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falstaff
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Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:20 pm

Why do people self identify nationality from places they never lived or in some cases never been to?

This doesn't seem to be limited to any particular race, ethnic or economic group. I hear white American say they are Italian, German, Czech, etc , but they were born in the USA as were all their relatives that they could have known. I meet people who claim the are Germans, but their family have been in the USA since before Germany was even a country. People seem to identify with countries as they appear on the map today, not from where their ancestors may have came from. I never have heard anyone say they from Prussia, Bohemia, The Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, or the Russian Empire, even though their ancestors where likely citizens of those places. The exception to that is I hear Persians say they are Persians and not Iranians. That could be because of the negative image many Americans have of Iran.

I have had students who have claimed to from various countries in the middle east, but they were born here and are Americans citizens. I have had parents say "in my country ________ behavior is very common", but that person has never lived in said country.

When I taught school in Detroit I had several black students claim they were Africans, even though their families had been in the country longer than mine.

I remember when I was in college I had some professor ask me where I was from I told her "I'm from St. Louis". She said that she wanted to know where my ancestors were from and I told her "they are from Pittsburgh". She asked what my nationality was and I said "American". She didn't like my answer.

Is this an issue in other parts of the world? or is it just an American thing?

I consider myself an American. My ethnic heritage is all over the European map. My passport says I am an citizen of the United States of America so that makes me an American. I once had a student who was a was of mixture of white, hispanic, black and Native American. He didn't identify with any of them and considered himself an "All American". I liked his attitude.

[Edited 2014-06-03 10:47:23]
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PacNWjet
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:32 pm

Quoting falstaff (Thread starter):
Is this an issue in other parts of the world? or is it just an American thing?

According to your profile you live in the Detroit area. I think if you go across the border to Canada you will find a similar phenomenon of immigrants or the descendents of immigrants who identify with their "home" country. I have heard Toronto described as the "most international city in North America" not necessarily because it is populated with expatriates from other countries but because the Canadians who live in Toronto still retain a tie to the countries of their ancestors.

I think it is in common in many countries that have histories of large-scale immigration. In Latin America, for example, it is tempting to say that most of the descendents of immigrants have ancestors from Spain and Portugal, but of course there are large portions of the population that are descended from immigrants from Africa, Germany, Italy, and Japan, among other places. My understanding is that the current citizens of many Latin American countries still celebrate their heritage in other parts of the world.

As for identifying with countries of origin as they are currently drawn on the map, I'm not sure how universal that is. I have ancestors from what is currently Poland but they spoke German when they arrived in the United States in the nineteenth century and therefore, when asked, I will say that some of my ancestors were from what was then known as Eastern Prussia. Maybe I am peculiar in that instance, but people who know something about their ancestry will tell you about the specifics of their origin if you ask them.
 
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:53 pm

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 1):
According to your profile you live in the Detroit area. I think if you go across the border to Canada you will find a similar phenomenon of immigrants or the descendents of immigrants who identify with their "home" country

That is true. I have spent a fair amount of time Montreal and the French/English thing is a big deal, regardless of the fact they are both Canadians.

I have spent time around Toronto too and know exactly what you mean about it being very international, even though many of those international people are Canadian citizens.
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Aesma
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:59 pm

I think the phenomenon you describe is mainly North American, I've not heard of people in South America calling themselves Spaniard or Portuguese.

For recent immigrants (1 to 3 generations) it's another story of course and they will have a real connection to the country. In my case my mother was born in Italy and I have plenty of family there, I go regularly so am familiar with the country and culture, but I wouldn't identify as Italian, I feel very much French. In fact my mother even renounced her Italian citizenship and her Italian first name has been adapted to a French one !

