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jamt
04-02-16, 20:38
Hello friendly people,

What do you all think when you hear people talking about 'reconnecting with their roots' or heritage. For example, an American exploring and 'reconnecting' to his heritage as a person of Scottish descent (in an authentic and respectful way) even if his Scottish ancestors emigrated to the US 100 years ago.

How important is it to formulate an 'ethnic identity' beyond the culture that you find yourself in? This type of thing seems to be more important to people within a diaspora, away from 'motherland' and generally in a relatively young region or country, as is my case. Is it simply a case of romanticising?

I've been influenced by the Back to Africa movement of Marcus Garvey and others, elements within Rastafarianism, Pan-Africanism, whereby people of African descent in the Diaspora try to 'reconnect to their roots' via exploring or adopting traditional West African cultural elements, as they see themselves as having been robbed of their ethnic identity.

I translate this into my own mostly European ancestry. Although thoroughly 'West Indian/Caribbean' as my family has been here for centuries on some lines, finding myself in a tricky or sometimes confusing situation as a person of European descent and culturally unambiguously 'White' in this society. I relate to the idea that I am too foreign for here, and too foreign for Europe, as I will never be truly considered 'Caribbean', and never truly considered European per se. That being said, I am ~80% European, and I see myself in that context. There is a quote from a West Indian writer which goes, paraphrasing, "For the European born abroad, setting foot on European soil is like a sense of returning home", and these are people who have lived in the island for a long time, there is still a sense of connection to 'motherland' and up until the 1900s among the elite class French Creole of Trinidad — the idea of being part of "L'Ancien Régime"!

So... how do "Natural Born Europeans" see these people, as foreigners bumbling about Scotland talking nonsense about being part of the Campbell Clan, or as a legitimate search for a 'deeper' cultural identity?
Is it at all similar to how people within Europe look to the past, often hundreds of years into the past, in celebrating their culture which has obviously changed since that time.

I'm going to stop myself now before I keep rambling on!!

Does any of this make sense?

sparkey
05-02-16, 01:28
There are a lot of factors that go into this sort of self-identification, of course. Some groups are more likely to identify most strongly with where they're born, while other groups will identify most strongly with where their ancestors are from. "Diaspora vs. native population" is one dynamic, as you mention, as are how recent migrations are, the cultural importance of ancestry for your group, the cultural importance of nationalism for your group, etc.

Personally, I break it down several ways. When I think of my nationality, I don't think of anything but American, and I even think of my ethnicity as at least American in a sense. But my ethnic heritage and the folkways of my ancestors are distinctly European--mostly different types of British and some German/Swiss/etc. in my case. I've broken it down to the waves of migration that brought my ancestors to America, as well as rough percentages of where they came from. My effort to reconnect to that past has produced mixed results. For example, Germans I've talked to have shrugged at the fact that I have some 18th century migrant German ancestors (they're more interested if I try to speak German), but the Cornish people I've talked to have all been super interested that I have some 19th century migrant Cornish ancestors.

Then again, I think about this topic too much, so I'm probably not a very good example of a typical American. Most of my family just thinks of themselves as "American" with "I think my ancestors came from England or Germany or something" as an afterthought.

LeBrok
05-02-16, 06:13
I'm from Poland by I fit into Canada very well, and think of myself more often, with passing time, as Canadian. It is not difficult because everyone around has different ancestry from Europe and also other parts of the world. Actually this is how I imagine whole world in few thousand of years. Very mixed, tolerant, inclusive and free. Everybody will be a citizen of the world, yet some of them diving into a subject of ancestry, parts they are made of. Just for curiosity and finding identity.

Fire Haired14
05-02-16, 08:12
I get what you're saying. Where your born and grow is up is all that matters. Where your ancestors grew up doesn't matter unless it somehow influences you.

Sometimes people confuse ancestry with identity/culture. Ancestry/culture/nationality are usually one and the same. They're not one and the same, when culture/nationality existed in distant ancestors who you never meet and who never influenced you. So, people wrongly change their cultural identity based on distant ancestors.

All that matters for Americans is being American, unless your family came recently. So, "What's your ethnic heritage" is an okay question to ask if you're interested in someone's ancestry but is sometimes asked to know something about who someone is, even though it's irrelevant to who people are in America.

