Monday, June 1, 2009

Identity and Heritage

I bet a ton of you out there know where your ancestors came from right?

I do at least. I have German and Norweigan ancestors on my dad's side and Native American on my Moms.

I've been noticing a lot lately how many people really have an intense pride in what country their ancestors came from. I've noticed this is especially prevalent in those that are Irish and Italian.

It's not that I'm not proud of where my ancestors are from, but I've never really felt a huge connection with any of the countries or the tribe of my Native American heritage. Obviously I do want to go to Germany and Norway while I'm here, but that's about it.

In all honestly I identify more with the state I'm from. I'm a fiercly proud and loyal Oklahoman. Besides that I consider myself a Southern girl. I know it's up for debate whether Oklahoma is the Midwest or the South, but I at least consider us to be a Southern state. If any accent in the state has a twang..then I consider it to be Southern.

What do you identify with more? Your heritage? Your state? Your region? What are you reasons?

28 comments:

tootie said...

I've noticed that people in the North (especially big cities like Boston, Chicago, New York) are much more aware of their ancestry/heritage. When I grew up in the North, people would often ask me about my family origin.

But, now that I've lived in the South, I've noticed that people don't make as big of a fuss about it.

Miss Adventure said...

Hmm, that's interesting. I for one don't identify with my heritage too much. I'm mostly German with a ton of other little tidbits mixed in from various northern European countries such as Sweden, Norway, and France. While I LOVE my German last name, that's about all that I really know about the culture. Like you I am PROUD of my home state and all that living there has taught me. In the end, I think that is what makes me who I am, experiences, not heritage.

Fidgeting Gidget said...

I've noticed that too, especially living in Toronto--it's a huge melting pot. People don't ask you what city you're from, they want to know your ancentral background. I always explain it like this, because this is the way it was where I grew up--I'm American, I don't know where all of my ancestors are from. My Canadian friends think it's preposterous that I don't know where my family's from, but I just don't. It may sound unintentionally arrogant, but that's what most people I know in the States would say. Like you said, Melissa, for most people from the U.S., it's more about which state or city you're from. Great post!

SS said...

That's an interesting question! I have more to me than Norwegian roots, but that is what we tend to identify ourselves as in our family. I'm about 1/2 Norwegian, 1/4 German and then a little mix of English and Irish... but it is the Norwegian that has had the traditions passed down and recognized. Maybe it is because there is not much of a generation gap between the arrival of my Norwegian relitives to the country as there is with the others (more generations of them have been born in the US).

It is to the point that my Mom and I did take a trip to Norway and found the cities and church where my great grandparents were born, baptized and married.

As far as my existence, yes, Norwegian is the heritage I identify with most... but on the surface I strongly identify with benig a Pacific Northwest native. Born, raised and still here.

Sarah said...

My parents were born and raised in the northeast where heritage is more important. Therefore I was raised knowing my heritage and being proud of it. I'm 1/4 Italian and the Italian part of my extended family is extremely close. I am also 1/4 Irish which I identify with because I look way more Irish than Italian - I've got more freckles than any girl should.

I also spent the vast majority of my life in Texas - which could almost be considered it's own country with all that dang TX pride. I am a very proud Texan, but not one of those born, bred, and raised kind. I've always said I'm a Texas gal with Yankee blood running in my veins. That seems to sum me up pretty nicely.

Love the post...got me thinking. :)

lola said...

I think I'm ambivalent between heritage and state. I'm a fierce Floridian, but there isn't really a true "Floridian" culture, as Florida is comprised mainly of people from elsewhere. My heritage is English, Dutch and German, and I identify somewhat strongly with being German, but not excessively.

If I really had to pinpoint a fierce "identity" it would be with my university -- University of Florida. It's the Gator Nation, baby! :P

Jenn said...

I only have a vague idea of my heritage. For me it's all about my state! TEXAS! I wasn't born there (was born in AZ) but I lived there since I was old enough to remember. My husband is a Native Texan and does nothing but rub it in!

Amber said...

My state(s)! I'm French Canadian which really makes me French but whatever - I'm a Mass-Hole haha.

I take ownership of both Massachusetts and Rhode Island because I've spent an equal amount of time in each and I LOVE them, what's not to love they are wicked awesome!

Via said...

I think in a lot of ways I do identify with my heritage, but I wouldn't really say I'm proud of it? I'm darker skinned, I sometimes talk with my hands, I have eyebrows that cost me $15 every three weeks and I love cheese ravioli--and I'm Italian, so all that makes sense. I would like to visit Italy, but only because it's beautiful, not because it's my heritage. But I'm not particularly proud of my state or region, so I guess it's none?Ha!

jlc said...

Ohhh yes!!! About 90% of New Jerseyans claim to be Italian.


We're very proud peeps.


I'm an ethnic mutt though: Italian, German, Scottish, English, and French....


..and then my kids shall be Taiwanese-Canadian. Talk about confusing!!

Sooner or later we're all just going to be beigeee.

Shoshanah said...

When I was in France a few years ago someone asked me where my family was from. They were really surprised when I listed off about 7 or so different nationalities. I think since they were French they probably assumed I'd be just 1 or 2 nationalities as well.

I think they fact that I have so many different countries in my background makes it different to identity with just one. And while I do identity myself as a California girl, I think the overwhelming way I'd identify myself is Jewish. Its one of the religions out there that people people can identify with religiously as well as culturally.

Young and Hip Mom/Wife said...