I've also got a grandmother who was born in Tunisia, she didn't want to talk about it, sometimes even denying it. I've been there but I don't feel any connection to the country, not anymore than the usual one between France and former colonies. I've got a grandfather born in Indochina and he was very sad to have lost his homeland, I'd like to visit Vietnam.
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RyanairGuru
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:01 pm

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 1):
I think it is in common in many countries that have histories of large-scale immigration

  

Ultimately this occurs wherever there are immigrant populations, but it is especially acute in countries such as USA, Canada and Australia where nobody other than the first nations are truly from that country.

To be honest it's not something I buy into. I was not born in Australia and am only Australian by naturalization. I'm Australian. Period. My partner is the same (foreign born, naturalized citizen) and if/when we have kids they will only be Australian.

[Edited 2014-06-03 11:02:32]
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falstaff
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:13 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 4):
where nobody other than the first nations are truly from that country.

I would argue that they are not from that country originally either. A. in the example of the USA, Canada, and Australia those people were there long before the country become a country. B in the case of the USA and Canada it is commonly held belief that the Native Americans came across from Asia 1000s of years ago and populated the areas that became Canada and the USA. So even those people have a heritage that comes from somewhere else, if you go back far enough.
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PhilBy
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:18 pm

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 1):
I think it is in common in many countries that have histories of large-scale immigration.

In this case large scale immigration is a bit of an understatement. After a course of invasion and ethnic cleansing I understand that only a very small percentage of US citizens are of mostly native american descent.

In my case my antecedents are English as far as the records can trace with a suspicion of some Norman influence somewhere.

While one of the few 1st world countries younger than the US, Germany has had a native population that pre-dates the official formation of the country and is still the predominant ethnic grouping.
 
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:21 pm

Quoting falstaff (Thread starter):
Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Well I consider myself a San Diegan even though I was born in Baltimore. I will note my heritage from there happily but I am very firmly now a San Diegan (I have lived here since I was for years old, and my spouse and kids are native born)!    
.
Quoting falstaff (Thread starter):
The exception to that is I hear Persians say they are Persians and not Iranians. That could be because of the negative image many Americans have of Iran.

Actually it is because they are Persian.... they may be from/have the nationality of "Iran" but that is just the current national construct occupying the Persian region. I know quite a few and while they are fine with "Iranian" they also consider themselves to be Persian and are most proud of their region and history. Their children, while native born here in the USA look Persian and celebrate their Persian heritage (not Iranian).

Quoting falstaff (Thread starter):
Is this an issue in other parts of the world? or is it just an American thing?

Honestly I don't consider it an "issue" or anything to worry much about. It is just "a thing" and an element with how people identify and see themselves in their community and the world at large.

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smittyone
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:26 pm

This reminds me of one of my favorite movie quotes (Casablanca, 1942):


Major Strasser: What is your nationality?

Rick Blaine: I'm a drunkard.



Which has become my standard answer to the question.
 
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:29 pm

Quoting smittyone (Reply 8):
Major Strasser: What is your nationality?

Rick Blaine: I'm a drunkard.



Which has become my standard answer to the question

When I travel outside of the USA I use that all the time, when people ask where I'm from.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:37 pm

Quoting falstaff (Thread starter):
The exception to that is I hear Persians say they are Persians and not Iranians.

Add Mayans to that list, and Taiwanese (though I guess Taiwan is a separate nation right now?).

To sum up my opinion: who cares? If you want to identify as German, Chinese, Persian, Iranian, Hawaiian, Antarctican, Martian, or whatever, that's really up to you.

That said, I identify as both Indian and American (Bostonian, specifically), because it's often easier. Here's a typical conversation:

Stranger: Where are you from?
Me: Boston.
Stranger: Oh, I mean, um, well, uh....
Me: My parents are from India.
Stranger: Ah! I thought so.
etc.

So basically, the answer people are looking for is most often India. So often I'll just skip right to the "my parents are from India" or just say "I'm Indian" right off the bat. Saves some confusion. Usually I can tell which answer they are looking for when they ask the question.
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:39 pm

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 1):
I think if you go across the border to Canada you will find a similar phenomenon of immigrants or the descendents of immigrants who identify with their "home" country.