No one has ever had detailed knowledge of the past and their distant ancestors, until historians came along. And legitimate historians is a modern thing. It doesn't matter that Native American's ancestors had been living in America for like 15,000 years when Europeans arrived. What matters is they were the natives at that time. It wouldn't be any differnt if their ancestors had been there for 200 years. But to some people that does matter and the fact Amerindians ancestors had been here for so long, that somehow changes how they view Amerindians.

I see people on forums like this change the way they see ethnicities in Europe based on insights we get about their distant ancestral origins. Basque are not special because they have so much EEF/WHG, they're special because they've stayed isolated in historical times. But some people romanticize about Basque being these mystical stone age fossils. The same goes for Lithuanians or Sardinians or whoever, what defines them today is recent history not stuff that happened 1,000s of years ago.

A good example of this being true is Latinos. They're genetically the most complex people on earth. They're triracial. Their countries and cultures came together in the last 500 years. There was no one like them genetically 600 years ago. Yet, they still have ethnic identities, are seen as a much as being ethnic groups as Arabs or Chinese are, and some Americans romanticize about their cultures as old and ingenious, etc.

RobertColumbia
07-02-16, 02:54
Hello friendly people,

What do you all think when you hear people talking about 'reconnecting with their roots' or heritage. For example, an American exploring and 'reconnecting' to his heritage as a person of Scottish descent (in an authentic and respectful way) even if his Scottish ancestors emigrated to the US 100 years ago.

How important is it to formulate an 'ethnic identity' beyond the culture that you find yourself in? This type of thing seems to be more important to people within a diaspora, away from 'motherland' and generally in a relatively young region or country, as is my case. Is it simply a case of romanticising?...

One important thing to consider is what defines an ethnic group and how its borders are defined. There is a tendency, I think, to conflate ethnic groups with modern jurisdictional boundaries, which always have some level of arbitrariness to them. Witness some of the strife in the Middle East and Africa, where jurisdictional boundaries were drawn by European colonial powers with little concern over grouping people together that shared cultural, religious, or linguistic traits. Infamous examples include Iraq, Sudan, and Rwanda, where countries came into existence that became defined by their lack of ethnic cohesion and their tendency to erupt in ethnic violence. Consider Iraq. Is there an "Iraqi" ethnicity? Most, I think, would say no, and that most people who are citizens of Iraq identify themselves as Arab or Kurdish and then also define themselves in terms of religion, e.g. Sunni, Shia, Christian, etc. If a Sunni Arab from Iraq moves to Lebanon, are they still Arab?

Many sub-national jurisdictions in Europe, such as Scotland, are frequently considered to be the homelands of corresponding ethnicities. Are there equivalents in the Americas? For example, is there a "Californian" ethnicity that is more than Valley Girl and surfer stereotypes? Some would claim that being "Texan" is something profound that could be considered an ethnicity, and most people seem to agree that "Puerto Rican" is an ethnicity, but is it possible to be an ethnic Marylander or an ethnic Oregonian?

LeBrok
07-02-16, 08:20
One important thing to consider is what defines an ethnic group and how its borders are defined. There is a tendency, I think, to conflate ethnic groups with modern jurisdictional boundaries, which always have some level of arbitrariness to them. Witness some of the strife in the Middle East and Africa, where jurisdictional boundaries were drawn by European colonial powers with little concern over grouping people together that shared cultural, religious, or linguistic traits. Infamous examples include Iraq, Sudan, and Rwanda, where countries came into existence that became defined by their lack of ethnic cohesion and their tendency to erupt in ethnic violence. Consider Iraq. Is there an "Iraqi" ethnicity? Most, I think, would say no, and that most people who are citizens of Iraq identify themselves as Arab or Kurdish and then also define themselves in terms of religion, e.g. Sunni, Shia, Christian, etc. If a Sunni Arab from Iraq moves to Lebanon, are they still Arab?

Many sub-national jurisdictions in Europe, such as Scotland, are frequently considered to be the homelands of corresponding ethnicities. Are there equivalents in the Americas? For example, is there a "Californian" ethnicity that is more than Valley Girl and surfer stereotypes? Some would claim that being "Texan" is something profound that could be considered an ethnicity, and most people seem to agree that "Puerto Rican" is an ethnicity, but is it possible to be an ethnic Marylander or an ethnic Oregonian?
I agree, good points.

RobertColumbia
07-02-16, 19:13
I agree, good points.

Thank you.

