What Are You?

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AuthorTopic: What Are You?
Infiltrator
Member # 3220
Profile #50
Ah, but I really was hungry. I was inspired to go get a snack. IMAGE(biggrin2.gif)
Posts: 437 | Registered: Sunday, July 13 2003 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 3857
Profile #51
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

quote:
Curious how americans care about these things
We're not the only ones. ... Ethnic tensions flourish throughout the world.

I agree. I didn't mean US people are particularly picky with your ethnic origins, quite the contrary IMAGE(smile001.gif) . I just find it interesting how americans tend to cling to their ethnic roots many generations after settling -- at least that's what I've always seen in the movies IMAGE(smile001.gif)
And nevertheless the US is one of a few places where lots of cultures coexist with minimal trouble.
Posts: 21 | Registered: Sunday, January 4 2004 08:00
BANNED
Member # 4
Profile Homepage #52
"Minimal trouble"?
...eh. I haven't had experience with anywhere else, so maybe America is tolerant on a comparative basis, even though I doubt it.

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
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Member # 95
Profile #53
It depends where you go in America and just what cultures you're dealing with. I don't think Americans tend to be any worse than the rest of humanity regarding ethnicity, but what flaws we do have are made more visible by diversity.

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Posts: 567 | Registered: Friday, October 5 2001 07:00
Warrior
Member # 4414
Profile Homepage #54
To quote my bio, I'm predominantly Celtic, some Native American, somewhat Saxon, a dash of Vandal, a tad Ostrogoth, and some Norman for sourness.

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Posts: 86 | Registered: Friday, May 21 2004 07:00
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #55
Three provinces and a continent, eh? Well-played.

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Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Warrior
Member # 4263
Profile #56
I consider myself to be me.Which isn't a lot of comfort :rolleyes:

EDITED OUT:not like you guys would give a damn about it IMAGE(frown000.gif) IMAGE(redface0.gif)

[ Tuesday, June 01, 2004 10:47: Message edited by: Mr Sax ]

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Posts: 54 | Registered: Thursday, April 15 2004 07:00
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Member # 1993
Profile #57
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IMAGE(frown000.gif) Oh, this sounds desperate. Take a cracker.

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Posts: 1420 | Registered: Wednesday, October 2 2002 07:00
Shake Before Using
Member # 75
Profile #58
Well, true. We have no idea who you are, since you've only posted 30 times.

EDIT : Oh, you're... "Voldermort"? Bleh. Still, no one really knows you that well here.

[ Tuesday, June 01, 2004 17:27: Message edited by: Imban ]
Posts: 3234 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
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Member # 67
Profile Homepage #59
Where are all the Eskimo? The last poll on the topic unearthed rather a lot.

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Posts: 1798 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
La Canaliste
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Member # 21
Profile #60
They were fair-weather Eskimo without the courage of their convictions.

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KazeArctica: Oh yes.
KazeArctica: Oh YES
Posts: 93 | Registered: Sunday, September 30 2001 22:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #61
I'm a whitey, but if you dig deeper, you'll find English, German, Irish, and Serbian, which all combine to form a rather ethnically non-descript Western European-looking person. Dressed correctly, I've been asked by locals for directions in Ireland *and* Italy. Strange.

I think Americans are interested in this stuff because our nation is so young, and so has no real cultural identity of its own. I'd also add that I've spent a fair amount of time living in the Midwest, the South, and the Atlantic Coast, and in all those regions people get along fairly well across ethnic lines. Not perfectly, mind you, and there's always a bit of black-white tension, though that also has to do with socio-economic factors. But it's not too bad, all in all, especially compared to places like Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, and India, but then, those places have religion mixed into their situations, which makes everything much, much worse in my opinion.

[ Wednesday, June 02, 2004 11:48: Message edited by: Andrew Miller ]
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #62
I'm Alaskan. No, it's not Eskimo, but it's the next best thing. Besides, freezing crosses all ethnic lines.

?Alorael, who is very glad that the freezing point of his drink of choice is lower than it has any right to be. Siberian antifreeze has nothing on skribbane!
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #63
About AM's comment: I think Americans very much do have a cultural identity of our own. Our literature, music, movies, television, and arts of various kinds are very distinctive when compared with, say, a European country or a region of China.

I'm told that when foreigners think of American culture, Britney Spears is one of the first names that comes to mind.

I think our concern with ethnicity has more to do with the immigrant nature of our society. In a new, strange country, finding people that look and talk like you do is important, so during the great waves of migration in the 1800's the Irish immigrants would find the Irish-American neighborhoods, and the Italian immigrants would find the Italian-American neighborhoods, and more recently, the various Hispanic immigrants would find the various Hispanic neighborhoods.

There were times when immigrants wouldn't even know that they were part of an ethnic group until they got here. Italians in the 1800's weren't Italians when they were in Italy; they were Romans or Venicians or whatever. Once they got here, they were all Italian immigrants, though, much to their surprise. The same thing happens with today's Hispanic immigrants, who were Mexicans or Cubans or Bolivians or whatever before coming here, but once they arrive, they are Hispanic-Americans.

