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Not as Irish as I Thought — 18 Comments

  1. I grew up being told I was Irish and Norwegian and Jewish; and found out I’m more German and English than any of those other three. I seriously distrust anything based on oral tradition, when three generations can’t even seem to remember where we actually came from.

    But the good part about embracing being American, is that you can accept and incorporate any heritage you want to. I can celebrate the Chinese New Year, and eat Americanized Chinese food. Or drink green beer on St. Patty’s Day. I’m truly a hodgepodge of cultures, so I might as well enjoy the best of all cultures.

    • I know. I don’t even know what we are anymore, lol. Next thing you know, I’ll find out I’m part Vulcan or something. 😉
      And you know, you’re right; that’s the one thing I like about being American – you can adopt what you like from each culture, the best of the best.

  2. I find these days I identify as Californian. Whenever I leave for a while I notice it more strongly, from the amount of times I say “hella,” eat Mexican food in a given day, or walk out of a grocery store spending 50 bucks for a short list of things. Or the fact that I now have to sort not only recyclables from my garbage but all compostables. I love our weird hippy mismash of things here, how this non-culture has become something.
    I used to identify as Irish too, until I found out I was only 1/8 😛

    • Being Californian certainly has its perks, I agree. First of all: best Mexican food in the country. I also like the environmental movement here (plastic bags banned in my city), and I love the “hippy mismash” too. 🙂 Gimme some more tie-dye!

  3. Hold on to the parts of your heritage that sing to you, no matter how small they are in percentages. We are all part of the human race, but by following the ethnic traditions that you most identify with, even if it is not “scientific”, you will add to the tapestry of the global experience in your own way. Thanks for linking to the Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill article, I needed that today. Have you ever seen this short film about the Irish language? It’s lovely. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JqYtG9BNhfM

    • You know, I’m only marginally French, but that part of my heritage always spoke the loudest to me, and to this day I love studying the language, literature and history. I guess you’re right – it “sang to me.” 🙂
      Isn’t that article so refreshing? To this day, it’s still one of my favorites on language and its relationship to art. I’ll watch the video you recommended over lunch today. Thank you!

  4. Aw, yeah. And everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! Scottish is pretty cool too. Just don’t eat the haggis. I grew up accustomed to being part Irish, part German. But then, I’m adopted, so who knows? Personally, I like to think I’m Jewish and that my birth father is Bob Dylan. Sometimes we do embrace our own histories in our hearts. 😉

  5. I also claim to be Irish, German, and English, but in the end, the only proof I have is last names and pale blue skin.

    But here’s the thing about identifying as American, and having it mean something more than capitalism and imperialism: we moved from the L.A. area to Auckland, New Zealand, and being away (13 months now) has really given me perspective on “American.” There actually are freedoms that we take for granted, such as naming our kids. The state has the power to *deny* a child’s name here. What? The list goes on, but that one just stood out in my head at the moment. It’s enough to make me want to wave a flag every now and again, and simply disavow the imperialist tendencies.

    Then again, identifying as Californian is probably the best bet, since California is the greatest place on Earth (state budget crisis be damned.)

    Anyway, new reader here. Great post. I’m digging your style.

    • No way! The ability to deny a name? Not even a funky name, like Spandex or something? Weirdsville. I’m sure there are probably other things I take for granted, too; the price I pay for a cynical nature. Despite the cynicism though, I still tear up at 9/11 footage and the like. Part of the American I can’t shake, I guess. 😉
      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great post. You are not alone in feeling confused about your ancestry. I just go with what I’ve been told but I doubt it’s 100% accurate. Great comments here, too!

  7. I’d really love to dig into my genealogy to get some answers. I was always told I was 50% Mexican and 50% German, but then my brother came to the realization that my paternal Grandma’s maiden name is totally English. In the end, I guess it really don’t matter, since, like you, there really aren’t any cultural traditions on the white side of my family. We’re basically just American, but I like winopants’s Californian identity. I’d rather go with that too! Apparently, my Mexican side was here in CA before it *was* CA, so I’m a Californian through and through! Yay hippies! Yay tamales! Yay perfect weather!

  8. I love it! That’s exactly it – embracing other cultural heritages is just as wonderful as embracing your own. Appreciating other cultures for what they are and what they offer to the world is so important, and too often we are so caught up in our lives that we don’t see that.

    As for America, I really identify with the original America – a melting pot of people who wanted freedom. Now we’ve lost the ideals of freedom for television shows and a competition to see who can garner the most wealth. Regardless, every culture has something that can be celebrated. Great post!
    Courtney recently posted…heritageMy Profile

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