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Does "heritage" matter?

 
 
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 05:41 pm
So there's this other forum I look in on once in a while where about 3/4 of the members are hysterics and/or nut jobs. They got into a big pissing contest about "heritage" today.

I'm an absolute mutt American who has never given a second thought to my "heritage" so I'm asking here if "heritage" means anything to anyone and why.

Please know that I'm not trying to cut you down or anything if it is important to you. I just don't get it.

Also know that I don't mean ethniticity, and I don't mean history, I just mean does it matter to you where your family came from, and, if so, how does this importance manifest itself in your life.

If it doesn't matter to you, why do you think it would matter to someone else.

My question is really directed at white American's of European descent but everyone is, of course, welcome to respond.

Thanks!
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 05:46 pm
@boomerang,
nothing more than curiosity, we've found a grave up north which lists the county in ireland a relative came from, and while i enjoy irish music, i believe the two things are mutually exclusive
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 05:57 pm
@boomerang,
Heritage certainly matters to me. There is certainly an American heritage... the American story is about liberty, the struggle the rights... some is idealized, and some is mythology, but it has meaning. But, the American narrative informs our identity and it belongs to us.

People need an identity; an answer to the question; "who am I?"

Heritage, be it national narrative or family history informs and shapes who we are.


Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:01 pm
Well, I'm English on my father's side and Scottish on my mother's. We've always identified ourselves as Canadians first, and British second. But when I spent some time in Scotland, I really felt connected to it and to my heritage. This old fellow in a bar asked my family name and proceeded to tell me some of our history. It was fascinating. Since then I've aligned myself more to the Scottish side, but truly, I don't feel anything at all but Canadian. For me, that's a huge void, because, really, what are we? Transplants without a heritage.
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:06 pm
@ebrown p,
i'm just this guy who happens to live in canada, i don't really think of canada as defining who i am, my favourite music is about equal parts american and british, while my tv choices are almost exclusively british, a check of my podcasts shows the majority lean towards british and australian, books are about evenly split between american and british
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:07 pm
I am a Heinz 57. I come from the USA - primarily south and southwest, though I moved too many times to have allegiance to one spot of ground. Dutch, English, Irish, Choctaw, Cherokee, Tejas. Not sure if there is more.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:07 pm
@ebrown p,
Okay... let's pretend my family is from Finland (and who knows, maybe they are). How is that supposed to answer "who am I"?

djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:09 pm
@boomerang,


Finland, Finland, Finland,
The country where I want to be,
Pony trekking or camping,
Or just watching TV.
Finland, Finland, Finland.
It's the country for me.

You're so near to Russia,
So far from Japan,
Quite a long way from Cairo,
Lots of miles from Vietnam.

Finland, Finland, Finland,
The country where I want to be,
Eating breakfast or dinner,
Or snack lunch in the hall.
Finland, Finland, Finland.
Finland has it all.

You're so sadly neglected
And often ignored,
A poor second to Belgium,
When going abroad.

Finland, Finland, Finland,
The country where I quite want to be,
Your mountains so lofty,
Your treetops so tall.
Finland, Finland, Finland.
Finland has it all.

Finland, Finland, Finland,
The country where I quite want to be,
Your mountains so lofty,
Your treetops so tall.
Finland, Finland, Finland.
Finland has it all.

Finland has it all.
Mame
 
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Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:11 pm
Why don't we pretend instead that you are living dual lives; one as an American Finn, and the other as a Finnish Finn. What do you think the difference to both of you might be re heritgage? I'd suspect the Finn would have a definitely Finnish background and a strong idea of their Finnish heritage whereas the American you would have much less.
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:12 pm
@djjd62,
Where do you come up with this stuff, you crazy Canuck?
ebrown p
 
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Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:13 pm
@djjd62,
First, to DJ and Boomerang... the main thing that I wanted to say is that my heritage, both my national narrative and my family history, matters to me (which was the question). I didn't mean to pass judgement on people who don't feel the same way.

That being said, our nationality does influence our lifestyles and even our way of thinking in pretty basic ways.
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:15 pm
@boomerang,
and the moomins are half finnish
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a9/Moomin_kuva.JPG
djjd62
 
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Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:16 pm
@Mame,
it's from a monty python album, the contractual obligation album if i remember correctly
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dyslexia
 
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Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:17 pm
being essentially an american mongrel I've never given heritage much thought. Then, about 20 years ago, my father got on a family tree jag and even spent a week at the mormon acrhives in utah researching the family. He discovered that his mother's side of the family were french (LaBlanc) who arrived in Acadia (Nova Scotia?) in 1640. sometime later they were run out by the brits and settled in Louisiana where they remained until about 1900 when they moved to Houston Tx for work. I had no idea although I do remember as a child when my grandmother spoke french but thought it was just louisiana french. (she was a horrible cook, stood about 4'10 and had flaming red hair and her name was Ethel.)
ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:22 pm
@dyslexia,
I submit that American Mongrel is a Heritage. It comes with its own mythology (which we all learned in school) and a very distinct set of customs and values. And our American Mongrel heritage informs the ways we live and think.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:26 pm
My wife is not certain what she is, but I suspect she's a Pollock. Between her and myself and our kids' choices in partners, the mix of the grandkids is widely varied. They added Mexican, German, Puerto Rican - not sure what else is now thrown in there.
Irishk
 
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Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:29 pm
Never think about it and it never comes up unless this one cousin, at family reunions, pulls out the blueprints to show off all his hard work and travels in mapping the family tree. Sometimes get the family tartan or some other kind of Irish memorabilia as gifts...think about it a bit then as I'm sticking them away in a drawer Smile

(Mr.Irish almost never wears a kilt)
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Letty
 
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Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 06:37 pm
@boomerang,
heritage is important in that one may need to know about inherited diseases, boomer. Just found out that my Scottish heritage comes from my third cousin.
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aidan
 
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Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 08:54 pm
It matters to me in that I find it very interesting and think it informs who I am today. Even though my maternal and paternal ancestors left various parts of England, Scotland and Ireland in the late 18th century and have lived in America ever since, the minute I set foot on UK soil, I felt I'd come home- in terms of the physical landscape - it speaks to me.

I know a lot of people on this forum don't believe in 'spiritual' experiences - but for me it was a 'spiritual' experience - a sense of deep and almost primal recognition. The same thing just happened when I was in Texas in June. My parents left Texas with me when I was a one year old child, but my whole life I've loved everything Mexican - the music, the people, the food, the colors, the art....and I never knew why - and then it hit me when I was there in June - another bout of primal recognition, maybe because it's the place of my birth and my parents were born and raised there - that cultural atmosphere speaks to me - not something I've ever felt when I set foot in New Jersey after a long absence. Laughing Laughing
I recognize and love the people and their attitudes (in New Jersey) but not the physical landscape or the cultural atmosphere.

I think how everyone feels about and reacts to anything is very individual. I have no idea if my brother and sisters would feel the same way I did coming to England or Scotland or Ireland. But I'm glad I've had the chance to experience it. And I appreciate all the different aspects of my heritage. I love having been exposed to southern food and southern people, but am SO happy I didn't have to be raised among certain southern attitudes. I feel that I got the best of both worlds actually.

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hawkeye10
 
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Reply Sun 18 Jul, 2010 09:42 pm
Just about all my stock goes back 5 generations in America, even have some Indian in me, so I dont consider myself anything but American. I do care about that, proud to be an American, victory or death, all that rot. My wife is second generation, half Russian half French, so my kids might feel differently some day.
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