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  1. #11
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GZA View Post
    Which raises another interesting thing, how does it effect people to be born into a culture they will grow to strongly dislike, such was the case with the two jewish girls I mentioned earlier who said they couldn't stand the jewish culture.
    i'm 100% ashkenazi jew. unfortunately, my parents forced the culture upon me -- i've always been a huge skeptic; i remember in preschool (jewish) wondering when my teachers were going to come out and say that God isn't real just like the tooth fairy.

    the prayers and readings started really weirding me out at around age 8 or 9. it just seemed so cultish and scary that so many people would blindly chant things without even knowing what they're saying. and these feelings have only gotten worse with time. these days, i'm soooooo uncomfortable when i'm in a position where people are praying or even talking about religion in any sort of serious way.

    and although i was in hebrewschool until i was 18, i literally haven't said ONE prayer since my bar mitzvah (which was forced upon me). and it sucks, because i know a lot of my family members get offended at passover seder when i refuse to participate. but i'm just not going to compromise myself.

    so basically i'm a complete outsider when it comes to jewish culture. i have jewish friends, but none of them talk about it much.

    the worst part about it is that i'm an FJ. speaking my mind in hebrewschool was not a possibility for me. i didn't hold back entirely, but i could never really state my full opinions -- i could never be myself.

    ugh. i'm certainly not going to force something like that on my kids...

    sorry for the poor grammar, i'm all fucked up right now

  2. #12
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    For me, being European is something that I've grown into. From being indifferent to it as a kid, it's become a major part of who I am and how I see myself and the world. It was, ironically, spending some years as a Muslim that put me in touch with my Europeanness and acted as the catalyst that caused me to fully embrace it, and to take a truly fuller interest in the um, anthropology, heritage, culture etc of what I now felt to be 'my people'.

    Being around other cultures is always highly stimulating for me. Nothing's better or more enjoyable for me, than being in the midst of people who see things and think very differently to me. I go into hyper-observation and interaction mode, and often absorb much of what I learn into myself, and incorporate it into my worldview. It's horizon-broadening par excellance, and I'm very happy that there are so many Asians and Africans in my hometown, because their homelands are too far away for me to be likely to be able to go there anytime soon to see for myself their ways of doing things. It's fantastic from my POV that I can have the 'next best thing' through these immigrants.

    I'm all for flinging open the borders. I remember driving across the border between France and Belgium and seeing a little booth in the road for checking passports. There was nobody there. It's only manned two days a week! I laughed and laughed, the positive energy and joy that gave me, well it still keeps me going now when I think about it. One day, even the booth might be gone
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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  3. #13
    Resident Snot-Nose GZA's Avatar
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    Awesome replies in this thread. Awesome.

  4. #14
    Senior Member sriv's Avatar
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    1) How does your cultural and ethnic identity influence who you are, especially in cultures such as Canada or the United States, ect where there is a huge veriety of cultures and ethnicities living together?

    I live in the United States and am ethnically Hindu. As I was raised, my parents imposed the Hindu culture upon me and I thought the mythology was cool for the most part, but when it actually came to spending time doing rituals, I was very whiny. Slowly, I developed my own identity and seperated from the Hindu identity and I dropped Hinduism (the religion) for skepticism. My parents are striving to get me to know Telugu, one of the official Indian languages, but I cannot speak it, only understand it. Fluency at the language is necessary for communicating with the parental side of my family in India. My lack of fluency at Telugu remains a growing pain because the older I get the less likely I will be able to pick up a language.

    My parents have asked me what I think about arranged marriage and I said that I'll take it on my own interviewing terms only if I can't find one myself.

    My grandmom is still convinced of the caste system and will scream with anguish if I marry a black person. She is adorable.

    2) How does living surrounded by different cultures and identities influence you?

    Parental and their social group's influence-
    It successfully influenced enough S into me that I am IxTJ.
    The elitist stance with some compassion and guilt trips they used on me developed me into a perfectionist, which I am slowly moving away from. That is probably not the best idea.
    Gave me a different perspective on things.

    Society-
    Very little in comparison.
    Procrastination.
    Lost fluency in Telugu at age 5 and gained fluency in English.
    There are not many cultures openly practiced in the WASPy suburbs I live in.
    Reyson: ...If you were to change your ways, I'm sure we could rebuild the relationship the two of us once shared.

    Naesala: Oh no, that I could never do. You see, humans are essential to the fulfillment of my ambitions.

    Reyson: You've changed, Naesala. If this is the path you've chosen, I've nothing left to say.

  5. #15
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    Wonderful topic, one that is very close to my heart.

    I'm an American of Polish ancestry. My ethnic heritage means a lot to me, and I feel it's generally a good idea to know where you came from; it's a vital way of building an authentic self-identity and individuality.

    I don't feel my heritage was ever imposed upon me as a child. If anything, I've actually helped my elders embrace our heritage more openly.

    One problem that constantly plagued me when I was younger, and still does today, is the question of whether I'm more American or Polish. The problem is you face opposition from both ends of the spectrum: one for not being "American" enough, and the other for not being "Polish" enough.

    The only honest answer I can give is that I'm Polish-American, that is my heritage is a hybrid of Polish and American elements.

    I'll have to add more later. Seriously, I can go on forever on this topic.

