Thoughts that just come to me...
Published on November 30, 2004 By Genghis Hank In Misc
“What are you?” In today’s era of multicultural awareness, you get asked this from time to time. “What is your family? Where do you come from?” You see, everyone must come from somewhere. By answering, you show how you embrace diversity and are a sensitive and caring person.

I always answer the same way. “I’m an American.”

Now, this simply won’t do. You see, everyone must be from somewhere else. Surely, there must be some culture or heritage that you claim. Everyone knows that there is no such thing as an “American” culture. Perhaps there is some misunderstanding here. “Where does your family come from?”

“Well, I have ancestors on both sides of my family that have lived within 50 miles of where I live now for longer than 200 years. I have at least 10 direct ancestors that fought in the Revolutionary War. That’s just on the American side. There is one who we believe was a Hessian mercenary fighting for the British who later either decided to stay or couldn’t afford to return home. I can go farther back than that. I can trace ancestors to Boston nearly 400 years ago.”

“So you must be English.”

“No. I have ancestors that come from England. Also Ireland, Wales, Germany, France, Italy, Sicily, and the Netherlands. That’s just that I know of. There are also family rumors of Spanish, Scottish, and Native American.”

Now, thoroughly perplexed, our imaginary questioner grasps for a tangential assault. “What religion are you? What kind of food does your family eat?”

“I am Christian, but do not belong to any particular denomination. I eat pizza, hamburgers, french fries, ham, potatoes, tacos... You know, what everybody eats.”

“So you are just a white European, a WASP.”

At this point, my patience has run out. I am not a WASP. A wasp is an insect. I am not European. I’ve never left the country. Well, once to Canada, but that hardly counts. I am an American. But if that’s simply not good enough, then I’ve come up with a label for all those people that are politically correct and create labels for people because they hate the labels that other people use. It’s a label with a proud heritage. One that covers most of the places that my ancestors came from. One that avoids most of the negative connetations that “White” or “European” seem to have. I’ve decided that in the future, I shall be referred to as Roman-American.

on Nov 30, 2004
How about "native born american"? Would make your point in that as far as your concerned all that is important is that your american. And at the same time be slightly different then the so called native americans, who are only slightly more native then you are.
on Nov 30, 2004
How about "native born american"?

Hmmm, have to think about it

Still, wouldn't it be better if "American" was enough?
on Nov 30, 2004
I understand your frustration, yet don't entirely agree. I have always wanted a cultural "home", a basis of traditions and community that I simply don't have here. You have to admit that that kind of thing, in the way it was in days past, is pretty unheard of now. I'm sure other countries, especially in Western Europe, have also experienced this change. However, I don't see that same set of...shall we say, community values, springing up here. Yes, Americans have values and morals, but it's not community-based like it once was. I think the longing for a cultural heritage is also a longing for that same type of community. And while that may be possible in this country, and this time, I think the hectic pace of our lives makes it unachievable.

Besides, ethnic stuff is just *cool*! I mean, languages and neat old buildings and funky clothes...tasty food that your grandma's grandma used to make...knowing that you are doing the same stuff your ancestors did hundreds of years before you...I think it's all about a sense of connection. It is unfortunate that there are people who turn this desire into some game of "my ancestors are cooler than yours".

Blog on! --LL
on Dec 06, 2004
That's why I just say, "I'm Texan!"

That about sums it up. People then usually look scared, comforted, or bewildered.