View Poll Results: Ethnicity is...

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  • purely biological

    5 10.20%
  • purely social

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  • both biological and social

    40 81.63%
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Thread: Is Ethnicity a Social Construct? / Ethnicity: Biological, Social or Both?

  1. #41
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    I believe ethnicity is defined by both culture and blood. People have to share a common heritage to fulfil the basic definition of a nation, but it is the shared culture, the shared experience of history, that defines a seperate nation. Although there aren't any hard and fast rules about what is a nation and what is just a regional branch of a larger nation, it's always open to debate.

    As for Americans, i don't see how they can define themselves as a nation/ethnicity. If you were talking about the original Anglo-Americans who have lived and built America over centuries, you might have a point. But the American people as a whole - with their mix of bloodlines and history, and with a huge proportion of them being historically late immigrants to another culture - can't fulfil the definition of an ethnicity.
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  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    So your forefathers fought in the war of independence, in the civil war, or in the war against Mexico? They built the Empire State building? Explored the West?
    Or did they sit in Germany, doing German history?
    No, course they sat in Germany, doing German history. But I say "we Americans" because I consider myself an American now, not a German. Ya see, America is a nation made up of immigration. That's why I said we lack common origins, but the country we live in has a history.

    Anyway, American can be an ethnicity, language, culture, customs, blood.
    The last three are a little blurry, to me as an European at least, Negro-culture is quite dominant in the US, so is there blood, if you go back far enough and take the cultures, customs and blood from there, than America is nothing more than an English off-shot, with north-western blood mixture in it, which doesn't say much since they are mostly of the same race anyway, so the culture would be dominant, and old-American culture is Anglo-Saxon culture, and recent American culture is a mixture of Nigger-Hispanic- and Anglo-Saxon culture, the last notably perverted through the first two.

    So either I would say America is English by ethnicity, or it is a mud of at least some very unpleasant cultural mixtures and blood.
    Ever been to the US? These claims are grossly exaggerated by European folks. It's what you get in the media, sure, but it ain't all there is to America. Would be like me sayin your culture is nothing but Kebabs and Jew-worshipping. :p

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallen Angel View Post
    Would be like me sayin your culture is nothing but Kebabs and Jew-worshipping. :p
    No, it wouldn't. We have a crappy jew-nigger(imported from teh US)-kebab-(our own child)-culture here in Germany right now, but we can still remind us what it meant to be German, if you do the same with America, you end up with the English. That's whyt I was saying, America used to be English, Germany used to be German, nowadays both are crappy in regards to culture.
    The more you get back, the more it gets English, the more you stay in the presence, the more it is mostly a nigger-jew mud, and it gets worse, not better! (Same with Germany )

    Oh and yes, I have been to the US.
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  4. #44
    Senior Member Thrymheim's Avatar
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    Fallen Angel you say that you consider yourself American and that Americans share the same culture etc. If you ask me which country I'm from I say Wales but that isn't technically a country would some/most Americans identify by their state? I'm just curious because all the Americans I have met tell you their state not their country, this seems to hold especially true for the southern states, if that is so then their ethnicity must be cultural rather than blood alone.

  5. #45
    Senior Member Soten's Avatar
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    OK, so since this thread really has the question "Can American et al. be considered an ethnicity?" in mind, I think it will be best to show some posts I made a while back when I was thinking about this idea. I hope Drakkar and Bridie don't mind if I use a few of their responses.

    "Originally Posted by Soten:
    450 years! You and I both know we're related to Francis Cooke (and probably more Pilgrims) who came to the Americas in 1620. Let me get my calculator out...yeah 387 sounds about right. You must be talking about the French...or did the English have people up in Canada before 1620?

    PS. WOW! Three-hundred-and-eighty-seven years is a heck of a long time...I'd say we're Natives by now!

    Posted by Drakkar:
    We definitely are natives here, and I would say more than any other ethnicity. Well, the exception is the 'Indians', but... we Americans don't like to include them in anything, naturally.

    I think it's time that we (Anglo-Americans, Dutch, Germans; descendants of the first-wavers) started to think of this land as truly ours, instead of being so self-hating in which we assume that our history is unjust and evil. One big example is my state (commonwealth ) that is so PC the flag has Chief Massasoit in the center and the name 'Massachusetts' is Narragansett.

    Posted by Soten:
    I agree. I have been turning this one idea around in my head for a little while now. Not too long ago I read a book about the Anglo-Boer War. The first section was titled "The Birth of a People". It was amazing to see how after only 100 years or less (I think that's about right) the Boers, descendants of the Dutch colonizers, had come to see themselves as a distinct ethnicity. They believed that the land of South Africa was their homeland and they considered themselves natives. Other peoples had come into South Africa to join them, English, Irish, Scottish, Germans, and even French Huguenots, but this did not damage their sense of being a people. I think it all had to do with numbers. Non-Dutch Europeans did come in but not in any sizeable amount that could possibly fragment their people or destroy their culture (sort of like the Welsh or Scots-Irish in US history). And how could they? The pressures of the Boer culture were too strong and the other cultures were already vanishing as soon as they landed in South Africa. All of them considered themselves Boers, plain and simple.

