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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Would you claim a nationality you were not dominant in, or deny it?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) September 8th, 2016

Imagine (seeing it would not fit you exact) you discovered through whatever DNA profile, that you were 37% Black, 20% Caucasian, 18% Hispanic, 13% Native American, and 12% Asian, if your appearance was more Caucasian or Italian (with most strangers assuming such) would you claim to be Caucasian or Italian if asked your nationality or race? If the Asian in you was noticeable would you say you were Amerasian (generic White plus Asian)? If none of the African American traits showed up in any obvious way, would you steer clear of claiming it seeing no one can tell or ask you of it? Would you determine as to what you would claim be predicated on something like seeking a job, joining a private club, applying for a grant, etc.?

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21 Answers

Sneki95's avatar

I would choose the nationality of the country I was born and live in.

canidmajor's avatar

I like this question, @Hypocrisy_Central, but I can’t really answer in any helpful way. On every form that asks such a question, for decades I have simply said N/A. The cultural ethnicity I claim is the one I grew up in, so even if a DNA test proved I was wildly diverse from my assumed heritage, I probably wouldn’t change anything.
But then I’m in my 60s, and I’m (appear anyway) Caucasion, so I can get away with a lot.

BellaB's avatar

I found out in my mid-50’s that I’m at least 25% Roma. I’d had an attachment to the community going back to my teens, but I didn’t know then that it was more than a curiosity/interest (and kept missing giant clues one family member kept plopping in front of me).

My base colouring is about as pale English/Nordic as you can imagine. My features are not.

This summer I spent a lot of time in an outdoor pool and I am dark. Dark to the point that people I’ve known for decades comment on it – and people from the Caribbean ask about my background. I tell them that I had a Roma grandfather.

Would I have told someone I was part-gypsy x years ago? It’s a great question and I’ve thought about it quite a bit over the past few years.

chyna's avatar

I can’t answer this for myself as I look Caucasion. However, I remember this from my teen years: My family is from Oklahoma and back in the 70’s Native American’s were looked down upon, made fun of and bullied.
My uncle by marriage was ¾ Native American, but refused to tell anyone outside the family for fear of reprisal. Fast forward a decade or two and it was cool to be Native American and lucrative. They were eligible for some type of monetary payment if they proved they were a certain percentage Native American. I don’t remember what this payment was, but I’m sure it was long overdue.

Mariah's avatar

So this is surprisingly relevant to me, because I did in fact just take a DNA test recently, and learned that I have a lot of Jewish blood, about 30%. We never knew about this at all, and we know a lot about my mom’s genealogy, so my dad then proceeded to take a similar test and bam: 45%. We had no idea.

I was not raised Jewish in any way whatsoever and I actually realize now that I know next to nothing about Judaism, so it hasn’t changed anything about, like, my identity or self-image, except that I’m now curious to fill in some gaps in my knowledge. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m not even sure if “Jewish” is considered an ethnicity? I’ve noticed it seems to be a bigger part of people’s identities than simply religion. I don’t know the details of how all that works though.

Regardless, I will continue to be put “caucasian” on all my forms, and I think my answer would be the same if I’d gotten results like the profile you described in the OP. If I learned I was some large percentage black (which would be laugh-worthy as I’m the whitest person ever) I don’t think I would start identifying with the label, really. I look white, that means I have white privilege regardless of what the actual breakdown is.

That’s just me though. And I’m not totally sure of my answer, either.

JLeslie's avatar

Since I’m Jewish, that’s basically the label or identity that I have grown up with, and that is put on me by others, aside from being white or a woman. I never think of my race as part of my identity, except of the specific topic comes up, but maybe that is because I’m white? Or, because I grew up in a very diverse place. It just so happens I was having a conversation/argument with some people on fb about the diversity in Chicago, I said it tends to be whiter in the middle of the country, and I’ll skip over some stuff, but I googled and the website that popped up first ranked my hometown as number 1 for diversity. Chicago was 41.

I only bring this up, because when being in a very diverse place is your normal, I think race and ethnicity are more likely to be a nonissue. I wouldn’t care if I’m part some other race that I didn’t expect. It would be odd to me to find out there are ancestors who aren’t Jewish. I don’t think those tests can really say if you’re 100% Jewusj though anyway. It wouldn’t matter though, I’m still Jewish.

I’d likely be very forthcoming with the information, and fund it interesting. Although, I see absolutely nothing wrong with people living in the identity they choose. A black friend of mine had an uncle who lived as a white doctor. The family was black, but many of them were very fair. Great grandchildren and grandchildren of slave owners. He had more opportunity as a white man back then. Sounds fine to me.

