Home » diversity » The dominant American ethnic group

The dominant American ethnic group

For once, those are not my words, but a quote from a comment at the iSteve blog:

“I’ve noticed that they talk incessantly about minority cultures: their music, their food, and so forth, and how we “appropriate” it. But they act as if there’s no such thing as culture amongst white people. Unless they’re part of specific groups, like Italians or the Irish. The dominant American ethnic group in U.S. culture were and are the English. But we so take them for granted it’s as if their influence isn’t there, even though blacks, for instance, have “appropriated” more of it than we could ever hope to appropriate of theirs should we try.

A similar fate befell German culture. I guess the Irish survived because they were oppressed, or whatever. But there’s a whimsical quality to Irish-American culture, which I find artificial. Anyway, the point is that mainstream American culture is there, while people brought up in its slain yet undying influence pretend it isn’t.”

[Emphasis mine above.]

This will be cross-posted at the other blog, as it is very much the theme of that blog.

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7 thoughts on “The dominant American ethnic group

  1. Does anyone actually agree on what constitutes an ethnic group? If you look at Europe you have lots of distinct cultural groups but really only a handful of ethnic groups.

    The tragedy is that if present trends continue none of these cultural groups will survive.

    I find it strange that very few people seem to care about the disappearance of so many distinctive cultures. When everyone on the planet watches Hollywood movies, listens to hip-hop, watches American TV and slavishly copies celebrity behaviour we will have a single monoculture. That’s a loss of actual diversity – diversity in the genuine sense of the word.

    I read a science fiction book not long ago about a future in which virtually instantaneous travel was possible to any place in the world. But nobody ever made use of it because there was no point. Why bother going to Rome when it was identical to Chicago? Why travel from Tokyo to New York if you couldn’t tell the difference between the two cities? It seems like that future is getting closer.

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  2. I agree – the whole allure of travel (at least for me) was that one could go to faraway places, see people who were unlike what we are accustomed to, and experience or observe different ways of living, different customs and traditions.
    It used to be that even in different airports, you got a feel of being in a certain definite place. Texas airports had people who looked like Texans, for example. Some years ago I noticed that every airport seemed the same, with the same multicultural cast of characters. Now the same kind of dreary ‘diversity’ is everywhere, it seems, even in places where we’d least expect it.
    And as you say the diversity is anything but diverse anymore.
    The depressing trash ‘pop culture’ seems to be a planet-wide presence. We Americans are blamed for that though it’s something that is a creation of the media, and the young are brainwashed into accepting it, as are even the middle-aged people who should have better sense and better taste.
    Yes, all our cultures are being destroyed in the name of ‘diversity.’ And it’s a crime.

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  3. I’m curious as to how we defend the thesis here regarding the theme of American identity. I can’t deny that there is something attractive about it, even though the more that I read you the less that I feel like I’m actually an American given that I am multi-ethnic. My mom’s side of the family is in fact English while my dad’s is Sicilian. I don’t know if that disqualifies me as being an American, but that doesn’t deter me from defending the truth and standing up for what my mom’s side of the family is and what this nation may in fact be.

    But today I took to the internet and was discussing the same thing and was taken to the ringer buy an intelligent friend of mine who in no uncertain terms told me I wasn’t issuing any concise point about these things and that’s why so many people gave me flak.

    Here’s what he said:

    “It’s not that I might disagree with you. It is that you struggle to make a concise and articulate point. You also aren’t using reasonable facts.

    For example, the colonies did not profess the same religion. By and large they were Christian, but Catholics and Protestants at that time rarely got along. After all, many of the people who left England did so to seek out religious freedom and they were leaving a Christian nation to join another.

    It’s also tough to say that they were all the same heritage. While a majority were British during the times of the revolution, there was a sizable Irish, German, Italian, and Spanish population. The populations grew in the early 1800’s as well. That doesn’t even begin to account for the Swedes and Norwegians who flooded the midwest when the logging industry exploded. Germany was nearly the most spoke language in the US at a time. Chinese and Japanese immigrants largely flooded the west and are still have large populations. There are currently more people of Irish decent in the US than the population of Ireland.

    The idea that you have that the US is a nation formed from the British empire is only partially true. Hell, even the British army during the revolution was largely foreign. For example, the famous crossing of the Delaware was to capture Hessians, German mercenaries hired by the British.

    Either way, I struggle to find why you have a “we are American and you are not” attitude. What is more American than standing on your business’s roof during a riot and protecting it with assault rifles (koreans)? What’s more American than working hard and building the longest railroad in the world faster than anyone ever had or has built since (Irish and Chinese)? What’s more American than leaving an oppressive country in search of freedom? Or in search of better pay?

    It’s tough to pin down what principles and heritages you are holding on to and I think that is why you get so much flak. You can’t just pin the early heritage of British colonies and say that is the one you want. Even then, you would have to pin down on specific heritages. Are you puritan, Quaker, Catholic, or protestant? By 1840 are you French Luisianan, Spanish in Florida or Texas, Northern nations (Norway, sweden, finland, etc.) up in Minnesota and Montana? There just isn’t a rich American heritage that is unique. It is largely influenced by many nations and always has been.”

    I’m usually pretty good about immigration themes but when it comes to the theme of The Proposition Nation I find myself getting beat up intellectually because I find it very hard to defend when people issue these kind of responses.

    Would anyone be interested in educating me, please?

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  4. I think this is also why Pan-Europeanism is more popular amongst immigration patriots, because they can use “European” as an umbrella term to capture a more meaningful definition. Whereas defending American identity as something specific is harder to define in a satisfying way.

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  5. Nick, I started an extensive reply to your post and it got lost immediately after several paragraphs. Your comments need a whole blog post at least to address.
    Your ‘friend’ is a full-blown proposition nationalist. I’ve heard all this before and I am not convinced.
    The two important, lasting colonies, which formed the core of the original America were Jamestown (the colonists almost exclusively English, few if any exceptions) and Massachusetts, which was in the great majority English.
    The Dutch colonists intermarried early on with English colonists, and were Anglicized pretty much. The Swedish colonies were not that significant in the larger picture.

    It seems your friend is compressing several centuries of immigration, implying that from very early on, there were lots of different European nationalities coming here in droves. This is not accurate. They came later, after the original colonial-stock English-Americans had multiplied considerably. Anglo-Americans made up a considerable percentage of the population for some time; they were not reduced to a minority rapidly until the Ellis Island era I would say. Read the congressional discussion of immigration restriction from the early 1920s.
    Your friend seems to imply that the English colonial stock was swamped and thoroughly mixed centuries ago. All I can say is consult old sources (and there are many, especially on archive.org.)
    New histories are not as trustworthy for various reasons.
    Most of today’s historians are liberal and most are avid believers in multicultural, “nation of immigrants” America.
    I’ll have to leave it at that for now.

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