What do you think causes the transformation of a national identity into an ethnic one? There are countries that are more or less defined by a lack of a dominant ethnic group such as Iraq and Switzerland. For example, someone would not typically describe themselves as an "ethnic Swiss", but as an "ethnic Swiss German" or a member of one of the other ethnic groups of Switzerland despite the fact that their family may have lived in Switzerland for many generations and consider that their home, not some remote "homeland" in Germany or wherever. Correspondingly, a someone from Iraq might describe themselves as an ethnic Kurd and a citizen of Iraq, not as an ethnic Iraqi. If that person moved to Canada, became a Canadian citizen, and renounced their Iraqi citizenship, they might then consider themselves a Kurdish-Canadian, not an Iraqi-Canadian and certainly not an "ethnically Iraqi Canadian". Other countries, which have sometimes been called "nation states", are defined by the presence of a dominant ethnicity (which is frequently conflated with the national identity itself) and often a tendency to assimilate immigrants into that ethnicity, or at least try to do so. France is a good example of this.

What makes these two scenarios different? Is it the retention of an ancestral language? The practice of endogamy (a strong tendency to marry only fellow "ethnics")? The Amish of the USA practice endogamy and have retained an ancestral language (German), and are widely accepted as a distinct ethnic group. They are considered "white people", but are recognized as "ethnic whites" and not just average, generic white people. Many native tribes of the USA, however, neither practice endogamy nor speak their ancestral language, but are still considered ethnic groups. What makes these scenarios different?

LeBrok
08-02-16, 01:34
Thank you.

What do you think causes the transformation of a national identity into an ethnic one? I think the ethnic elements existed first before the rise of modern nations. Ethnic is the grass root of socio-political identity.
Generally speaking, in my mind, we have to go back to the tribal nature of early hunter gatherers to understand the need for identity. It is one of the aspects that make a group coherent, emotionally tight, and thus stronger. I think for the same reason, we dance together, sing and play music, have spirituality and same religious beliefs, customs, fashion and also feeling of belonging - ethnic identity. By identifying ourselves with the tribe we grew up with, we belong to the group which we want to protect and which protects us. Often it is accompanied by feeling of superiority, being right and special, nationalism or even racism. Last two recent additions in our modern mixed world. How we define and use these terms depends on our personal identification, because identity could be fluent, transitional, overlapping and multiple, plus it is important how it is expressed towards others. A person could identify itself as human, Swiss, French, man, conservative, and white supremacist at the same time. From all of these identities, French (in context of Switzerland) will be the Ethnic designation.

In realm of Geopolitics, ethnicity is one level of organization lower than nationality, I guess. Mother tongue language and birthplace might be the main indicators. Though there are other factors in play. I'd say in most cases it is easy to determine ethnicity, but as you mention, there are complicated cases which proplex people.

What is ethnicity of Native American who was born in New York and speak only english? Can we base ethnicity on genetics?
In this case what is ethnicity of a person with german mother and polish father? Place of birth? Or maybe both ethnicities should be admitted in identification? But if two are then why not 20 of ethnicities of all the known ancestors?
Should we allow people to determine their own ethnicity in these difficult cases, or should we have strict rules to guide us?

Perhaps it all doesn't matter at all on who we are, let the person pick one if he/she have choices. It is all good. The only reason we want to fully define it, is because of our brain which loves defining and compartmentalizing the world in order to understand it. In pure disregard that the real world in general is an unruly place and always will throw us a curveball to mess up our definitions and order. Maybe we should forget about these strict rules, the proper measures, and embrace the grey character of the world, its fluidity and probabilities?

RobertColumbia
08-02-16, 22:49
...What is ethnicity of Native American who was born in New York and speak only english? Can we base ethnicity on genetics?
In this case what is ethnicity of a person with german mother and polish father? Place of birth? Or maybe both ethnicities should be admitted in identification? But if two are then why not 20 of ethnicities of all the known ancestors?
Should we allow people to determine their own ethnicity in these difficult cases, or should we have strict rules to guide us?

Perhaps it all doesn't matter at all on who we are, let the person pick one if he/she have choices. It is all good. The only reason we want to fully define it, is because of our brain which loves defining and compartmentalizing the world in order to understand it. In pure disregard that the real world in general is an unruly place and always will throw us a curveball to mess up our definitions and order. Maybe we should forget about these strict rules, the proper measures, and embrace the grey character of the world, its fluidity and probabilities?

