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  1. #61

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    To the extent that your presupposition is valid, Americans identify by race rather than ethnicity because they live as a "white person" or a "black person" or a "hispanic person" etc. every day. Ethnicity for most Americans is less relevant to identity because we're an immigrant nation divorced from what it means to live daily as Irish, German, Russian, English, etc. Mostly it's fodder for small talk and a way to choose the team of your secondary allegiance for the Olympics and the World Cup (or primary allegiance for the type that pretends to be Canadian when traveling overseas.)

    But, as I alluded to at the start, your presupposition isn't entirely valid. As should be clear from the minor sniping in the thread so far, most Americans have a regional identity that's nearly as important as a general American or race-based identity. This regional identity may mean for Americans what a national ethnicity means for a European, especially considering the size of America and its states and the size of Europe and its nations. As long as they're of comparable economic classes, a white Texan probably has more in common with a hispanic Texan than he does with a white Oregonian. There are also certain ethnicities in America for whom ethnicity commingles with race to the point that they're inseparable, notably Jews and Mexicans.
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  2. #62
    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    When you are out of the bathroom, you are American. What are you when you are in the bathroom?
    European

    (Sorry couldn't leave that hangin out there like that)
    You hem me in -- behind and before;
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    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

  3. #63
    The Typing Tabby grey_beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Who defines these "usual cultural divisions"? Non-Texans and non-Southerners, I would guess. I'm not from either region. I'm from the Midwest, but I have spent a good amount of time in both places. I know enough to know better than to group them together simply because both regions are predominantly Republican.
    Heh. The South was uniformly Democrat until Jimmuh Carter got his ass handed to him by Ronald Reagan. (hint: Remember the term "Reagan Democrats"?)
    "Love never needs time. But friendship always needs time. More and more and more time, up to long past midnight." -- The Crime of Captain Gahagan

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  4. #64
    The Typing Tabby grey_beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    Hey, the people living 40 miles from me do NOT have the same culture. Do not confuse us. We eat slightly different foods & have slightly different accents. Get it straight, you ignoramuses!

    ------

    My exact race is up in the air, depending on how you define such things. If you consider Spaniards & Italians white, then I'm white. If not (was it DiscoBiscuit who said we're "swirls"? That was a new one to me ), then I'm "off white" I guess. Hispanic people in California do not consider me Hispanic at all & certainly not my red-haired Spanish mother or blond sister. Most white people DO consider me white given that I'm fairer & taller than most Hispanics here, who are predominantly Mexican & usually a mix of native peoples & Spanish. But a larger amount just kind of wonder or assume I'm a mix. If I am tanned or dye my hair darker, the ambiguity increases & the topic inevitably comes up with new people.

    I loathe the term "Hispanic" for many reasons, and I normally avoid using it. I never was given that ethnic identity from my Spanish speaking family members, who consider themselves white & of European heritage, but also Latin & "Mediterranean". So I tend to think of myself in terms of specifics - I'm a mix of German, Spanish & some Italian, among other things. I amusedly call myself a mutt too. If push comes to shove, then I'd say I identify with "white", especially culturally. I definitely don't identify as, uh, "non white". It really IS simpler for me to be specific, which I choose to be if I can be. If traveling, of course I'd just identify as American & Californian, as most people inquiring want to know where you are from, not what your ethnic background is. My identity is not strongly linked to any of this either.... INFP is probably a better label than any of those :P.

    The OP is funny because some time ago people were criticizing white Americans FOR knowing & identifying with their ethnic heritage. They scoffed if an American would say "I'm Italian" as if they were claiming they were the same as someone whose nationality was Italian. People tried to explain that an American is unlikely to say this in a context of identifying anything other than their ethnic background, and the reason it's done is because of the mix of ethnicities here, how that affects pockets of sub-cultures, and especially how someone's physical appearance is influenced by their heritage. So from their perspective, Americans have a habit of specifically noting their ethnic background & not just identifying with their color & nationality.

    Appearance is interesting because it can be soooo deceiving. There was this app I came across called "Who Am I?" (or something like that) where you guess the race of someone based on a photo, & it was pretty interesting because people often were not what they appeared to be, not according to common ideas anyhow. The clear lines don't really exist, and even a spectrum is not quite there, as within an ethnicity there can be a lot of variety.
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    "Love never needs time. But friendship always needs time. More and more and more time, up to long past midnight." -- The Crime of Captain Gahagan

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  5. #65
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    As an American:

    It's complicated. I am German/Italian/Slovenian/Scottish/French/English/Dutch/Greek... And more, I'm sure I left something out... Most people I know are like this. And many if not most of us don't identify super closely with any particular heritage because we're several generations removed. So there is not really much ability to classify nor much purpose in doing so. I suppose institutions use race because that's the simplest way to do it, but I don't really identify with "white" in any sense more than I've been filling it out on forms my entire life. It seems like a stupid classification, one that says essentially nothing about who I am or what my life is like. I definitely don't consider everyone the same and I don't think most Americans do, either. So I think it's quite the opposite, that we are generally so different that it is hard to even classify.

    What @EffEmDoubleyou said is right on IMO. Regional identity is more potent here generally. I was born in the South to Northern parents and identify as more culturally Northern, though I am very accustomed to living in the South. I share more in common culturally with the part-Hispanic culturally Northern-in-the-South family I know than white culturally Southern families I know.

  6. #66
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    I'm 100% English and Scottish.

    American by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

  7. #67
    Senior Member Rambling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    When you are out of the bathroom, you are American. What are you when you are in the bathroom?
    If you're calling it a bathroom, then you're definitely a Yank, unless there is a bathtub in there.

  8. #68
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    We all have two countries: our own and France.

    And we all have two cultures: our own and American.

    And Americans define themselves by non-Americans, and non-Americans define themselves by Americans.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    We all have two countries: our own and France.
    Why France of all countries? It has been 70 year since France has been had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    Why France of all countries? It has been 70 year since France has been had.
    Well, France is the world's top tourist destination.

    There is also the joke that God created France, and to compensate for the natural beauty of the country he then created the French.

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