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Ethnic Identity --- philisophical question

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  • #61
    Originally posted by PDHOTLEN
    If ethnicity has as much or more to do with philosophical world view as genetic inheritance, then the USA has generated its own ethnicities; e.g. Old South vs. Yankees vs. Westerners/Alaskans, et al. And that is just among "whites."
    And then there are still lingering ethnic and cultural divides, such as between the Irish-influenced Bostontonians and the French-influenced Cajuns of Southwest Louisiana. Similarly, among "blacks", there are significant differences, regionally, along those same lines.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by jan
      And then there are still lingering ethnic and cultural divides, such as between the Irish-influenced Bostontonians and the French-influenced Cajuns of Southwest Louisiana. Similarly, among "blacks", there are significant differences, regionally, along those same lines.
      Interesting observations. I'm sure that similar thoughts have crossed the minds of most readers of this forum. I certainly have noticed such trends.

      But, to play Devil's advocate here, that may be only one trend. Equally noticeable, I think, is the fascination that most people have with ethnic traditions other than their own. Not always in a negative way.

      As I mentioned in another thread, I have seen people with phenotypes strongly suggestive of African or Native American descent participating in Irish cultural festivals or arts, and ethnically, some of them at least strongly identify with this Irish tradition. I think that is awesome, and attests to the vitality of the tradition.

      And I can recount numerous intermarriages of different traditions in my own line. Two funny stories from the 19th century there:

      1. In my fathers line, direct and collateral, I have identified at least 3 marriages between Brethren and Irish Catholics--all Irish men and Brethren women. These Brethren were of the German Pennsylvanian variety--Amish Lite, if you will.

      What kind of pick-up lines could these guys have been using?

      2. On the less-than-inspiring side, stories of an ethnic feud among in-laws on my mother's line survive from 1860's: County Mayo Irish Catholics that it was a scandal when one of their boys married an Irish Catholic girl from Cork!

      Clearly we're all nuts. Some just seem to enjoy it more.

      Regards,

      Jack

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      • #63
        That I can believe, Jack. Funny, though, you don't find many people identifying with the English.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by jan
          That I can believe, Jack. Funny, though, you don't find many people identifying with the English.
          I often think about that as well.

          It seems to be a well-attested phenom that children of ethnically mixed marriages will almost always identify themselves with the LESS prestigious ethnic group. Don't precisely know why, unless it reflects a basic human propensity towards pessimism or whatnot.

          But to get back to your point about the English, in that context, it could make sense. Individuals may disagree, but I think that most people would say that, at least through the early 20th century, England had an influence and prestige far in excess of what such a tiny island could expect.


          Jack

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          • #65
            Is there

            a "the" English?

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Deirwha
              a "the" English?

              Yes, I think that most people would say that there is an "English" identity.

              One could try to drill down to a sharper focus, and emphasize regional or individual variations. But that is entirely beside the point of ethnic identity--we're all distinct individuals at that level of focus.

              I think it may be the common perception that success, power and influence tend to make an individual less thoughtful, compassionate, colourful and generally "interesting".

              This is probably why US is widely considered a cultural wasteland.

              I also think some Russian writer captured this idea when he said something like, "All happy families are alike; Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way".

              So, while I would agree that as individuals, many English are charmingly trashy, as a group they are probably considered too successful to be interesting. At least in the persistent 19th century paradigm.

              Jack

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              • #67
                varieties of English colonists

                In that "The Horse, The Wheel and Language" book, there is a small table (p.110) titled "Migration Streams to Colonial America." But it only deals with the British. New England was derived from East Anglia/Kent; Mid-Atlantic derived from English Midlands/Southern Germany (assume PA "Dutch"); Tidewater Virginia-Carolina derived from Somerset/Wessex; Southern Appalachian derived from Scots-Irish "borderlands."

                When I traced my Puckett thread (maternal great-grandmother), ancestry.com sources led me back to Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire, both just north of London. Their first foothold was Virginia.