Good points. One could consider the following hypothetical questions, neither of which has easy answers:

1) What conditions cause ethnic identity to be extinguished? Too much admixture with other ethnic groups (e.g. to be an ethnic Hungarian, you have to have at least 1/4 Hungarian ancestry)? Failure to learn the ethnic group's ancestral language? Lack of citizenship in the country most associated with the ethnicity (e.g. must hold UK citizenship to be considered Scottish)? Failure to adhere to ethnic stereotypes (e.g. you didn't do this The Greek Way, so you are Not Greek)? Lack of membership in ethnic organizations (e.g. must maintain membership in good standing with the Ancient Order of Hibernians to maintain ethnic Irishness)? Converting to a religion that is not commonly practiced within the ethnic group (e.g. if a Basque person converts to Islam, they are no longer Basque)?

2) If ethnic identity has been "extinguished" through one of the processes in #1, can it be regained, and what are the exact requirements for regaining it? If my father lost his "ethnic Irish" card before I was born, can I (or my child) earn one by learning to speak Irish and passing a literacy test in the language? Would we need to emigrate to Ireland and undergo some sort of ceremony? Would drinking more Guinness and showing more enthusiasm when marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade help? Is there a Board of Ethnic Identity Adjudications that I can call to schedule a hearing?

Of course, the questions above do not have a clear answer, and that is the point. When you look at various ethnic groups, you actually find that many of them have different ideas on the priorities of various aspects of ethnic identity. For example, French Canadian identity is heavily language based. If you are Canadian and speak French as your primary language, you can be considered French Canadian even if 127 out of your 128 great-great-great-great grandparents were from Germany. By contrast, Jewish identity is mostly defined by matrilineal descent, and there is no requirement, or even usually an expectation, that a Jewish person can speak any specific language.

There is also the question as to why a person is being asked to disclose their ethnic identity. For example, many physicians in the USA now request that a person disclose their ethnic identity in order to provide better care, but it is unclear whether they are concerned more with genetics or more with socio-cultural factors that could affect a person's health. E.g. if I tell my doctor that I am ethnically Irish, should that lead to a genetic screening for HFE Hereditary Hemochromatosis (which I already know that I am a carrier for) or to a screening for alcohol abuse? Would it lead to a stern lecture as to why I should never force young girls into joining convents against their will? If I fail to act in a stereotypically Irish way but continue to verbally assert Irish ethnic identity, will I get a psychiatric referral?

LeBrok
09-02-16, 05:25
Good points. One could consider the following hypothetical questions, neither of which has easy answers:

1) What conditions cause ethnic identity to be extinguished? Too much admixture with other ethnic groups (e.g. to be an ethnic Hungarian, you have to have at least 1/4 Hungarian ancestry)? Failure to learn the ethnic group's ancestral language? Lack of citizenship in the country most associated with the ethnicity (e.g. must hold UK citizenship to be considered Scottish)? Failure to adhere to ethnic stereotypes (e.g. you didn't do this The Greek Way, so you are Not Greek)? Lack of membership in ethnic organizations (e.g. must maintain membership in good standing with the Ancient Order of Hibernians to maintain ethnic Irishness)? Converting to a religion that is not commonly practiced within the ethnic group (e.g. if a Basque person converts to Islam, they are no longer Basque)?

2) If ethnic identity has been "extinguished" through one of the processes in #1, can it be regained, and what are the exact requirements for regaining it? If my father lost his "ethnic Irish" card before I was born, can I (or my child) earn one by learning to speak Irish and passing a literacy test in the language? Would we need to emigrate to Ireland and undergo some sort of ceremony? Would drinking more Guinness and showing more enthusiasm when marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade help? Is there a Board of Ethnic Identity Adjudications that I can call to schedule a hearing?

Of course, the questions above do not have a clear answer, and that is the point. When you look at various ethnic groups, you actually find that many of them have different ideas on the priorities of various aspects of ethnic identity. For example, French Canadian identity is heavily language based. If you are Canadian and speak French as your primary language, you can be considered French Canadian even if 127 out of your 128 great-great-great-great grandparents were from Germany. By contrast, Jewish identity is mostly defined by matrilineal descent, and there is no requirement, or even usually an expectation, that a Jewish person can speak any specific language.