    I think the descendants of the first Europeans to come to America (be they English, Dutch, German, Swedish, French, Welsh, Scots-Irish, what have you) are or could be in much the same situation. If not a type of situation even more conducive to this type of "birth of a people". We have been here for 387 years give or take. It didn't take the Boers that long to forge a separate people or ethnicity. The Old Americans (for lack of a better term), the ones who write "American" in on their census forms for ethnicity, have a completely separate and unique culture from other Americans (non-Europeans and even the more recent Europeans).

    I wonder if it's possible to forge an entirely separate ethnicity from these people...a Folk if you will. A nation in the true sense of the word. And it wouldn't actually be creating a "new" people. These people are already here, they just don't get recognized. Maybe it's too impossible of an idea at this point. I don't know. But I do know that sometimes I feel like I don't have a "people". I'm a lot English but I know that I am much different than the English in England. I'm also American in the sense I hold citizenship in the United States of America, but so do the blacks and puerto-ricans and every other type of people under the sun. It's like being a nationalist without a true Nation.

    I am thinking of all the possibilities. It could very well be the best way to protect our own unique heritage, especially with all of the multicultural agendas out there. We, the American people, could have our own communities to protect our culture and identify ourselves as a legitimate people.

    And it would, of course, be far different from any notion of White Nationalism. Europeans (including even the English I believe) who have only recently come to America would not be apart of this heritage and therefore not apart of our people. Or atleast not yet. With time they could, in small numbers, so long as they find that they identify with us more than anyone else in the world. There are many, many Americans throughout the USA who would probably identify with this heritage far more than with the melting pot around them. They need only to come together.

    I have also thought about the possibility of autonomy for this Nation. Not anything soon, but it's good to be prepared for such an event. With the USA's stance on the Kosovo situation it would be hard to believe that they would be so two-faced as to deny another ethnic group their right to self-rule. Of course, they would never just allow it to happen. But they would be showing themselves as blatant hypocrites.

    Originally Posted by Soten
    I wonder if it's possible to forge an entirely separate ethnicity from these people...a Folk if you will. A nation in the true sense of the word. And it wouldn't actually be creating a "new" people. These people are already here, they just don't get recognized.

    Posted by Bridie:
    Of course its possible! In fact, it probably already exists, but like you said, its just not recognised. You're a group of people whose ancestors have lived together for hundreds of years... built a country from scratch together... have laughed and cried and bled together... fought wars together... had families together... created a new and unique culture together... what else would you be but "a folk"? You (the descendants of these first Americans) have a common history and therefore an understanding of each other, a sharing of perceptions and values that outsiders (like myself) could never comprehend. Don't let the multiculturalists tell you that you're "no one", they would only do this to keep your people fragmented and weak. Their agenda is to keep Americans from opposing rampant immigration of foreigners and from opposing other ethnic groups gaining power in their country. If you feel that you're "no one" in your own country, you've got nothing to protect.

    The USA was built from the ground up by your ancestors... all of their blood, sweat and tears went into it... you should be proud of its history and its potential for the future... its yours.

    Posted by Drakkar:
    I like your way of thinking Soten. There needs to be more of a realization of older stock Americans to think of 'American' as an ethnicity. BUT, where do you draw the line, who gets included as a true American, and what do you define as American culture? We need some sort of identity, but the nation is so big and diverse there are lots of gray areas. Americ was right when he said immigration should have ended at the end of the 19th century. Big example, my very state is populated with PROUD Irish immigrants that won't give up their heritage to become truly American. Also, Italian immigrants, where to start... all in all there is just too much fractionalization because there are too many diverse nationalities. It is easier for Australians to have a sense of Volk because they are British Isles stock. American Southerners have a feeling of ethnic belonging for the same reason. That brings to mind the regions in this country. 'True' Southerners refer to themselves as Southern first, American second. That's another problem. See what I mean?

    Posted by Soten:
    Yeah, I definitely see what you mean. This has been bothering me all day. What is this unique old-stock American culture? Who gets included? When is the cut-off line (I tend to agree that those before the 1900's are definitely in this category...even more so those from before the Civil War. That was a big part of who we are.) Where are these people from? You mentioned the South. There's also the Mid-West, the far West, and Texas on a whole is pretty different, etc.

    I certainly haven't come to any conclusions. But I do think it's there and it's a possibility. There has to be more than just stating your ethnicity as American. There's already plenty of that, but there's no...unity?...I am struggling to articulate the idea properly. Maybe I am not even sure. At the very least there needs to be more of an out in the open "We are American". That is who we are and that's how we identify. And not American as in citizens, as you already know. I am inclined to think that it could exist with or without the government. Either way we are a people. It has to be more than the government and citizenship...the government changes and citizenship goes to anyone. But the Americans stay more or less the same.