I've never heard a kiwi refer to themselves as a XXXkiwi. It might be different with later generations of Asians and South Africans, but I'll probably be dead then.
 
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:51 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 10):
So basically, the answer people are looking for is most often India. So often I'll just skip right to the "my parents are from India" or just say "I'm Indian" right off the bat. Saves some confusion. Usually I can tell which answer they are looking for when they ask the question.

Your point is REALLY important to remember. There is a not so subtle racism in that question, intentional or not. Even though you may be American born and/or several generations American there is a tinge in that question that you are not quite American. See also the hateful tweets after the co-winners of the National Spelling Bee were announced last week. Both winners were of south Asian descent, but American born. But haters were wondering why real Americans did not win.


So I think in answer to the OP we (Americans) have a peculiar obsession with race/ethnicity. On the one hand there is pride in one's heritage, but on the other there are those that question whether or not you are American by asking where you are from.


As for myself I don't self-identify like that. My great grandparents emigrated from Czarist-Russia around the turn of the 20th century because things weren't so great for Jews then. I was born in Chicago, but my family moved away when I was then to Arizona. I guess I could say I grew up in Arizona, but haven't lived there since I graduated college 12 years ago. For now I say I am from New Mexico/Albuquerque because that is where I live.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:42 pm

Quoting desertjets (Reply 12):
Your point is REALLY important to remember. There is a not so subtle racism in that question, intentional or not. Even though you may be American born and/or several generations American there is a tinge in that question that you are not quite American.

Well, that wasn't my point. I don't take it as racist at all. That would be the PC route to me - don't ask about that dark guy's background, he might think you're being racist!

Some people (in my experience, mostly people who were not born in the US) just don't ask that question the same way, with the same intent, as a lot of born-and-bred Americans. I don't take offense to it.

Sometimes I will just say "Boston", and confuse them, just to make the point that I was born in and grew up in the US. But again, I understand the intent of the question, and it's not generally offensive.
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:14 pm

Quoting falstaff (Thread starter):
I consider myself an American. My ethnic heritage is all over the European map. My passport says I am an citizen of the United States of America so that makes me an American. .

I agree with you, I have relatives all over the European map, and as I have found out, I have had relatives in the USA since 1660. I have visited Europe, but I am definitely not considered a resident there now.


I think in the next generation the concept will change more and more about being an American.
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:26 am

I think this boils down to difference between ethnicity and nationality. Some modern countries (i.e. Japan) overlay neatly as an ethnic group and a nationality. For the USA this is not true...American is a nationality and not an ethnicity.

The "creation myth" of the "American Nation" celebrates the idea of people from a variety of ethnicities and nationalities all coming together in one nation. The American nationality is based on an idea, not an ethnicity. As a result many (if not most) Americans are proud of the ethnic background and celebrate ethnic holidays and traditions (i.e. St Patrick's Day for the Irish, etc), in addition to American National holidays and traditions (i.e. 4th of July).

In Hawaii we celebrate Chinese New Year, Japanese Boys & Girls Days, Hawaiian Lei Day & Kamehameha Day, Portuguese Malasada Day (Shrove Tuesday aka Mardi Gras), etc. Hawaii is probably the most diverse state in the USA with a majority of people claiming mixed ethnic backgrounds. Pretty much everyone in Hawaii can list their ethnic background for you without too much effort. I am 1/2 Portuguese, 3/8 Italian and 1/8 German.

I remember in elementary school pretty much every year we would all stand up and list our ethnic backgrounds. I had a friend in elementary school who it seemed was 1/16th of 16 different ethnicities and she knew them all...Hawaiian-Chinese-Spanish-Portuguese-Hawaiian-Japanese-Filipino-Scottish Tahitian-French-Puerto Rican-German-English....

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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:29 am

On a similar topic when people on the mainland hear I'm from Hawaii they often say, "oh...you're Hawaiian."