There is also the question as to why a person is being asked to disclose their ethnic identity. For example, many physicians in the USA now request that a person disclose their ethnic identity in order to provide better care, but it is unclear whether they are concerned more with genetics or more with socio-cultural factors that could affect a person's health. E.g. if I tell my doctor that I am ethnically Irish, should that lead to a genetic screening for HFE Hereditary Hemochromatosis (which I already know that I am a carrier for) or to a screening for alcohol abuse? Would it lead to a stern lecture as to why I should never force young girls into joining convents against their will? If I fail to act in a stereotypically Irish way but continue to verbally assert Irish ethnic identity, will I get a psychiatric referral?
To make matter more complicated, in countries like US or Canada, self reporting of ethnic background is common for statistical purposes. Well, except Natives and Metis, because of qualification for financial government support. In Europe, I suppose, and other parts of the world, there were always some official guidelines and classifications. Especially when dealing with "difficult" minorities. The infamous example was classification of Jewishness by Nazi Germany. IIRC, one quarter of Jewish ancestry, was enough to send a person to concentration camp.
It reminds me that US needed to have some guidelines for Japanese ethnicity for detention in camps during WW2.


I wonder if our paternal DNA makes us ethnic Indo Europeans, or my biggest admixture of EEF, and biggest part of my DNA, makes me ethnic Natufian? Perhaps on this ground I can apply for Israeli passport, as it is located on grounds of my ancestors, lol.

Angela
09-02-16, 06:57
Good points. One could consider the following hypothetical questions, neither of which has easy answers:

1) What conditions cause ethnic identity to be extinguished? Too much admixture with other ethnic groups (e.g. to be an ethnic Hungarian, you have to have at least 1/4 Hungarian ancestry)? Failure to learn the ethnic group's ancestral language? Lack of citizenship in the country most associated with the ethnicity (e.g. must hold UK citizenship to be considered Scottish)? Failure to adhere to ethnic stereotypes (e.g. you didn't do this The Greek Way, so you are Not Greek)? Lack of membership in ethnic organizations (e.g. must maintain membership in good standing with the Ancient Order of Hibernians to maintain ethnic Irishness)? Converting to a religion that is not commonly practiced within the ethnic group (e.g. if a Basque person converts to Islam, they are no longer Basque)?

2) If ethnic identity has been "extinguished" through one of the processes in #1, can it be regained, and what are the exact requirements for regaining it? If my father lost his "ethnic Irish" card before I was born, can I (or my child) earn one by learning to speak Irish and passing a literacy test in the language? Would we need to emigrate to Ireland and undergo some sort of ceremony? Would drinking more Guinness and showing more enthusiasm when marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade help? Is there a Board of Ethnic Identity Adjudications that I can call to schedule a hearing?

Of course, the questions above do not have a clear answer, and that is the point. When you look at various ethnic groups, you actually find that many of them have different ideas on the priorities of various aspects of ethnic identity. For example, French Canadian identity is heavily language based. If you are Canadian and speak French as your primary language, you can be considered French Canadian even if 127 out of your 128 great-great-great-great grandparents were from Germany. By contrast, Jewish identity is mostly defined by matrilineal descent, and there is no requirement, or even usually an expectation, that a Jewish person can speak any specific language.

There is also the question as to why a person is being asked to disclose their ethnic identity. For example, many physicians in the USA now request that a person disclose their ethnic identity in order to provide better care, but it is unclear whether they are concerned more with genetics or more with socio-cultural factors that could affect a person's health. E.g. if I tell my doctor that I am ethnically Irish, should that lead to a genetic screening for HFE Hereditary Hemochromatosis (which I already know that I am a carrier for) or to a screening for alcohol abuse? Would it lead to a stern lecture as to why I should never force young girls into joining convents against their will? If I fail to act in a stereotypically Irish way but continue to verbally assert Irish ethnic identity, will I get a psychiatric referral?



Some of it gets downright silly, doesn't it? :)

I think one added complication is how do you define yourself versus how do other people define you. Then, do you always define yourself in the same way?

Despite having been born in Italy, spending my childhood there, returning every summer until I started working full time, speaking the language, consuming the media, and on and on, to many Italy/Italians other than my own family I'm not "really" Italian anymore because I don't live there full time, don't pay taxes there, have acquired some very "American" habits etc. I'm more Italian than second and third generation often admixed Italian-Americans who usually don't even speak the language, and don't at all have "Italian" habits, but still not quite the same.

