Friday, September 30, 2011


Identity is a topic I've been thinking on quite a bit as of late. What determines who we are, or where we belong? My mom and I share a love of genealogy and in the past few years have found alot of different ethnic groups represented in our ancestors. Recently I've been finding more on my dad's side, too. See, I have found everything but African and Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc...). Seriously, I think you could name any European group and we've found someone in the rolls- including Spanish, Italian, Scandinavian, Belgian, Russian, and Prussian (and many more). As well as Romany Gypsy and Native American (Cherokee, Blackfoot, Mashpee Wampanoag, Aquinnah Wampanoag, Narragansett). I'm an anthropologist. I delight in rich cultures and rich heritage. I've always wanted to be a part of something, have a heritage I could be proud of. And I am. I'm proud of every part of my heritage. I love being all those things. Being able to look in the mirror and see it in my face. It's good to not be just one thing. Right?
I kind of feel lost sometimes, unsure of who I am. Being American is so obscure. We are indeed a melting pot. We have a culture- McDonald's. We are a young country and don't have a full-on rich culture. Hispanics have their heritage, African Americans have their heritage, Irish Americans have their heritage, and we're all united by our common American-ness. Being such a mix I feel connected to all of the cultures of the various peoples my ancestors came from, but like I don't truly belong in any of them. The Blackfoot would call me a "wannabe", the Roma would call me an outsider, to the French I'm not truly French, I'm not just Irish, or just Welsh. I know that who I am as a person is not dependent on my genetic heritage, but is it so wrong to want to belong somewhere. I wear moccasins and celtic necklaces and eat German food and drink wine like a true French jaune fille, but does that come across in a way that I don't want it to? You say: My Culture Is Not A Trend. But can I wear feathers in my hair and Irish sweaters and "Gypsy" skirts and Nordic prints anyway? What if it's my culture too? Just because my ancestor lived a hundred years before yours, does that make them any less real? Any less Scottish? Any less Cherokee? Any less Italian or Jewish? I mean, it makes my DNA less Scottish and Cherokee and whatever, but should that mean that I have less right than you to celebrate that part of myself? I love my heritage. I just don't want to be an outcast because those who came before me decided to marry very diverse people. I just want to have a niche. Somewhere people will be like me, but different. Learn about "our people", our language, our customs. But I can't change people's minds. Not really. When you look at me, I don't really look one way, if I tell you things I am, you'll say that you can see that, but one couldn't really say otherwise. Eh, maybe I'm just whiny and confused, but I wish I could belong to something- be it a clan, a tribe, a band, a group. I just don't know people like me. Anyway.

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