This happens for reasons of comfort, security, and mutual protection, as well as simple linguistic reasons: if you speak German but not English, it is far easier to talk to other German speakers than to the rest of the population, at least until you learn the lingua franca.

Jeez, that turned into something far longer than I intended. But yeah, I think that's why Americans care about ethnicity. (And also because it sometimes indicates certain things about a person, like socioeconomic class or whether that person has been a victim of racism at some point in his/her life.)

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Agent
Member # 1993
Profile #64
AM is right, it is still a new culture. What are some hundred years? Except the Native people there is no ancient culture in America.
//
IMAGE(wink0001.gif) Maybe Americans take a fancy to dig for their roots because they have short ones.

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Posts: 1420 | Registered: Wednesday, October 2 2002 07:00
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #65
Saying that we don't have roots is as good as saying that Germany and Italy don't have any because they were only unified relatively recently, or China doesn't because they've only been what they are now for half a century.

Our roots go back as far as yours, thanks. The whole 280 million of us didn't just pop out of thin air 250 years ago.

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AnamaFreak (3:59:56 AM): Shounen-ai to the MAX
...there really is nothing that can compare to hot gay sex with a mythological icon.
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Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #66
Kel: Perhaps "culture" is the wrong word; how about "heritage?"

Custer: True, but our possession of North American land started ~250 years ago, so no one (or at least no one capable of mounting an effective protest) has any sort of real cultural/ancestral/religious claim to it. Germans and Italians, on the other hand, have a real strong sense - and by strong, I mean thousands of years' worth of sense - of belonging to their land, no matter what government encorporates it. Throw religion in there and it gets even more intense! IMAGE(smile001.gif)

Sometimes I wonder whether the whole formation of the US system of government was just a fluke, not to be repeated ever again, based on the fact that the circumstances under which the US became a republic were so unique. The US had the "advantage" of forming a nation in a land where no religious or other interest group had a strong hold or valid ancestral claim to any territory. With this "blank slate," the founders were thus able to get away with the "Freedom of Religion" clause that helps our society remain more tolerant-ish. The US currently is pressing its style of government on other parts of the world where different ethnic groups do have long term and frequently conflicting claims on territory. Isn't it then foolish/impossible to expect these peoples to move to a system of religious tolerance?

[ Thursday, June 03, 2004 05:54: Message edited by: Andrew Miller ]
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Agent
Member # 618
Profile Homepage #67
quote:
I'm told that when foreigners think of American culture, Britney Spears is one of the first names that comes to mind.
Actually, over here, if I asked ten people on the street, it wold probably be something like this:

One says that they are peacekeepers and proceeds being stupid.
Two say that they are the world's biggest terrorists, and join the UKIP.
Three say that their cars are among the least fuel-efficient on the planet, and go to protest about our high fuel prices.
Four say that the first thing that comes to mind is the sheer stupidity, but do nothing about our own.

That's probably about the British breakdown.

As for Mr.- actually just realised that it would be impolite to say that. As for AM, okay, for a start, Native Americans had a genuine ancestral claim, do you count them? Obviously not.

In actual fact, a large quantity of the British settlers sent there were sent because they were a load of religious fanatics. Also during the settling, the then pope decided that America was to be divided between the Spanish and Portugese.

As for your apparent view of: civilisation stop at our borders and that everyone else are barbarians and will stay so! [i]ABSOLOUTE ROLLOCKS![/i]

In conclusion: phwrt!

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Posts: 1487 | Registered: Sunday, February 10 2002 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #68
AM: "Heritage" isn't better, I think. We have traditions (Thanksgiving, and how many atheists celebrate Christmas as a secular commercial holiday?) just as much as any other place. We have a history going back long before any of us were born. I'm not sure that "hundreds of years" vs. "thousands of years" makes a huge difference on the cultural consciousness, because the gut feeling is, it's a darn long time either way.

However, I do think the fact that most of us (if not all) can trace our ancestry back to somewhere else does have an influence, not because we don't have an American heritage (because we certainly do), but because we have an awareness that we have more than that, too.

FBM: That's when they think about Americans, not about American culture. American culture is still McDonald's, Mickey Mouse, and Britney Spears, as far as I know.

EDIT: I just read the remaining parts of both preceding posts, and as incoherent as FBM is, I think he has a point. The US was not founded in emptiness, although the rhetoric of virtually every politician until the twentieth century would indicate otherwise. And I think religious toleration came more from the fact that the US was already religiously diverse by the time it was founded than from having come from a blank slate.

I guess we could do to the other societies that have ancestral claims to their land what we did to the societies here that had valid ancestral claims to their land, though, namely slaughter them wholesale.

[ Thursday, June 03, 2004 09:40: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #69
Kel: I think you're right on the money about our culture and traditions.

FBM: I'm well aware of Native Americans, but for all intents and purposes, they weren't factored in at the founding of the US, and didn't successfully make their case/win that battle. How you or I may feel about that is one thing, but the reality is another.

