German-Scottish-Irish-American?

There cannot be any doubt about it, the Americans are very proud of their country.  Wherever you travel in the United States, the Stars and Stripes are flown proudly, unlike in the United Kingdom where flying the Union flag is tantamount to admitting xenophobia and in England in particular, flying the English Cross of St George is accepted as saying that you are a ultra right wing fascist.  There are countless stories in the press where the over-zealous politically correct brigade have banned children from displaying flags least it causes offence – and that  even  highlighted in a report to the UK Government.  It went so far that during the 2006 soccer World Cup, some retailers, schools and major employers banned the flag completely.  Try doing that in America – there would soon be some sharp reminders and possible demonstrations of just how the west was won in the first place.

Americans are also proud of being Americans and take pride in their nation’s achievements – even those that are not, like single-handedly winning World War Two, cracking the Enigma Code and inventing the light bulb and jet engine, except that World War Two was a team effort, the British cracked the Enigma code and captured an Enigma machine before the Americans even entered the war and of course it was Brits Swan and Whittle who devoloped the light bulb and the jet engine respectively.  But I digress.  Americans are proud to be Americans and the 1,046,539 people who naturalized in 2008 probably are as well.  So I am surprised at how a lot of Americans try to dilute their nationality.

When I am asked the nationality of my family, I just say what’s on my passport, because that is what we are.  In alphabetical order, my family has American, Cherokee, English, Irish, German, Scottish and Welsh bloodlines, not including aunties and cousins, where you can throw in Caribbean and Moor as well.  That’s just the ones we know about, although I am sure that genealogists with enough time in the vaults in Utah would be able to find quite a few other nationalities as well.  Even the main family surname has possible French origins.  So, what nationality was the first man on the moon?  No-one is going to say Scottish-Irish-German-American (Neil Armstrong’s lineage), they just say American.  And that is my point.

Americans have a habit of saying that they are either Afro-American or Irish-American or Italian- American or <insert nationality here>-American.  A lot of fuss was made over President Obama as he is the first “Afro-American” President and what do you call him?  Well to my mind its just “Mr President”, the 44th holder of that office and the 39th American to do so (the first five US Presidents were Welsh and there may be another one if Hillary Clinton gains the Oval Office).  President Obama also claimed Irish roots on his recent visit there, so does that make him Irish-Afro-American? Wait, his father was African Arab from Kenya and his mother is from English decent.  So, should it English-Irish-Arabian-Afro-American? (Technically, President Obama is 50% Caucasian from his mother, 43.75% Arabic, and 6.25% African from his father.)  No.  Give me a break.  He was born in America to an American mother.  So he is an American. Period.

Now I can understand the imperative to maintain the (civilised) cultures and traditional values of your family, which often explains the reason the majority of us choose our belief system.  This is your heritage and the family history is important, especially when you need to explain to your children that they are not in poverty when they can’t have the latest X-Box game – poverty is what your grandfather knew living in that cave somewhere in Europe toiling 27 hours a day to put a meal on the table once a week.  From a shared heritage and history comes the nation and it shapes the society.  The US Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights that grants Americans their freedoms was mostly signed by Welshmen based on their values of fair play and liberty, although I suspect more as a way of sticking it to the English and take that for invading and banning the Welsh language.  Canada’s and Australia’s constitutions and governmental systems closely mirror Britain’s because that reflects the cultural history and the origins of a lot of the early settlers.  But you don’t hear people saying ‘British-Australian” in Sydney or “Australian-British” in London, in the same way as you don’t hear Welsh-British or Scottish-British or African-British.  

Into this must factor time.  If you are ‘fresh off the boat’, it’s understandable that you class yourself as “X living in Y”.  But your children will be Y living in Y and so will their children.  You wouldn’t dream of walking up to someone in Louisiana and saying they are not American because FIVE generations ago their father was kidnapped in Africa and brought to the US.  So why on Earth should that same person, five generations later, still identify as Afro-American, surely after nearly one and a half centuries it should be American, or at a push, American-African.   (The only reason aboriginal Americans say American Indian is to distinguish from Indians from India.)  As the generations pass and various families mix through marriage, more and more bloodlines are introduced anyway, so where do you stop? Will there be a huge family argument over whether little Chuck is Scottish-Irish-German-American or German-Scottish-Irish-American?

No.  I wouldn’t dream of concluding that the actual self-identification of Americans has anything to do with the federal grants and other advantages available as part of the various ‘Affirmative Action’ (or that oxymoron ‘Positive Discrimination’) measures in place, unlike the group of Italian-American professors did at City University of New York when they asked to be added as an ‘affirmative action’ category for ‘promotion and hiring’ in 1976.   If people want to create a nation, then they should be proud of it and willing to say that they are Oliviatanians from Oliviatania.   You have to find a point at which to stop otherwise, if the Christian Bible is true and you go back far enough, we are all Israeli anyway because it was Noah and his sons who populated the Earth after the flood.  Wow.  The first man on the moon was Israeli.  I must rewrite the history books.

If you are Welsh or British or American or Oliviatanian, be that and be proud of it.  By all means carry two passports just in case (you never know when Switzerland is going to invade) but I cannot imagine anyone in North Korea actually admitting they are American until the 101st Airborne get there.  So in the interim, if you are American, be just that.  Because you know there is not enough room on the form to write American-Cherokee-English-Irish-German-Scottish-Welsh and it will stop you having to argue with your grandparents over which order it should be written.

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About cryptothinker
Nowt

3 Responses to German-Scottish-Irish-American?

  1. jokerscrowbar says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romani_people

    You should try to list the other 47 bloodlines from your paternal great-grandmother.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “The first five presidents were Welsh…” Couldn’t help yourself could you? Had to get that in there….

    • I have been told that the welsh people don’t boast, don’t mak a fuss and just get on with ruling the world behind the scenes….. Allegedly! If on my travels I meet one, I’ll check!

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