To which I always reply, "I'm from Hawaii, but I am not Hawaiian. Hawaiian is an ethnicity. I am Portuguese, Italian & German."

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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:33 am

Quoting aloha73g (Reply 15):
The "creation myth" of the "American Nation" celebrates the idea of people from a variety of ethnicities and nationalities all coming together in one nation. The American nationality is based on an idea, not an ethnicity. As a result many (if not most) Americans are proud of the ethnic background and celebrate ethnic holidays and traditions (i.e. St Patrick's Day for the Irish, etc), in addition to American National holidays and traditions (i.e. 4th of July).

  

The United States is possibly the worlds clearest example of 'Civic Nationalism', which is nationalism (the sense of belonging to the nation) on the basis of shared values (liberty, freedom, equality, respect for the rule of law etc), as opposed to 'Ethno-Nationalism' which is based on shared ethnicity. This means that people are able to belong to the American 'nation' through their values and beliefs, and also feel a sense of belonging to their ethnic identity, as the US conception of nationalism makes the two not mutually exclusive.
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Ken777
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:28 am

I'm an American whose ancestors immigrated from Ireland. That probably explains my red hair. My wife was born in Scotland to a family with long roots in the country, but moved to Australia with her family when she was 10. That generates an identity crisis when people ask her where she's from because she would answer both, even thou she has lived here more than anywhere else.

Having been born in Corpus Christi I guess I could consider myself a Texan, but I only worry about that for the Texas-Oklahoma annual football game. I can relate to whoever wins. (That is actually the only time I consider states important.)
 
AyostoLeon
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:54 am

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 17):

Certainly there is an effort to instil the same identification as Australian in Australia by emphasising values. It is the case that some people still refer to the country from which they come as "my country". For first generation migrants that is understandable, they will make comparisons, particularly those who migrated as children and who may have not been accepted as being just another human being at a time before ideas of multiculturalism. The most extreme expression of identifying with another country, or even an idea, is when people who were born here go off to other countries to fight in some cause or the other. So we see some young Muslims going off to Syria while some young Jews go off to join the IDF.

Sometimes the stress on values and cultural heritage as a unifying force can be counter-productive. One can see that happen when people proclaim our "British" (particularly in debates on the flag or becoming a republic) or "Christian" heritage, as if that heritage was of greater value than others. Some of the values that are projected are often linked with particular events, for example Anzac Day, where the ideas of sacrifice, courage and mateship are stressed, as if they are somehow uniquely Australian.

Others have tried to be more inclusive, recognising that migration long ago ceased being European, let alone British. And it isn't just the attitude to migrants that has changed. It is only in the last few of decades that any attention outside of academia has been given to the Aboriginal population and their cultural history. This is displayed through changes in the education curriculum that have encompassed the experience of a wider selection of the population. The unifying ideas get regular play at various sporting events, advertising campaigns and Australia Day:

"We are one, but we are many, and from all the lands on Earth we come, we share a dream and sing with one voice – I am, you are, we are Australian."
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:29 am

Quoting AyostoLeon (Reply 19):
Certainly there is an effort to instil the same identification as Australian in Australia by emphasising values

Absolutely, Australian nationalism is also largely based on Civic Nationalism. It isn't quite so clear cut given that, unlike the USA, our history isn't revolutionary, and there no better way to create a new concept of 'nation' that to have a revolution.