Also, I tend to keep my mouth shut about being an atheist when I’m in certain places or with certain friends. I think that isn’t any different than if someone doesn’t want to say they are X, because of whatever reason.

If I am anything but European I would be shocked. It would be cool to find out. And, I’m
Jewish. But, I think of my ancestry as eastern European Jew, but I do have relatives from Western Europe also.

@Mariah Welcome. Lol. It doesn’t surprise me you might be Jewish. I wonder when the Judaism got lost and why. Very interesting. Are you Catholic? I’m not sure how accurate those tests really are.

rojo's avatar

Well, tests prove I am 41% Irish, 32% English and (surprising to me) 19% Scandinavian, 2% Western European, 2% Finnish/Northwestern Russian and 1% Iberian so it is hard to claim I am anything but Caucasian. I could claim to be Scandinavian but I have to work on my accent.

Odd thing is my wife, whose family for more than five generations back, can be traced from Texas to Alabama, to Georgia, South Carolina and one branch to Scotland is actually more English than I am (49%) and I was born there and both sides go back several generations in England and an Irish branch.

flutherother's avatar

I’m keeping quiet about the Neanderthal part. People are so biased.

JLeslie's avatar

My niece and nephew are Italian/Mexican-American. The Mexican side is half Israeli/Jewish and ¼ Spanish and ¼ French, and Catholic on that side, although you never know with Spanish ancestry. I would guess there is more mic than even what’s named. I asked them how they identify and they kind of shrug. They can call themselves anything, but I think they identify more with the Mexican side, although their names are very Italian first and last, and my neice has been told she looks Arab, she is gorgeous, and I understand why people see that in her face, and it makes sense she possesses that. I tell he she looks from the area of the Mediterranean, which is what I say about my husband too. It behooves them to check the Hispanic box on forms as long as there are still laws to give minorities some help. I don’t think they ever use the status for anything, but maybe they do? I don’t know.

I think younger people don’t think about this sort of thing as much. Maybe I’m wrong. Americans are more and more mixed with each generation. It’s harder to feel dominant in one ethnicity or race I think.

Mariah's avatar

@JLeslie I have no idea why the Jewish blood would have gotten covered up. My dad was shocked because he had been explicitly told that his ancestry was all Scandinavian and English. No Catholicism that I know of; I was raised basically areligious and my parents were too.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mariah Well, being “areligious” and Jewish is a common combination as you probably know from Fluther. Probably 75% of the Jews on this site are atheists, and many of us our parents were/are too.

I wonder exactly how they decide some gene thing is indicative of Jews. The Ashkenazi Jews do have some genetic diseases that show more in that group than other groups, but I wonder what else is the clue someone has Judaism in their background? It’s almost like saying Jews are a “race” but we have moved away from that terminology, I know I don’t use it.

I guess since we are, or were, a very tight knit group without much intermarrying back in the day, we have some uniqueness in the genetic pool? I’d be curious to know how accurate those tests are thought to be regarding ancestry.

It’s interesting that now that you have been told about this Jewish thing that you have become more interested in it. A black woman once told me that’s it’s awful for black people not knowing what country they are from, and not really having any of their ancestral history, or traditions. She really felt cheated, and a void. I told her to make her own traditions, and I told I also am not really connected to the countries my family is from. She was shocked. I really think she thought all white people are green on St. Pat’s day, Or, drinking beer on Oktiberfest, or eating Lasagna on Christnas Eve. Like all white peoples knew where they came from and held that close as partying their identity.

I used to work with a woman who in her 20’s found out one side of her family was Jewish. She was a little freaked by it. She was raised very Catholic, and was fairly religious. She wound up marrying a Jewish guy. I don’t know if it was coincidence, or something about the information influenced her.

rojo's avatar

My granddaughters other grandfather is of hispanic origin, both his parents and all of his grandparents were born in Mexico and his parents later moved to the US legally, if there are any Trumpers out there while her other grandmother is Anglo, as we say here in Texas.

Her dad is dark skinned and she (my granddaughter) shows her Mexican heritage after spending the summer in the pool: she doesn’t burn, she browns.

When she was around 5 or 6 a bunch of us were sitting around talking about our varied racial backgrounds. We didn’t realize she was quietly listening to all of our discussions.

Her dad was speaking about his Mexican roots when she suddenly blurts out “Hey, I am half Mexican and half Human!”.

