White Americans: Is your European heritage a large part of your identity?

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Posted by gamerguru100 (10647 posts) 6 months, 3 days ago

Poll: White Americans: Is your European heritage a large part of your identity? (28 votes)

Yes 21%
No 50%
Somewhat 29%

I'd say it's somewhat part of my identity. I'm a mix of Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, and French ancestry. It's something I'd include if I had to write an autobiography, but there's nothing about my heritage that I live by.

I live in Minnesota, one of the few places in the country with large populations of people with Norwegian and Swedish ethnic background, so I do feel like I "fit in" a little bit. However, given that I don't look like the stereotypical Scandinavian (blonde hair, blue eyes, and very pale skin), I don't feel like I completely blend in. I have a light olive/tan skin tone, dark brown eyes, and dark brown hair, so I'd say I look more like my French side than my Scandinavian side, which is funny considering I'm only a quarter French, with Scandinavian being the rest. :P

So, do any of you who are white and American identify at all with your European backgrounds?

#1 Edited by thegerg (15451 posts) -

No, neither do I identify with my African heritage.

I'm 100% American, so are my parents, and so were a few of my grandparents.

#2 Posted by jasean79 (2375 posts) -

I would say somewhat. I'm more than half German, the rest of the majority is Hungarian, with small influences of Pennsylvania Dutch, French.

My last name definitely has strong ties to German heritage and other than physical attributes, there are some other things that I can identify with. However, not having ever visited Europe, it's hard for me to say if it goes beyond that.

#3 Edited by lostrib (37662 posts) -

Pretty much none of my heritage on either side plays a role

#4 Posted by gamerguru100 (10647 posts) -

@jasean79 said:

I would say somewhat. I'm more than half German, the rest of the majority is Hungarian, with small influences of Pennsylvania Dutch, French.

My last name definitely has strong ties to German heritage and other than physical attributes, there are some other things that I can identify with. However, not having ever visited Europe, it's hard for me to say if it goes beyond that.

If I went to Europe, I'd feel even more out of place. They'd laugh if I said, "I'm 3/4 Scandinavian and 1/4 French". They'd probably just say, "Nah, you're (100%) American and that's all", despite "American" being strictly a nationality and not an ethnicity. O_O Even though most Euro-Americans are a mix of various European ancestries, speak only English, and are different culturally, I fail to see how the genealogy changed drastically enough over a period of a few hundred years other than some mixing of the ethnic groups to say we're completely different.

I'd say Americans, Canadians, and Australians of European background are just as European as Europeans on a genealogical standpoint. Yes, we're different culturally, but on the basis of ethnicity, we're pretty much the same save that many European descendants outside Europe are a mixture of varying European ethnicities.

#5 Edited by lamprey263 (24171 posts) -

Seattle has a proud Nordic community around the Ballard region, they've there own heritage museum, and we often see various Nordic flags strewed up around the neighborhood. Almost everywhere I've been has some kind of Oktoberfest celebration. There's also St. Patrick's Day, in which everyone is Irish, and mainly just wear green for a day and drink... lots of the most popular ethnic heritage festivities involve drinking for some reason, Cinco de Mayo for instance, white people celebrate that too. There's also Mardi Gras / Carnival. What I like about America is these celebrations aren't exclusive to any one group even though the tradition does stem from a distinct ethnic heritage, everyone is invited to partake in festivities. I think in America, diversity like this can be a part of your identity as an American even if you don't carry direct heritage to these ethnic groups.

#6 Posted by Korvus (3920 posts) -

@gamerguru100 said:

If I went to Europe, I'd feel even more out of place. They'd laugh if I said, "I'm 3/4 Scandinavian and 1/4 French". They'd probably just say, "Nah, you're (100%) American and that's all", despite "American" being strictly a nationality and not an ethnicity. O_O

True, but in this case, your culture says a lot more about you than your ancestry so I'd probably go with you being 100% American as well, unless you were raised based on an European culture...

#7 Edited by killzowned24 (7345 posts) -

I don't identify anything at all with my European genes. The only thing would be the name, which is Scottish.

#8 Posted by playmynutz (6063 posts) -

I love anglo saxon colonist pilgrim etc. culture/art

Why can't a rapper come out with a song something like "feeling like george washington! yeah!" to compete with all those appraisal songs like I just heard Migos - "Lamar Odin" or Rick Ross "tupac back"

#9 Posted by plageus900 (1082 posts) -

I would say it is

My family moved from East Germany to the US about 50 years ago.

A lot of the things we do as a family incorporate a good amount of German tradition.

#11 Posted by Silverbond (16066 posts) -

Must be nice being able to track your heritage.

#12 Posted by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

eh, not really. one side of my family is "polish" and another is "irish" but both my parents grew up in america and i've got ancestors from all over europe. the only difference it made was that my mom made a bunch of irish food when i was i growing up. i'll have a guinness on st. patrick's day but i'd celebrate pretty much any holiday that provides an excuse to go out to bars early.

