General Question

wundayatta's avatar

What role does your ethic heritage play in your life?

Asked by wundayatta (58617points) March 18th, 2009

Immigrants may lose knowledge of where they came from over the generations. They may forget the history of their great grandparents, or know it only in a dry, historical way. They might continue to celebrate holidays (St. Patrick’s Day, for example), but see it only as a chance to wear kelly green and get soddenly drunk. They may have no idea about anything else in their Irish heritage.

Yet, other things are not so easy to “forget.” Hair color, skin color, body shape, and intelligence are things inherited through the genes, and may have an impact on us, even though we don’t remember they came from a specific part of the world a few generations back.

Maybe you talk a certain way. Maybe you dress a certain way. Dance or music you love could be a part of it. Food you eat. Knowledge you have—historical or cultural.

What role do the things that come to you from that land—from which, perhaps long ago, or perhaps recently, your ancestors left to come to the country you now live in—play in your life?

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24 Answers

Strauss's avatar

My grandparents on both sides were the first generation. My mom’s side of the family is Irish, and my dad’s side is Slovenian. The most immediate things I can think of as far as cultural knowledge, is food and music. I love Irish food and I love Slovenian food. The musical heritage from both sides has strongly influenced my repertoire as a singer/songwriter. But most of all, what I cherish about my heritage is the stories. I would sit with my grandma for hours just to hear her retell the story of her crossing, from the perspective of a six year old child.

Les's avatar

I love carbs and cabbage. Polish and German

drClaw's avatar

My family is Scottish (3rd generation), German (3rd generation), and Norwegian (4th generation). We take our heritage very seriously and try to pass it along to our children with tradition and ceremony.

SeventhSense's avatar

I suppose you mean Ethnic.
I am half Norwegian and Half Scottish and so I’m a complete Barbarian.
Discover America, sail around the world, rape, pillage, plunder. Good Times

asmonet's avatar

I’m Spanish, German, Czech, and as I recently learned I am also a splash of French, and a smidge of English, my extended family is Ecuadorian. There’s food, music, a massive family mostly from Ecuador but also from Columbia and other places. And we’re spread out over the world from England, to Jersey, California, Canada, Central and South America… everywhere. But, I’ve got so much going on with how I was raised with a Catholic family, and then my mother putting Jesus, Buddha, and Dalai Lama photos around the house and religious texts all over that I feel connected to the world culture. But I find no special attachment to any specific one in most cases.

kruger_d's avatar

My heritage impact my travel decisions. I am Norwegian and German and have visited both countries and plan to return someday. Some characteristics I observed that I also see in my family are a tendency to be stoic or reserved, family loyalty, and an abundance of hospitality.
Certain holiday food tradition remain on the Norweigian side-lefse, lutefisk, sandbakkels,krumkake, rommegrut. Definitely a carb-heavy diet in general. It’s amazing how many things can be made with just flour, sugar and fat!
My ancestors were all farmers in Europe. My parents are 2nd and 3rd generation farmers in US.
There are many Scandinavian/German events, festivals, dinners in the upper midwest, some of which my family attend.
We are Lutheran which is very typical of Nor./Ger. immigrants. Occasionally still hear hymns sung in those languages at church.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I am a European mutt, but I’ve got Scottish blood that screams away inside of me. That’s how you can tell you’re Scottish, the pride. I don’t eat meat or drink alcohol. I’ve never walked the moors or played the agony bags (bag pipes for you non-Scottish folk) but the pride I feel at being Scottish is the legacy I have. What’s more, the blood that ran in William Wallace’s veins runs in mine, and that’s not something to take lightly.

dynamicduo's avatar

I’m generally Canadian, my dad’s dad I believe was from Germany and my mother from Quebec for a few generations. I may or may not have a valley accent, the pizza guy swore up and down I had a British accent last week and I get the “what accent do you have?” question quite a bit even though I’ve lived my life here with no accent influencing folk.

All in all it hasn’t really played much effect consciously. But I do recognize that I was a somewhat privileged person, had food in my belly and water available all the time, was given a great time growing up, didn’t have to eat at a soup kitchen, do not have a parent with a disease, and that this is not necessarily the norm.

