I am American. White bread and white-bred. My parents are from America, and so were their parents, and my lineage can be traced back to the American revolution. I have a white name and come from an average, white, family.
In the last two weeks, in to of my classes discussed parental heritage and its effect on our culture. In my Design for Change class, a group of students presented their cultural heritage through food and talked about the blended nature of the culture. The students in Design for Change presenting the cultural heritage I didn't disagree with (as there was no conclusion or thesis of their ideas), but they talked about the cultural duality. This is a concept I hadn't realized I didn't relate to! I had assumed most English speaking, accent-free Caucasian-ish (on the tan scale), wouldn't share a more similar background. Their pride in their cultures, made me think about my cultural heritage, how I define it, and what cultural heritage I belong to.
In my hip hop class, the instructor talked about how no one is American; everyone is something American. Then saying that the only Native Americans can call themselves American (although would they? Their tribes are as diverse as European countries we distinguish between). So is there anyone that is American American? Because I feel like I am. Or more, I am not enough of one thing to call myself something other than American without being wrong. For example, I am a mix of German, English, one of the Nordic countries, and maybe Frace (based on what my mom has told me, and my features and stature). But I don't know of anyone in my family that is FROM any of those countries. I am not from anywhere more than I am from America.
Being from somewhere to me would mean that that is where your most geriatric individual in your direct line (probably a grandparent, maybe a great-grandparent), was born in the same country you were. For me, this is true, but for a lot of individuals I know, it is not. Then, they are African American, Polish American, Irish American... etc. Otherwise, your cultural heritage is American and your ethnicity is different from your cultural heritage. For example, a Korean person who was born and raised in America has the race (or ethnicity) of Asian, but the cultural heritage of Korean American. The race of the person describes their appearance and physiology (there are slight differences between race based on the conditions of where they ancestors lived), where is their cultural heritage describes the kind of food they would eat, the music they listen to, how they dress and view themselves and others. But for me, my race is Caucasian, and my heritage is American. So should I be called Caucasian American? Or, because Caucasian is the dominant race in America is that a given trait, unless you specify otherwise, such as Japanese or African American? Would a white South African person call themselves African American? Why do we sometimes specify countries (French American, Argentinian American) and other times continents (Asian American, African American)?
I don't have the answers. Right now, I am responding to what I hear around me, because I don't think I agree with something that was said, and I am exploring why.