#13 Posted by sonicare (53485 posts) -

Not particularly, despite the harassment of my English cousins.

#14 Edited by killzowned24 (7345 posts) -

@Silverbond said:

Must be nice being able to track your heritage.

Now that is cool. On the Scottish line of mine,I can trace back every single birth with little bits of info on each, going all the way back to the 1700s.

#15 Posted by Wilfred_Owen (20876 posts) -

Not really. I'm polish but every step I take on this European soil screams sweet sweet freedom. And in the end that's all that really matters.

#16 Posted by GeekInkINC (195 posts) -

This topic is a little too racist for me.

#17 Posted by gamerguru100 (10647 posts) -

@geekinkinc said:

This topic is a little too racist for me.

I hope you're joking.

#18 Posted by BranKetra (48757 posts) -

Why only white Americans?

#19 Edited by gamerguru100 (10647 posts) -

@BranKetra said:

Why only white Americans?

Americans are the majority on GS.

#20 Posted by BranKetra (48757 posts) -

@gamerguru100 said:

@BranKetra said:

Why only white Americans?

Americans are the majority on GS.

I know. I was specifically inquiring about your focus upon white Americans.

#21 Posted by AutoPilotOn (8524 posts) -

I don't even know my heritage. I'd like to look it up sometime. People say ask me if I am of German heritage all the time from my last name and I just say I donno I am American lol.

#22 Posted by gamerguru100 (10647 posts) -

@BranKetra said:

@gamerguru100 said:

@BranKetra said:

Why only white Americans?

Americans are the majority on GS.

I know. I was specifically inquiring about your focus upon white Americans.

Because I'm white American and wanted to share my view on how European heritage plays a part in my identity. And if I would have asked for the opinions of white Canadians or Australians, I probably wouldn't get as many responses considering Americans are the majority on the site. :P But if you're white and not American, go ahead and share your thoughts anyway.

#23 Posted by ssvegeta555 (2268 posts) -

I was born in England but was raised in the US (*sigh* no cool accent :( ). Having grown up with only my mom, who is English, I picked up on a few things like various Yorkshire slang and pronunciations of words. But other than that I'm pretty much a grade-A American. I can easily visit family in Sheffield and get by well enough, but I'd probably be labeled as a foreigner despite being born there haha. I love English sweets and I import a lot of the stuff. I can blame my mom spoiling me with stuff like Flake bars, Aero bars, smarties (not the US version), jaffas, maltesers (I can't eat whoppers after tasting these), hobnobs, digestives, and so on. I also spend an arm and a leg to import Henderson's Relish, a Worcestershire like sauce produced in Sheffield. I seriously can't live without it lol.

#24 Posted by GeekInkINC (195 posts) -

@gamerguru100: I am :p

#25 Edited by BranKetra (48757 posts) -

@gamerguru100 said:

@BranKetra said:

@gamerguru100 said:

@BranKetra said:

Why only white Americans?

Americans are the majority on GS.

I know. I was specifically inquiring about your focus upon white Americans.

Because I'm white American and wanted to share my view on how European heritage plays a part in my identity. And if I would have asked for the opinions of white Canadians or Australians, I probably wouldn't get as many responses considering Americans are the majority on the site. :P But if you're white and not American, go ahead and share your thoughts anyway.

It is just that I would like to share my perspective since I have European as well as African heritage, but since I would not be considered white to most people I communicate with, I was making sure they would fit the theme of this thread. Besides that, inclusive rather than exclusive social outlets tend to be better in my experience, anyway.

Both sides of my heritage are important to me. For example, both side are travelers. My dad's side may have come to North America on the Mayflower (going to research more at some point) and my mother traveled throughout Europe and moved to the United States. We plan on continuing traveling. I have an interest in traveling throughout the world, myself. My dad's side is Irish, Scottish, and other European ethnicities and I feel that I share certain things with those people such as an approval for democracy. Likewise, my mom is Kenyan and there are family traditions I am a part of because of her side of my family. I could go further, but I will stop here.

#26 Posted by comp_atkins (31475 posts) -

nope

#27 Posted by Shmiity (5146 posts) -

I'm 100% Greek on both sides. Apparently this is a big deal. I downplay it a lot. I'm not into culture pride/national/ethnic pride or whatever. Greek food culture is around me 24/7.

#28 Posted by Shmiity (5146 posts) -

I'm 100% Greek on both sides. Apparently this is a big deal. I downplay it a lot. I'm not into culture pride/national/ethnic pride or whatever. Greek food culture is around me 24/7.

#29 Posted by coasterguy65 (6019 posts) -

Nah...I'm an American. My family comes from Ireland, France, and Germany, but I don't call myself an Irish American, French American, or German American....We're America..we're the mutts.

#30 Posted by thegerg (15451 posts) -

@coasterguy65 said:

Nah...I'm an American. My family comes from Ireland, France, and Germany, but I don't call myself an Irish American, French American, or German American....We're America..we're the mutts.

Let's not pretend that the Irish, French, and Germans aren't "mutts" either.