In my family it is a bit of both being proud of your ancestral background and your state heritage. I most identify with my German heritage due to my first and former last name. Then on my Dad's side we are all about Texas pride. I am a 6th generation Texan by birth, and my son just happens to be a 7th generation Texan....my father was one proud grandfather.

Jessica Lynn said...

I'm ridiculously proud of my city, Albuquerque. I think I appreciate it and stick up for it so much because it sometimes gets a bad reputation. I hated the place while I was growing up, so I chose a college somewhat far away and then moved to England. And then I went back home. I love that it's a dessert and I love how much pride natives have in the city. It's full of culture, entertainment, and so much excitement. Ah! I could go on and on about how much I love it (and I think I will on my blog in a few days!).

Kelly said...

I do identify with my Italian heritage a lot. I have other parts of course but that is what I adhere to. I didn't feel that connection to my state until I left it. I didn't realize how much it actually does mean! I am from Michigan and have since lived in North Carolina, Texas and now Maryland and I find myself holding tight to my Michigan heritage. I refuse to switch to the word soda. For me it will always be POP! :)

indiana.girl said...

I think of myself as a Yankee, though I also enjoy thinking of my German, English and Scottish heritage.

Jane said...

OOOOOKKKKKKKLAHOMA where the wind comes sweeping down the plain!

I'm proud of being from Oklahoma. :) All good things come from the OK. My dad's grandparents came over from Switzerland and my mom's side of the family has been around forever. As in, since the Mayflower.

When people ask me my heritage, I say I'm an American from Oklahoma.

The Wife said...

I never really thought about that!

I know that I am German and Israeli. Being born in Arizona I guess I am more loyal if you will to my state then my 'countries' if you will!

You are always so thought provoking!

Mrs. G.I Joe said...

Great post! I would have to agree with the whole Irish and Italian being more proud thing because I am Irish (amoung other things) and am EXTREMELY proud! My father was born in Ireland and he brought us kids up to really stand strong in our haritage and be proud, like puff out your chest proud and I am too! I eat cornbeef and cabbage every St. Patricks Day and wear green while singing all those cheesy/awesome irish songs...Even wanted to join River Dance at one point, I was so into it...I just needed to learn how to clog first:p I don't hame a home state ,really, to be proud of seeing as my dad moved us around so much, so this is definitely where its at for me.

mewok said...

My dad is full blooded Puerto Rican... but i am COMPLETELY a SOUTHERN girl :-) All the way!

Casey (@ Ever-Changing Life) said...

My family is from Germany, so that's an easy one to cross of the list of visited places. Ha!

I'm 100% Texan. Hook Em!

Lisa said...

I definitely consider myself a Wisconsinite over anything else. I know I'm English, Irish, Scottish, German and Welsh (Wales is probably the closest, since my great grandfather was from there). But I consider myself "from" Wisconsin even though I didn't grow up there.

I think it can also depend on the heritage too. Italians tend to be really true to it as well as a lot of the Norwegian folks I met from up north in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Jon and Steph said...

I'm with you girl! I love me some Oklahoma! and I too consider us Southern! I love being an Okie ;)

and I'm sure you've read before on my blog that I take pride in being Irish! I think the main reason for this is because my dad and mom both instilled in our brains that we were Irish. They were both very proud of their heritage. I'm pretty sure we have some Norwegian and Welsh in the mix too, but predominately Irish.

. Becca . said...

Hmm, being a military brat myself, I can't say I identify much with my area. Or my heritage (Irish/German) since I'm American. I really actually would truly say I identify myself as an American.

I've got friends all over the states, who work for and protect (and have even died for) our country, and I'm so proud to just say American.

Ashley said...

I'd have to say my state too. Born and raised in Louisiana, moved away to Tennessee and only lasted 4 months! There's just something about the south that keeps you here. I don't intend to ever move again if I can help it (hubby's work likes to transfer us though). My heritage is Irish and French, and although I'd like to visit those places, that's about the closest I am to my heritage!

Full of Heart said...

I am such a mutt that it's hard to identify with one part of my heritage. Except for the really dark hair and ability to become very, very tan if I so choose, that is clearly from my Lithuanian heritage. When I was married before people ALWAYS asked me about my last name because it was really interesting. That got kind of old, especially because people never thought I was married because I was so young, so they just assumed that the story I told about the name was MY history and not my ex husbands.
That being said I kind of just consider myself to be Californian.

d.a.r. said...

I am Scottish and Irish with a scandalous (literally...) bit of Sioux Indian thrown in. I am proud of my heritage, but um...I'm not all weird and crazy obsessed about it. Not that it's a bad thing, but I respect it and that's about it. I do want to order my maiden name family's coat of arms surrounded by our family plaid (being Scottish is cool!) at some point. You'd think I was Italian given my propensity to consume Italian food in such mass quantities :)

(army)Wife said...

Heritage-wise...I'm Irish, German, and American Indian. I definitely identify more with the Irish. And like you said, I'm intensely proud to say I'm Irish. I really don't give much consideration to the other two.

I also identify really strongly with my home state, Pennsylvania. I'm from the PA Dutch area, so many of the things I cook, phrases that I use, and traditions that we follow in our family are PA Dutch.

Tania said...

I definitely identify more with my Peruvian heritage, just because I was the only one in my class and my parents are straight from there. I grew up with both cultural influences and my mom used to get upset when I showed signs of Americanism that she didn't agree with. Now that I'm away from home now, I identify with my home state more. I'm proud of both!