Strangely enough, when I'm in Italy I actually do feel quite American in some ways. It's inevitable after so many years here but upsetting in some ways as well. When I'm in America, though, I'm always quite aware of my Italian side because so many of my attitudes, my home life, the way I raise my children, the way I'm a wife and daughter, the way I cook, etc., are still pretty different from those of the "average" American. Then, Americans do still think in terms of background if you're a more recent immigrant, so you're asked about it and consequently reminded of it. Of course, amusingly enough, to a lot of Italian Americans of the older generation, virtually all of whom are from southern Italy,I'm not quite Italian either, or at least not their kind of Italian, so I take a lot of ribbing about really being German or French or what have you. :)

So, at the end of the day I don't think I fit 100% anywhere.

Things are clearer and more rigid in Europe. In my experience Italians who work in Britain or Germany, for example, even if they work there for years, are never considered, and don't consider themselves British or German. If they marry there, the offspring, like admixed people here, do seem to mainly adopt the "nationality" if not the ethnicity of the country where they were born and live. This may not be universally true; it's just what I've seen anecdotally.

It may not be equally true in all countries, either. All of this may be different in Ireland, for example. Perhaps Irish-Americans, even only part Irish-Americans, are more accepted into the fold there. I don't know.


What makes these two scenarios different? Is it the retention of an ancestral language? The practice of endogamy (a strong tendency to marry only fellow "ethnics")? The Amish of the USA practice endogamy and have retained an ancestral language (German), and are widely accepted as a distinct ethnic group. They are considered "white people", but are recognized as "ethnic whites" and not just average, generic white people. Many native tribes of the USA, however, neither practice endogamy nor speak their ancestral language, but are still considered ethnic groups. What makes these scenarios different?

Perhaps "ethnic whites" are those who descend 100% from one particular area in Europe, as well as still speaking the ancestral language? Of course, what then of Ashkenazi Jews? They're an ethnic group in a way, and some percentage still practice endogamy, but although they all learn Hebrew, they don't use it in daily life, or Yiddish either. American Indians may be different because of race. They also form a separate group because they choose to, if you know what I mean. Even people who are actually only half or a quarter "Native American" identify in that way.

Strange, it's a case probably of you know it when you see it. :)

RobertColumbia
10-02-16, 01:54
Some of it gets downright silly, doesn't it? :)

I think one added complication is how do you define yourself versus how do other people define you. Then, do you always define yourself in the same way?...

Yes. In a sense, it becomes a question of "soft" social consensus that is neither subject to any specific assessment rubric or checklist (e.g. "Must have at least 3 of the following traits to qualify for membership...") nor does it have any specific adjudication procedures or officials (e.g. an office that is officially charged with applying the ethnic classification rules to people to assign them ethnic memberships).

I also mentioned considering the context of a request to disclose one's ethnic identity. In the medical office context I mentioned, no amount of failure to learn to speak Irish, hatred of Riverdance, burning Celtic Woman CD's in my backyard why chanting slogans in Russian, disinterest in celebrating St. Patrick's day, or being banned from the Ancient Order of Hibernians for Conduct Unbecoming a Celt can reduce my risk of developing HFE Hereditary Hemochromatosis, which is imprinted in my DNA. By contrast, my level of socio-cultural adherence to Irish stereotypes could plausibly be related to my risk level of developing alcoholism or other problems related to alcohol misuse.

RobertColumbia
10-02-16, 03:11
...Of course, amusingly enough, to a lot of Italian Americans of the older generation, virtually all of whom are from southern Italy,I'm not quite Italian either, or at least not their kind of Italian, so I take a lot of ribbing about really being German or French or what have you. :)...

Good point. Most "Italian-American" culture in the USA derives from the south of Italy and Sicily due to historical migration patterns that brought more people from those regions to the USA. "Italian" restaurants in the USA notably tend toward Sicilian cuisine with everything drenched with large amounts of oregano.

Is this kind of "foreign regionalism" found anywhere else? For example, is Japanese-Australian culture centered around a specific regional homeland within Japan (e.g. Okinawa, Hokkaido, etc.)? If I check out the Canadian expat community in Brazil, am I going to find out that everyone is from Vancouver, barely anyone as heard of Great Big Sea, and nobody speaks French?

jamt
10-02-16, 15:32
Is this kind of "foreign regionalism" found anywhere else? For example, is Japanese-Australian culture centered around a specific regional homeland within Japan (e.g. Okinawa, Hokkaido, etc.)? If I check out the Canadian expat community in Brazil, am I going to find out that everyone is from Vancouver, barely anyone as heard of Great Big Sea, and nobody speaks French?

