when I'm around my family from mexico. those are the moments when I realize how much american culture I've absorbed.

Skanko said, (34 days ago)

@j - well I am honored, sir.

erica said, (34 days ago)

My Euromutt heritage means very little to me...we don't really do any traditions that are Swedish or Dutch or whatever else.

My American heritage doesn't mean a ton to me either. I mean, of course it does, in ways I don't think about every day. Couple that with the Euromutt, and yay! Privilege! But um, I'm not very patriotic and there are too many things wrong with this country for me to take a ton of pride in it.

? said, (34 days ago)

I don't really think about my heritage unless the State of Arizona brings it up.

rethwyll said, (34 days ago)

@-j: BAHAHAHA. April 17th is my sister's birthday. I just picked it because it seemed like a funny date. Kind of like the number 37 is always funny. :D

Jay Def said, (34 days ago)

@-j. I'd be proud to be called Jaygar the Mighty. :)

Lady Ham Hammers said, (34 days ago)

ahahahah -j was born in a coal sack.

Bustie said, (34 days ago)

@-j.: Actually, in general, we don't consider ourselves American. But folks ten to think that they're "better" than other Latin Americans and are under the (very false) impression that they are part of the First World.

It's complicated.

-j. said, (34 days ago)

@WordNerd: Fascinating! That feeling must be particularly strong for first-generationers, I would think.

@Skanko: bland politeness, good. You'll fit right in.

@erica: you can just tell people you're 100% Awesomese.

@Beatnikous: and I'm guessing at that point you don't really go trumpeting it around.

-j. said, (34 days ago)

@rethwyll: AND 37 IS MY MOTHER'S FAVOURITE NUMBER*. What is it with you?

*possibly not true.

@Jaygar the Mighty: so mote it be.

@Mace: that's also the title of my next blues album.

@Bustie: it does sound complicated, but also interesting. I guess odd things happen when your country isn't a country! Do puertorriquenos who live in the States tend to feel that way too?

Quintus Osby said, (34 days ago)

My Dad's dad's dad and mother came over on the boat from Ireland, I like Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, and Beer. I guess I'm Irish.

My mom's side: French. LE REVOLUTION! I like their fries :)

kirsty said, (34 days ago)

you guys are all so mixed!! as far as I know I'm as Scottish as Scottish can be (one of my aunts compiled a family tree a few years ago going back hundreds of years, and I'm pretty sure nearly everyone was Scottish.) national identity is a big thing in Scotland though, and I'd say moreso than the other British countries (only a bit of Ireland is in the uk, you see, but Ireland as a whole is probably on the same par.) many scots generally partake in shared habits such as playful England-bashing (especially during the world cup), being fiercely supportive of our own football team even though we're CRAP, and the use of some quite odd, quite interesting slang that often would be regarded as offensive anywhere but here! for example, the c word is used SO casually by most. not by me though I THINK IT'S DISGUSTING. but as I say all this, most of it isn't anything to do with history or tradition- it's actually more as if most of Scotland is all in on several little in jokes that make us the nation we are. it's odd, really.

suppose I've not directly answered the question, but personally I'm pretty proud of our general national spirit (often widely reported as grumpy, but I think that's nonsense- it's actually very resilient. and YOU'D E GRUMPY TOO IF YOU DEALT WITH THIS MUCH RAIN) and, of course, our stamina for partying. it's not as if my heritage is something that I need to learn about-I've grown up with it. but it's a comfortable place to be, and it's cheesy, but I'm proud of it.

kirsty said, (34 days ago)

BUT my experience of someone who is proud of being mixed heritage comes from my boyfriend, who's about A QUARTER Italian but does actually display so many of the stereotypes of that nationality that it's seriously quite strange. he's reeeeally proud of it too, I think mainly cos he also LOOKS very meditteranean-y and he's a little bit in love with his face so that's probably mainly why. he's also part Irish but seems to identify with that a lot less which I find interesting- but then again they share so many similarities with us in Scotland that it's quite difficult to differentiate.

-j. said, (34 days ago)

@kir$ty!: my boss is also Scottish through and through, generations back. Is that the majority, or are there quite a lot of mixed-heritage people there?

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