SeventhSense's avatar

Reminds me of a Scottish joke-
Malcolm: Andrew
Andrew:Yes Malcolm
Malcolm: We’ve always been best friends.
Andrew: Aye that we have Malcolm
Malcolm: Can you do me a favor Andrew?
Andrew: Aye
Malcolm: When I die can you pour this 24 year old bottle of Scotch on my grave
Andrew: Aye, that I will…but Andrew can I ask you a question?
Malcolm: Sure Andrew, what is it?
Andrew: Malcolm, do you mind if I pass it through my kidneys first?

SuperMouse's avatar

@SeventhSense I heard that as an Irish joke! I am mostly Irish and Scottish with some Polish for good measure. My ethnic heritage plays no role whatsoever in my life.

forestGeek's avatar

I’m German and I love beer!

@Les – I’m German & Polish as well!

galileogirl's avatar

My Dad’s ancestors arrived between 1634 and 1750 so we are so far from our roots on that side nothing comes through. Most of the nations that exist today were not even identifiable before the 19th century. Because of this a lot of family culture comes from the antebellum American roots. This includes food, the pioneer spirit and interest in politics.

My mother’s family arrived from Sweden in the 1870’s and Ireland in the 1880’s. From the Swedes we get the powerful work ethic of working yourself to death. From the “lace curtain” Irish we get an inflated sense of propriety.

SeventhSense's avatar

A lot of the Irish and Scottish jokes are similar. They have a lot in common not the least of which has been an historical antipathy for the English. Of course everything is peachy today.:)

ubersiren's avatar

Not much in the celebratory sense, but I have a short fuse, and have a lot of drunken relatives. I’m 100% Irish.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Hmm, mostly Belgian, some French, a bit of Scot, a bit of Irish, Lakota Sioux and who knows what else. I just claim the Belgian and Scotch/Irish and Indian. The rest really doesn’t count for much.

The Belgian accounts for my taste in beer. Not sure why I like hot peppers so much, I think it is simply an acquired taste. The Scottish explains my love for bagpipe music.

SherlockPoems's avatar

Speaking as an ethnic ‘mutt’... I am aware that all people share more in common than different.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra: Yeah, no one else seems to like it…

asmonet's avatar

Bagpipes? I freaking love bagpipes.

galileogirl's avatar

My mostly Irish nephew took up Irish bagpipes when he became a fireman. How’s that for an ethnic stereotype?

KatawaGrey's avatar

Bagpipe music is freaking awesome. I must learn how to play!

VzzBzz's avatar

Our family is all the way around, mainland American for generations going back to the mid 1800’s. We are of humble mix of pioneer sheepherding people’s who contributed to the settling of the West; Irish, Basque, Spaniard, native Indian & Jewish. We are a testament to people coming together for survival and shared culture beyond language, religion or nationality. We’re proud of our diverse ethnic backgrounds for how they exist all together more than separating out specific traditions.

Trissinger's avatar

My ancestry is predominantly East Prussian, (‘German,’ as my parents would say, though it’s present day Lithuania) lived out, for me, within a central Canadian context. My ancestry has shaped much of my love for the Jewish people, since my paternal grandmother hid Jewish people during WWII while my grandfathers were fighting in the German army (though not in the SS) on the Russian front—- truly, ironies abound.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Both my mother’s parent’s came to the USA from France and Italy through Ellis Island.,They were happy to come here and the ethic thing wasn’t pushed by them.Although some on my grandmother’s side were kind of ethnocentric,but not her.She was an independent :))),I do look like her though.My dad’s parents were French and German .They too did not give a rat’s @$$ about anything like!


Being born and raised in Canada as a third generation Canadian, I’m pretty assimilated, but I’m still affected by my ethnic heritage——I listen to Asian singers (eg., the late Teresa Teng) speak a bit of Japanese and Chinese once in awhile to my parents, and own a couple of historical books about Ninjas and Samurais. That’s really about it. I am not a true “banana” (yellow on the outside, white on the inside), but then again I’m not an “egg yolk” either! Lol.

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