After we got ourselves back under control we explained to her that (a) Mexicans are also human and (b) that she was at best ¼ Hispanic since her dad was half and her mom had, as far as is known, none. The math went over her head but at 10 she now understands.

It still brings giggles in the family when it is brought up.

Mariah's avatar

@JLeslie My DNA test specifically said Ashkenazi Jewish. Dunno what my dad’s said, he did it through a different company. I looked it up and Crohn’s is way more common in Ashkenazi Jews than the general population. Feels like I find more and more connections there every day.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@BellaB Would I have told someone I was part-gypsy x years ago? It’s a great question and I’ve thought about it quite a bit over the past few years.
My take on it is that in Europe Gypsies were (and maybe still are) seen a lot like African Americans have been here, laced with lots of stereotypes, maligned, and looked unfavorably on. But if the documentaries I seen on Gypsies are correct in any way, even with the negative perception Gypsies would not hide who they are.

@Mariah I look white, that means I have white privilege regardless of what the actual breakdown is.
The opposite of that is being Black bars one from a lot of ”privilege”, which is the reason some Blacks with a lot of other genes in them, what was referred to as ”cut” back in the day, did not claim the Black in them if it did not show so obviously they could not spin around it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mariah Doesn’t surprise me about the Crohn’s. Although, I do know one person who isn’t Jewish who has the ailment (unless she is genetically Jewish?). Although, maybe it isn’t that Crohn’s is more a Jewish thing, but that it has to do with that part of the world? Sometimes I question these correlations. Like Jews have wildly high numbers for Nobel prizes, but I’m pretty sure Germans, Russians, and some other countries we Jews came out of have a lot of Nobel Prize winners also. Is it the religion (cultural), genetics, or the environment? America has the most Nobel prize winners, but we are a huge country. The Jewish stat is that we have a high percentage considering our population size. Back to Crohn’s, I’m almost positive the numbers are very high in western and Northern Europe, so your Nordic vicinity background could be identified as a risk factor too I think.

canidmajor's avatar

@Mariah: Please get tested for the Tay Sachs gene prior to family planning, anything to help prevent putting a child through that!

Mariah's avatar

I will almost certainly not be having genetic children just because of the Crohn’s honestly.

@JLeslie yeah it has turned out there are like 20 different things about me that predispose me to Crohn’s so the surprise has very much run out at this point.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mariah I wonder what else the Ashkenazi Jews are statistically likely to have “wrong” with them? I’d bet high cholesterol and heart disease is way high on the list. Thyroid trouble (although, maybe every group has that problem?). Autoimmune diseases. Tay Sachs as mentioned above. Although, I wasn’t worried about that since my husband is Sephardic/Middle East Jewish and Catholic from Spain and France on the other. I did have the test done though, because I was a fertility patient and they kind of make you. Funny, my family has way more health problems than my husbands. But, his family actually has a lot of family members with the genetic disease thalassemia.

@canidmajor I agree it’s worth testing, simple blood test, but even if both parents are carriers, they can test the fetus if they want to have a baby.

I think everyone should get tested for CF as a matter of routine testing. I’m pretty sure we Ashkenazi Jews are at higher risk for that one too. The Ashkenazi fertility panel tests over 10 things I think. I don’t remember the exact number.

Mariah's avatar

Common health conditions among Ashkenazi Jews. Good news for me is, the same DNA test I took to learn I had lots of Ashkenazi blood also told me I am not a carrier of CF, Tay-Sachs, or familial dysautonomia.

JLeslie's avatar

I should have written above, anyone who wants to have children, or is pregnant, should be tested for CF.

@Mariah Gosh, that list sucks.

That’s good your clear for the ones you named.

Why do you say you wouldn’t have bio babies? Because you feel you would pass down “bad” genes? Or, because you think pregnancy would be too much for your body? Don’t answer if it’s too personal.

My sister was just talking about having some of the testing done. She says then we can find out if we are only half sisters. Lol. I’m an AI baby and she believes I’m the doctor’s baby. But, it won’t tell me that I don’t think. I know genetic testing can do it, but I would think the type of test you did they don’t tell you if two people share a certain amount of genetic material that they are likely sisters or half sisters.

Mariah's avatar

My one hard rule about children is I will never be pregnant. I do not think I’d make it through that alive. I know surrogates and whatnot exist but I am also leaning away from passing down my genes at all because I do not want a child to suffer like I have. Matt wants kids very badly, so if we are in it for the long haul, I think we will probably be getting an egg donor and a surrogate. I want to adopt but he’s not into the idea.

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