View Poll Results: Is American an Ethnicity?

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Thread: Is American an Ethnicity?

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    Is American an Ethnicity?

    Obviously American is a nationality that everyone is a part of, but is American an ethnicity?

    I had to take a poly sci class as part of the core curriculum and this was one of the debates in the class. The prof asked us what our ethnicity was. Basically I could not think of any group of people I was aligned with so I put American. For example, you could be part of a German ethnic group, but also there is simply German as in you are a citizen of the country. I thought that this could also be true of Americans, but the professor disagreed. I don't really understand why. My heritage in the US/North America goes back to 1741, they immigrated from Germany. I don't really have any other common heritage but what is in this country. I guess my family was originally part of the German heritage, but I have absolutely no idea what that would even mean or how I could possibly feel connected to that group of people. What is your opinion?

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    I don't think there is an American Ethnicity. Even if there was it would most logically have to be Native American as the American ethnicity. I don't think crossing the Atlantic or Pacific erases a family's ethnicity and changes their kids into a new ethnicity when born on US soil.
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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    I don't think there is an American Ethnicity. Even if there was it would most logically have to be Native American as the American ethnicity. I don't think crossing the Atlantic or Pacific erases a family's ethnicity and changes their kids into a new ethnicity when born on US soil.
    I would have to disagree.

    My ancestors have been in North America since well before the founding of the United States of America. If you go back far enough, all my ancestral lines go back to people who came over from Europe, mostly from England; but by now, my own heritage is so far removed from that of my European ancestors as to make anything to do with Europe entirely irrelevant to who I am.

    As far as I am concerned, I am as much a “native American” as any of those to whom this phrase is routinely applied. I am American by nationality, by birth, by heritage; and there is no other place on Earth to where I have any meaningful connection.

    I think it is more fair to describe my ethnicity as “American”, than to describe it in any other way.
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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Well no, other than the natives American of course, ethnicities are defined by a biological and geographical link, as well as language, culture, religion etc. You'd be hard pressed to decide on which of those factors makes an ethnicity in America, when it comes to music, is it Country and Western or Blues that is the ethnic music, is a black guy whose family has been in America since the 1500's not American, ethnicly speaking? Is a Catholic more or less American than a Protestant? Ethnicities depend on shared identifiers, and there's nothing that could be shared in America to define an ethnicity.
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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    Well no, other than the natives American of course, ethnicities are defined by a biological and geographical link, as well as language, culture, religion etc. You'd be hard pressed to decide on which of those factors makes an ethnicity in America, when it comes to music, is it Country and Western or Blues that is the ethnic music, is a black guy whose family has been in America since the 1500's not American, ethnicly speaking? Is a Catholic more or less American than a Protestant? Ethnicities depend on shared identifiers, and there's nothing that could be shared in America to define an ethnicity.
    Then perhaps I have no ethnicity at all.

    Surely I have more in common with someone who likes “Country and Western” music, or with someone who prefers “Blues” music, or with “a black guy whose family has been in America since the 1500's”; than I have with any European.
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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
    I would have to disagree.

    My ancestors have been in North America since well before the founding of the United States of America. If you go back far enough, all my ancestral lines go back to people who came over from Europe, mostly from England; but by now, my own heritage is so far removed from that of my European ancestors as to make anything to do with Europe entirely irrelevant to who I am.

    As far as I am concerned, I am as much a “native American” as any of those to whom this phrase is routinely applied. I am American by nationality, by birth, by heritage; and there is no other place on Earth to where I have any meaningful connection.

    I think it is more fair to describe my ethnicity as “American”, than to describe it in any other way.
    American is not an ethnicity, it's a nationality. The US is an eThnically diverse country, to have "American" as one's ethnicity would leave confusions, as "American" might easily be a Korean, Chinese, Indian, Caucasian, Afrian, Hispanic, and so on. One would be confused. If you're of German descent, then you're a German or a Caucasian, but of US nationality
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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
    Then perhaps I have no ethnicity at all.

    Surely I have more in common with someone who likes “Country and Western” music, or with someone who prefers “Blues” music, or with “a black guy whose family has been in America since the 1500's”; than I have with any European.
    Then what makes the US ethnicity?
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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
    Then perhaps I have no ethnicity at all.

    Surely I have more in common with someone who likes “Country and Western” music, or with someone who prefers “Blues” music, or with “a black guy whose family has been in America since the 1500's”; than I have with any European.
    You do have an ethnicity, you may be

    - White
    - Hispanic
    - Asian
    - Black
    - Arabic
    - Dravidian
    - Pasific
    - Or any mix of the ones above

    Take your pick!
    Last edited by Camlon; 09-25-11 at 04:57 AM.

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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Proud South Korean View Post
    American is not an ethnicity, it's a nationality. The US is an eThnically diverse country, to have "American" as one's ethnicity would leave confusions, as "American" might easily be a Korean, Chinese, Indian, Caucasian, Afrian, Hispanic, and so on. One would be confused. If you're of German descent, then you're a German or a Caucasian, but of US nationality
    I think this is part of the problem with the US today. People used to come the the US, leave their past behind, and embrace "America". There are a lot of people who, like drz-400, who have no real ethnicity, myself included. The diverse backgrounds and culture in the United States is wonderful and extremely important, but putting one's past culture over-and-above the "American" culture isn't working out well for the US. People used to immigrate here and insist that their children spoke only English. Now, people sometimes immigrate here and refuse to speak English. Where did my ancestors come from originally? - England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland - what difference does it make? I am a proud citizen of the United States of America - that should comes first to any ethnicity.
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    Re: Is American an Ethnicity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Proud South Korean View Post
    American is not an ethnicity, it's a nationality. The US is an eThnically diverse country, to have "American" as one's ethnicity would leave confusions, as "American" might easily be a Korean, Chinese, Indian, Caucasian, Afrian, Hispanic, and so on. One would be confused. If you're of German descent, then you're a German or a Caucasian, but of US nationality
    I have to wonder how much meaning there really is to the concept of “ethnicity”.

    I suppose it's obvious that there is some meaning. Stand me next to a black guy, and you can see there's a difference. I'm a Caucasian, while he's Negroid. These are two different ancestral lines, that carry different and obvious genetic traits.

    But what about President Obama? He's usually identified as “black”, but is he really? His father was a Negro, but his mother was a Caucasian. It would seem to me that this makes him as much “white” as “black”. If you bring culture and heritage into it, he's not really either. By culture and heritage, he has more in common with the average “white” American (being descended through a “white” American mother) than he has with the average “black” American (being descended through a father who was “black”, but not an American at all). But in fact, he has less in common culturally with either the average “black” American or the average “white” American than the average “black” and “white” Americans have with each other.

    Of course, here in America, it happens all the time that people of different ethnic backgrounds marry, and have children. I wonder how far away the day is that there will be so much of the population composed of so many different mixed ethnic backgrounds that it ceases to be possible to meaningfully classify most people into specific ethnic groups.

    I'm already prepared for that day. When faced with a form that asks for my race, I nearly always check the “other” box and fill in my correct race: “Human”.
    Last edited by Bob Blaylock; 09-25-11 at 05:01 AM. Reason: A man without a forklift is nothing. May the Forks be with you.
    The five great lies of the Left Wrong:
    We can be Godless and free. • “Social justice” through forced redistribution of wealth. • Silencing religious opinions counts as “diversity”. • Freedom without moral and personal responsibility. • Civilization can survive the intentional undermining of the family.

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