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                • #68
                  Last message

                  I think I am done with this forum. Last message ... I find my very "English" family very interesting and at the same time recognize that there are over 209 dialects still extant in GB and multiple sub cultures based on the reach of Jorvic, Norman French, the stubborn Welsh and equally stubborn Cornish, the Highlands, the Border region, the North Country, the West Country, London. There is of course overarching BBC "English," which some would argue isn't English at all. The diversity of what is now GB is part of its modern charm. Shaloam.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Deirwha
                    I think I am done with this forum. Last message ... I find my very "English" family very interesting and at the same time recognize that there are over 209 dialects still extant in GB and multiple sub cultures based on the reach of Jorvic, Norman French, the stubborn Welsh and equally stubborn Cornish, the Highlands, the Border region, the North Country, the West Country, London. There is of course overarching BBC "English," which some would argue isn't English at all. The diversity of what is now GB is part of its modern charm. Shaloam.

                    Good bye.

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                    • #70
                      So, while I would agree that as individuals, many English are charmingly trashy

                      Jack[/QUOTE]

                      So glad you hold us in such high esteem-stereotypes do not reflect how people actually are...."genetically" I am not 100% English (just a measly 73%) but was born and bred here. If this DNA lark has taught me anything it is it doesn't matter what your "ethnic" identity is, nobody can change your genetic make up, what's most important is being a descent human being.
                      Last edited by burto; 19 September 2008, 12:19 PM.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by burto
                        So, while I would agree that as individuals, many English are charmingly trashy

                        Jack
                        So glad you hold us in such high esteem-stereotypes do not reflect how people actually are...."genetically" I am not 100% English (just a measly 73%) but was born and bred here. If this DNA lark has taught me anything it is it doesn't matter what your "ethnic" identity is, nobody can change your genetic make up, what's most important is being a descent human being.[/QUOTE]

                        Burto,

                        You're right. What I had written was mean spirited and not up to a high ethical standard. I think I fell too much in love with my ability to achieve a striking rhetorical effect.

                        I also think that I was acting in a way that was overly sentimental and not appropriately self-critical. I think I may have been acting out frustration from an unpleasant discussion I had a while ago with a specific English person who had behaved arrogantly towards me.

                        You have been unfailingly pleasant and helpful towards me. I apologise for those silly words.

                        But I do still stand by the underlying principle that it is basically human nature to root for the underdog. And that for most of modern history , without regard to a deeper knowledge of recent events that the sophisticated person will have, the English would be considered a great success story.

                        I apologize for my earlier snarky comments.

                        Jack

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Clochaire
                          But I do still stand by the underlying principle that it is basically human nature to root for the underdog. And that for most of modern history , without regard to a deeper knowledge of recent events that the sophisticated person will have, the English would be considered a great success story.

                          I apologize for my earlier snarky comments.

                          Jack
                          No problem I understand what you mean about rooting for the underdog, I think it's found in social class as well (using England as an example Cockneys, Jordies, many midland/northern counties as opposed to the richer "POSH" groups)-perhaps it's a way of those that are seen as the underdogs, being able to justify that they are in fact not, through a unified identity?

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Clochaire
                            a person who had behaved arrogantly towards me.


                            Jack
                            They are a group found widely dispersed across the world, rather than in specific countries, that have mutated genes designed to irritate everyone else! It is unfortunate you had to meet one who lived in England!

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by burto
                              No problem I understand what you mean about rooting for the underdog, I think it's found in social class as well (using England as an example Cockneys, Jordies, many midland/northern counties as opposed to the richer "POSH" groups)-perhaps it's a way of those that are seen as the underdogs, being able to justify that they are in fact not, through a unified identity?
                              Thanks for understanding, Burto. You're a bigger man than most.

                              Cheers!

                              Jack

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                              • #75
                                What the "H" is wrong with stating your mind.
                                I don't like Some of the lazy Irish even though my grandmother was from Ireland.
                                Other people noticed this in the new world with their signs
                                "No Blacks or Irish".

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