  6. #16
    Resident Snot-Nose GZA's Avatar
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    Peguy, your post is particularly interesting to me because we talk about that a lot in Canada (the use of "______-Canadian" to descirbe heritage). John Diefenbaker, Prime Minister of Canada from 1957-1963, said he wanted to eliminate the cultural disparity in Canada and eliminate the "hyphenated Canadian" to create a nation that finds unity in the massive differences in culture and background. My grade 10 history class last year had a lengthy discussion about it. Everyone was asked what they considered themselves. This wasn't a factual "what is your ethnicity" or "where did your family come to Canada from?", it was just simply "what do you call your heritage/cultural identity?". About half of the class answered "______-Canadian", and the others were either "Canadian" or whatever nationality they were from birth that they still identified as. I said "Canadian". Most of the people who were "Hyphenated Canadians" were the children or grandchildren of immigrants, and thus had their older family wanting to pass on their traditions just as their parents had.

    Are you the child or grandchild of an immigrant?

  7. #17
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    I am one-quarter Italian (Abruzzese, to be exact; I got the goofy Italian last name), one-half Irish, and one-quarter American mongrel (my grandmother is originally from Southern Virginia; most likely lowland Scottish or Scots-Irish immigrants who have been in North America for a fairly long time, and supposedly, a Cherokee ancestor somewhere back).

    At this stage, both sides of my family have been in the United States since at least my great-great-grandparents (and, with my maternal grandmother's family, much further back than that). I don't feel as if I have the traditional blue-collar Philadelphia Catholic mentality; I feel more like a fairly cosmopolitan East Coast unhyphenated American. However, I do identify with both the Irish-American and Italian-American aspects of my background. I've read extensively on modern and ancient Irish history, and my visit there was one of the best trips I've ever taken. Also, I'm closer to my mother's side of the family (the Irish side) and my grandparents were proudly Irish-American. Irish music was commonplace on holidays and at parties (and, being Irish, there parties pretty much all the time). I really identify with that feature; the gatherings, the storytelling, the seeming paradox of being both fierce, tough people and tender, sentimental poets and artists. Also, my mother is a very smart and determined woman, whilst being super family-oriented. The Italian side of my background is less pronounced, but I feel it, as well. I'm known for my love of wine, women, and song. I enjoy both the finer things in life (like fashion, and travel, and museums), and simple pleasures like spaghetti and meatballs or a day at the beach. Italians are also (as a generalization) an outgoing, sometimes fiery people, and I share that aspect with my father. Instantaneous bonhomie with all different kinds of people, but a temper that can flare mightily.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  8. #18
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by GZA View Post
    Peguy, your post is particularly interesting to me because we talk about that a lot in Canada (the use of "______-Canadian" to descirbe heritage). John Diefenbaker, Prime Minister of Canada from 1957-1963, said he wanted to eliminate the cultural disparity in Canada and eliminate the "hyphenated Canadian" to create a nation that finds unity in the massive differences in culture and background.

    Well on some levels the fears of being a "hyphentated American/Canadian/etc" are certainly founded if it means having divided loyalty between your ancestral land and your homeland.

    Other than that, it's nonsense and based upon a rather abstract concept of a nation. A nation is a community of communities at its hearts, there'll always be differences within its population. This is especially true with a country like America.

    My sense of ethnic pride largely extends to my American ethnic community. I certainly have love and concern for the old country, but I have to look out for the Polish people closest to me - not farthest away.

    There's plenty of BS being spread around about concepts of ethnic identity and so on, and I do my best to correct them.

    Again, this is something I'll have to go into details later.


    Are you the child or grandchild of an immigrant?
    Im 3rd generation.

  9. #19
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    Being Southern has absolutely shaped me. NC bears it's own unique stamp, too. I doubt I could adequately describe it, but it hangs on my mind and memory like Spanish moss. My family has been in the same general location (TN,NC,SC,VA) for 400 years, so our roots go deep. Being Scottish and Southern-band Cherokee has shaped my thinking (as well as my face and dark eyes - inherited from my Cherokee great-grandmother).

    The South never leaves you. Our dead don't die. Our souls don't depart. The ground gives them all up, and the air suspends them. Burying my grandfather one torrid summer in the swamps of the coastal plain where my "people" came from really typifies the experience.
    eNFJ 4w3 sx/so 468 tritype
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  10. #20
    Senior Member placebo's Avatar
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    1) How does your cultural and ethnic identity influence who you are, especially in cultures such as Canada or the United States, ect where there is a huge veriety of cultures and ethnicities living together?

    Well I'm a visible minority in Canada so it's quite interesting actually, the cultural dynamics of it. Canada claims to be a very multicultural country, though it's all very determined by area. Cultures tend to cluster in certain areas.

    I was born in Canada, after my parents immigrated here. There's a different kind of culture at home than there is outside of home and that's the main thing for us who aren't completely integrated in Western culture. We are sort of separate from it and yet a part of it.

    It's very much influenced me. Having parents who stick more to the Eastern culture while living in the Western culture can be mindboggling and just a little confusing. Which culture's traditions and values do you live by? Where do you find the balance? Where can you share cultural aspects and what things do you keep separate? It's a bit confusing this way. Most of the time I'm not actually aware of these questions, but it definitely factors in when you make big decisions in your life.


    2) How does living surrounded by different cultures and identities influence you?

    I'm kind of tempted to be sucked into Western culture because of the freedom it seems to offer in terms of identity and everything. Seeing all these different cultures and different ways people live is mostly interesting though and I think it's a great thing... I'm kind of still trying to find some kind of balance.

    Culture is the main thing about humans that separates people and creates differences and problems. It's a completely human construct isn't it?

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