    When you ask "What is American culture?", and I have been asking myself the same question all day, I am reminded of that thread not too long ago about how American culture is artificial. Many Americans on the forum were really upset. Understandably so. MTV and Hollywood and everything you can watch on TV is not the American culture I am talking about and it's not the culture that most people would deem true American culture. I think the real American culture is whatever the culture of the American ethnicity is. If only I could figure it out! I think we might be too close to it to see it. All I can think of is that there is a certain spirit about it, an American spirit.

    When you ask about the diverse nationalities I think that might be easier. Self-identification. It's what makes every ethnicity. Those PROUD Irish and Italians are plainly not Americans in the sense we are referring to. Americans are mostly some mix of British Isles and Germanic countries descent (mostly English though)...and of course there's always atleast that one French Huguenot back there. That being said, I don't think it means that people with other than North-Western European blood should be automatically disqualified. For one, many of the oldest stock have part Indian blood...not many but some. And that doesn't matter in my opinion. Second, even I am an 1/8 Lithuanian. My great-grandmother's family came to America in the early 1880's though. And the numbers of Lithuanians in the town my family was from is very, very small. So they became Americanized and my great-grandmother married into my mom's side of the family and therefore they are still American. On the flip side of this is the fact that it should remain primarily British Isles and Germanic descent. And this is for the most obvious reason. Merely because otherwise we would not still be a people. Certainly being non-European of anything but the most distant proportions would disqualify you. The American people have never identified as such. And for the same reason it could never and should never be overly non-North-West European. These things would defeat the purpose of being able to call ourselves an ethnicity."

    I would change a few things here and there but that's where I am going when I speak of an American ethnicity. So I am definitely not talking about all people who hold American citizenship nor new-comers. Although some new-comers from North-Western Europe will undoubtedly eventually merge in through marriage with older stock.

    All comments welcome. Don't kill me...

  6. #46
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    Unfortunately many people on this forum don't know what ethnicity is, and it's obvious from their profiles. Ethnicity is not a mere biological category. That's an ignorant view, commonly held among Americans and white "nationalists". Ethnicity is a social construct. Siegfried got it right. Ethnicity is a social construct which includes biology, culture, language and more. A negro is not a Swede if he lives in Sweden and speaks Swedish because he is not within the racial range that is encountered in Swedes. An American of German ancestry (not "heritage", as some ignorants here use erroneously) who speaks no German and lacks German culture is not a German because he lacks the cultural element of ethnicity.

    Anyway, I'll make it easier for those who still don't understand ethnicity. A child born North of the German-Danish border is a Dane, while a child born South of it is a German. What determines that? Genetically they are the same, in fact the German up in Schleswig-Holstein is genetically closer to Danes than to Bavarians. I'll tell you what, language and culture. Do you think if tomorrow the border shifts some kms, the people who will be affected by it will suddenly alter genetically? What makes an Englishman an Englishman and not a Dane or German? Originally, all Germanics were a single group. They divided in tribes, which eventually contributed to the forming of nation-states. Those are social organizations. So, ethnicity is a social construct.

    I won't even bother to respond to the "argumentum ad marxismum" fallacies. Truth is truth no matter who utters it or twists it and for what agendas.

  7. #47
    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    I don't think language is overly relevant- Irish, Welsh, and Scottish people are far more likely to speak English than Irish, Welsh, or Scottish. Also, most people in the western hemisphere speak English or Spanish as a 1st language, even though most are not actually English or Spanish.
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwordOfTheVistula View Post
    I don't think language is overly relevant- Irish, Welsh, and Scottish people are far more likely to speak English than Irish, Welsh, or Scottish. Also, most people in the western hemisphere speak English or Spanish as a 1st language, even though most are not actually English or Spanish.
    I'll have to disagree here. Ethnicity is not a completely stable grouping. Over the centuries, European ethnic groups have constantly blended, sprouted off and otherwise changed. Much of this is due to linguistic shifts. After all, what we now consider to be the German ethnic group was not so long ago a grouping of several disparate Germanic ethnic groups that have since begun speaking roughly the same language.
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  9. #49
    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychonaut View Post
    I'll have to disagree here. Ethnicity is not a completely stable grouping. Over the centuries, European ethnic groups have constantly blended, sprouted off and otherwise changed. Much of this is due to linguistic shifts. After all, what we now consider to be the German ethnic group was not so long ago a grouping of several disparate Germanic ethnic groups that have since begun speaking roughly the same language.
    True in that case, which is why meta-ethnic delineations are sharper than ethnic delineations.

    In the case of the Celtic countries, I don't think language does effect it, as they still are different culturally celtic even though they now almost universally speak English as a first language-this still does not make them 'English'.
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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwordOfTheVistula View Post
    True in that case, which is why meta-ethnic delineations are sharper than ethnic delineations.

    In the case of the Celtic countries, I don't think language does effect it, as they still are different culturally celtic even though they now almost universally speak English as a first language-this still does not make them 'English'.
    I can agree with that since it mirrors the situation with my own group, with many of us speaking Acadian as a second language nowadays, yet we are culturally distinct from Americans by and large.
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