Well, I can speak for the Caribbean — are you familiar with Pan-Africanism and Marcus Garvey?
It is a huge issue here, all across the Caribbean actually. Many people (not everyone) feel like they have missed something by having been forcibly removed from West Africa and they often over-compensate with the 'traditional African culture', from clothing to spirituality, to try to fix that feeling they say they have. It is also an attempt, of course, to 'de-colonialise' themselves, which is a different issue and not really relevant to Whites here.

A lot of them, not knowing exactly where their people came from, just take "West African" and run with it. The Indians in the Caribbean continue to 'hearken' back to their region in India, Bengal for example, but I think they tend to unify more than they previously would have with other regions and languages.

Again, I think that this whole thing is more important to minorities in a cultural diaspora. [not that Blacks in the Caribbean are minorities, but the culture is heavily influenced by European powers, with some West African cultures thrown in]

RobertColumbia
10-02-16, 23:04
Well, I can speak for the Caribbean — are you familiar with Pan-Africanism and Marcus Garvey?
It is a huge issue here, all across the Caribbean actually. Many people (not everyone) feel like they have missed something by having been forcibly removed from West Africa and they often over-compensate with the 'traditional African culture', from clothing to spirituality, to try to fix that feeling they say they have. It is also an attempt, of course, to 'de-colonialise' themselves, which is a different issue and not really relevant to Whites here.

A lot of them, not knowing exactly where their people came from, just take "West African" and run with it. The Indians in the Caribbean continue to 'hearken' back to their region in India, Bengal for example, but I think they tend to unify more than they previously would have with other regions and languages.

Again, I think that this whole thing is more important to minorities in a cultural diaspora. [not that Blacks in the Caribbean are minorities, but the culture is heavily influenced by European powers, with some West African cultures thrown in]

Good points! Thanks!

On a different diaspora note, it has been observed by some people that casual kilt wearing today (e.g. to work, school, around town, etc.) is more common in the USA than it is in Scotland. This may be another of those diaspora identity things. If you live in Scotland, you don't need to remind yourself or anyone else that you are Scottish, as Scottishness inevitably permeates you. Outside of Scotland, people need something more tangible to connect themselves to the culture and separate themselves from the "other" white people.

Angela
10-02-16, 23:33
Good points! Thanks!

On a different diaspora note, it has been observed by some people that casual kilt wearing today (e.g. to work, school, around town, etc.) is more common in the USA than it is in Scotland. This may be another of those diaspora identity things. If you live in Scotland, you don't need to remind yourself or anyone else that you are Scottish, as Scottishness inevitably permeates you. Outside of Scotland, people need something more tangible to connect themselves to the culture and separate themselves from the "other" white people.

Quite a few Irish girls come to my area during the summer as au pairs. A few of them told me that they find it strange that so many of the Irish American families name their children very old "Gaelic" names, where a lot of Irish parents in Ireland name their children after soap opera characters. The same thing happens in Italy to some degree...a lot of Saras, for example. Families with a long history of left wing politics might name their son Ivano. British names are also pretty popular. One of my cousins named her son Patrick. (His surname is a long very German one.) To me it's like naming a half Italian, half Irish child whose surname will be Hanlon, Miroslav, because the father loves Miroslav Klose. I certainly wouldn't do this sort of thing. The poor kid will be answering questions about his name his whole life, and think about the playground! :)

jamt
11-02-16, 05:23
Good points! Thanks!

On a different diaspora note, it has been observed by some people that casual kilt wearing today (e.g. to work, school, around town, etc.) is more common in the USA than it is in Scotland. This may be another of those diaspora identity things. If you live in Scotland, you don't need to remind yourself or anyone else that you are Scottish, as Scottishness inevitably permeates you. Outside of Scotland, people need something more tangible to connect themselves to the culture and separate themselves from the "other" white people.

Yes I think that is spot on. We had some Nigerian exchange students come here last year, and were greeted by a couple Pan-Africanists. Someone pointed out in the press photo how ironic it was that only the Non-Africans were wearing traditional African garb.. the Nigerians were wearing 'regular' western blue jeans and t-shirts!!! It can be a bit silly sometimes, but I've found that there is something to it.

I refused to buy or wear a kilt when I visited Scotland, just so we're clear.