#31 Posted by Pedro (21109 posts) -

From my experience the vast majority of them associate with the generic list if European countries. Its like its aches them to just be a white american.

#32 Posted by jasean79 (2375 posts) -

@Shmiity said:

I'm 100% Greek on both sides. Apparently this is a big deal. I downplay it a lot. I'm not into culture pride/national/ethnic pride or whatever. Greek food culture is around me 24/7.

How many diners does your family own? lol

#33 Posted by coasterguy65 (6019 posts) -

@thegerg said:

@coasterguy65 said:

Nah...I'm an American. My family comes from Ireland, France, and Germany, but I don't call myself an Irish American, French American, or German American....We're America..we're the mutts.

Let's not pretend that the Irish, French, and Germans aren't "mutts" either.

Lol...good point...guess the same could be said for most countries and cultures really.

#34 Posted by thegerg (15451 posts) -

@coasterguy65 said:

@thegerg said:

@coasterguy65 said:

Nah...I'm an American. My family comes from Ireland, France, and Germany, but I don't call myself an Irish American, French American, or German American....We're America..we're the mutts.

Let's not pretend that the Irish, French, and Germans aren't "mutts" either.

Lol...good point...guess the same could be said for all countries and cultures really.

Fixed.

Human history is a long and complicated story.

#35 Posted by JohnF111 (14093 posts) -

I'm Scottish and part of.my legacy is America. :)

Deal with it.

#36 Edited by plageus900 (1082 posts) -

#37 Edited by Pirate700 (46465 posts) -

@thegerg said:

No, neither do I identify with my African heritage.

I'm 100% American, so are my parents, and so were a few of my grandparents.

This. I'm not European. I'm American and only American. And few things irritate me more than when American natives say they "are" Irish or German, etc. No...you aren't. Stop it.

#38 Edited by dave123321 (34141 posts) -

I'm Mexican and Proud

#39 Posted by themajormayor (25853 posts) -

@Pirate700 said:

@thegerg said:

No, neither do I identify with my African heritage.

I'm 100% American, so are my parents, and so were a few of my grandparents.

This. I'm not European. I'm American and only American. And few things irritate me more than when American natives say they "are" Irish or German, etc. No...you aren't. Stop it.

You can have American citizenship and still be an ethnic German.

#40 Posted by killzowned24 (7345 posts) -

@Pirate700 said:

@thegerg said:

No, neither do I identify with my African heritage.

I'm 100% American, so are my parents, and so were a few of my grandparents.

This. I'm not European. I'm American and only American. And few things irritate me more than when American natives say they "are" Irish or German, etc. No...you aren't. Stop it.

What's to be mad about if they got the blood? A DNA test sure won't say American lol.

#41 Posted by HoolaHoopMan (7805 posts) -

Not in particular. I'm from Minneapolis and being of Swedish/Norwegian descent, I don't tend to stand out here.

#42 Edited by thegerg (15451 posts) -

@killzowned24 said:

@Pirate700 said:

@thegerg said:

No, neither do I identify with my African heritage.

I'm 100% American, so are my parents, and so were a few of my grandparents.

This. I'm not European. I'm American and only American. And few things irritate me more than when American natives say they "are" Irish or German, etc. No...you aren't. Stop it.

What's to be mad about if they got the blood? A DNA test sure won't say American lol.

It won't say they're Irish or German either.

#43 Edited by Boddicker (2800 posts) -

Somewhat, though I know for a fact that my great great grandmother was a full blooded Mississippi Indian. Though the only way you can tell is that my beard is patchy in places. Farther back than that I really can't say. I have a feeling so many frontiersman took Native American wives that if you're American it's a distinct possibility.

@dave123321 said:

I'm Mexican and Proud

Then you're most likely a mix of European and Native American. I may be wrong but the Hispanic race are the newest race of people appearing in only the 1500's+. I'm too lazy to look it up.

#44 Posted by dave123321 (34141 posts) -

I'm a mixture and proud

#45 Posted by dave123321 (34141 posts) -

I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around this 100% American silliness

#46 Posted by thegerg (15451 posts) -

@dave123321 said:

I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around this 100% American silliness

Why is it silly?

#47 Edited by dave123321 (34141 posts) -

Like I get why people can construe a 100% American stamp! but do not get or understand the denial of other people identifying by heritage to say whatever else has been said in this thread

#48 Edited by thegerg (15451 posts) -

@dave123321 said:

Like I get why people can construe a 100% American stamp! but do not get or understand the denial of other people heratiage other heritage to say whatever else has been said in this thread

I see. Neither can I. It's a waste of breath to argue with another person about their heritage.

#49 Posted by dave123321 (34141 posts) -

Man, I need to start proofreading my posts.

The whole "heritage, other people ,other heritiage" thing was bad enough,

But I also said "don't get or understand" as if they were two different thoughts.

#50 Posted by dave123321 (34141 posts) -

@thegerg: yeah, agree about the pointlessness of debating personal identifications