Maybe I am being a bit preachy. I do really like my gub, after all - I moved to DC to take part in it - but I think it's got a good thing going. Your government, by the by FBM, isn't exactly a shining star either, what with the violence it has left in the wake of its influence (Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan), and this just within the last century.

EDIT: Kel: Sure, there was religious diversity, but no one religion could make a greater claim over America than another at that time, which made it more of a blank slate than anywhere else one might try to establish a republican experiment. I guess "diversity" or "balance" might not equal "blank slate," but you understand where I'm coming from, right? By contrast, you have any of the examples I've named in my response to FBM. There's a lot of history in those places that would hobble tolerance.

Also, FBM, wasn't it your national religion that helped push the Puritans out, your national religion that has historically kept you in conflict with Ireland and Scotland's Catholic populations?

[ Thursday, June 03, 2004 11:36: Message edited by: Andrew Miller ]
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #70
The Anglican church has caused a lot of conflict for a religion based on one fat man's inability to remarry.

What I meant to say -- and everyone except AM seemed to miss, and even he only touched on it briefly -- is that after 200 or so years, we as Americans are probably not going to have a unique cultural identity. But you know what? Past 150 years ago, provincialism was the order of the day most places. Your ancestors were not English or German or Italian then, they were from York or Rhineland or Modena. Enough changes have happened that saying I have no roots just because my ancestors are transplants is patently ridiculous.
If anything, ours are far richer. I'm part Irish, part Polish, part vague central European -- probably anything from the Netherlands to Slovakia -- and I could lay cultural claim to any of that.

What we've got is a country full of me. You can take your fixed locational roots, I'm perfectly happy to have a country which can borrow from Li Bo and Socrates without either being contrived.

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AnamaFreak (3:59:56 AM): Shounen-ai to the MAX
...there really is nothing that can compare to hot gay sex with a mythological icon.
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Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #71
Alec, that is what I said too. We do have an American cultural identity. We as individuals just have other ones in addition.

AM: I suppose my only issue was with the semantics, really. A situation of so much diversity that no one can claim primacy seems more like a slate with lots and lots of scribbles on it than a blank slate, but I guess it comes out to the same thing.

Certainly we don't have a situation like Israel where two sides both claim the same land... although come to think of it, we did up until a little over a hundred years ago. The only difference is that the Native Americans got obliterated by... I can't think of the right term, but the other Americans, whereas neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians seem to have the ability nor the tacit international permission to commit genocide.

I never thought about it that way. Hmm.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #72
It's worthy of note that while quite a few people have started genocides, Columbus is the only person in recorded history to have finished one. The entire native population of some island or another -- I think Hispanola, which is a pretty damn big one -- got wiped clean. The only place the Arawaks exist any more is in colonial Spanish records.

[ Thursday, June 03, 2004 13:10: Message edited by: CUSTER FOLGT DER MASCHINE ]

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AnamaFreak (3:59:56 AM): Shounen-ai to the MAX
...there really is nothing that can compare to hot gay sex with a mythological icon.
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Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #73
FBM: The pope didn't decide to split America between Portugal and Spain in the midst of British colonialism. The Treaty of Tordesilla came about a year after Columbus ran into the New World. Britain didn't start settling the mainland until more than a hundred years later, not that anyone seemed to take the pope's decree very seriously.

If you go to New England, you'll notice that there's a definite kind of culture present. Not everyone fits into a neat stereotype, of course, but a certain outlook and certain values are the norm. Head into the Midwest, and you'll find a slightly different culture. The South is different too, and the west coast, and. America, like any region larger than one town, has many cultures.

Do all the cultures come together to form one underlying American culture? Of course, but the same can be said for all Western countries, or for any grouping you care to name.

?Alorael, who would describe American culture as the average of the cultures brought in by immigrants, with a healthy dash of human insanity thrown in. It's no wonder that American occasionally comes up with really horrible things. Britney Spears cannot be held against a country forever!
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
This Side Towards Enemy
Member # 3098
Profile #74
The Treaty of Tordesillas was mostly influenced by the pope being controlled by Portugal and Spain at that time. There was no real logical basis to this assignment except to try to keep those two powers at peace and nobody was going to be surprised when after the Reformation Protestant powers ignored it.

The United States was theoretically formed as a secular state. Nevertheless, this has much to do with the wide variety of nonconformist groups as to any particular ideals. The attitude to Catholics frequently demonstrated in later years is evidence of this - if you were Protestant, then for stability's sake your religious allegiance would not be remarked upon.

Of course, most settlers to America were not sent there. They may have left Britain for a quiet life but in the main if somebody was going to be told to leave the shores of Britain, it would be for something more serious than being a Puritan.

Alec, regionalism only really applies in countries which formed comparatively recently or were not greatly centralised. France and England would hence not have demonstrated this to such an extent. It would be more evident in ununified areas such as Germany and Italy or areas with many ethnic groups such as Austria and Russia.

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