Instead, the development of Australia's nationalism has been a gradual process. It has been a process fundamentally informed by the events of December 7, 1941, and the first waves of non-British/Irish migration after 1945. Australia went to war in September 1939 on behalf of a colonial power to defend the motherland, a place that most Australians had never been but felt a strong bond to. At the time the word "Australian" didn't really exist as a demonym, as people considered themselves to be "British". Two years later Australia's world view was shattered for ever with the War in the Pacific, which included direct bombing of Darwin. Overnight, Australia went from fighting to defend the motherland to fighting to defend the homeland, and in the blink of an eye the people of Australia went from being British to Australian. Maybe Pearl Harbor was our "revolution". After the war the first waves of Italian, Greek, Lebanese, and Vietnamese migrants fundamentally changed the ethnic make-up of Australia for ever. We were no longer a "White European" outpost, but rather a dynamic, multi-cultural nation. This is reflected in contemporary constructions of Australian nationalism that always list "multiculturalism" as a defining characteristic of Australian culture. Whether that is true or not is a debate for another thread, but the point is that Australian nationalism has largely coalesced around a conception of "Civic Nationalism". We are a multi-cultural nation, brought together by shared values would be a standard line. British history does still play a greater role in our national identity than the USA, but it has been marginalised over the past 60 years.

Quoting AyostoLeon (Reply 19):
Sometimes the stress on values and cultural heritage as a unifying force can be counter-productive. One can see that happen when people proclaim our "British" (particularly in debates on the flag or becoming a republic) or "Christian" heritage, as if that heritage was of greater value than others

That is almost verging on Ethno-Nationalism, in that it is constructing the Australian 'nation' around our dominant ethno-cultural heritage. Civic Nationalism is basically born out of the French and American Revolutions, and is best reflected in the writings of John Stuart Mills. Stated even more simply, it is nationalism based around loyalty to the state as a constructed polity as opposed to nationalism based on a shared history and ethnicity.

Quoting AyostoLeon (Reply 19):
"We are one, but we are many, and from all the lands on Earth we come, we share a dream and sing with one voice – I am, you are, we are Australian."

 
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seb146
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:05 am

Quoting falstaff (Thread starter):
Why do people self identify nationality from places they never lived or in some cases never been to?

I have been to YVR numerous times. I love Vancouver! It is a beautiful city. Yes, I have seen junkies shooting up in doorways in Chinatown and know of the "bad" weather there. Yet, I still think it is the greatest city!!

Tallinn, Estonia? I can't answer that.

I have this fascination with going to places no one else goes to. Who thinks of Tallinn to vacation? Who *WANTS* to go to Baku? Who *TRIES* to learn Mongolian in hopes of visiting Ulaanbaatar? I know bad stuff happens. I still want to see the world!
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KaiGywer
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:30 am

I get this question a lot since I still have a Norwegian accent after 12 years here. Sometimes when people ask where I'm from I say Minnesota and they get a confused look on their face  
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 13):
Sometimes I will just say "Boston", and confuse them, just to make the point that I was born in and grew up in the US. But again, I understand the intent of the question, and it's not generally offensive.

So the question is. Boston accent or Indian accent?   
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Kiwirob
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:44 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 21):
Who thinks of Tallinn to vacation?

I've been there twice, it's a nice city. Well worth a city break.

Quoting seb146 (Reply 21):
Who *WANTS* to go to Baku?

I've never wanted to go to Baku, but I've been there 5 times, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, especially members of this board who don't like the ladies.
 
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seb146
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:03 am

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 23):
I've never wanted to go to Baku, but I've been there 5 times, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, especially members of this board who don't like the ladies.

I am one of those people who says "Oh, that is lovely! What is down here?"

I am sure the "tourist" areas of Baku are great but I want to see the rest of it! And Yerevan. And Pyongyang. And Havana. And.... You get the point...
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baguy
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:32 am

Quoting AyostoLeon (Reply 19):
Some of the values that are projected are often linked with particular events, for example Anzac Day, where the ideas of sacrifice, courage and mateship are stressed, as if they are somehow uniquely Australian.

This is interesting isn't it - I have thought the same thing. Particularly the word 'mateship' which is horrible anyway.... I think perhaps the usage of such ridiculous a word is, in fact, uniquely Australian, but not the sentiment!
 
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mad99
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:42 am

I think its an American 'thing'.

I can understand that people want to know where the surname comes from (if its not sitting bull) but when someone says, "i'm 1/2 German, 1/4 French and 1/4 Dutch" its not usually the case. That would imply that your father was born in to two Germans and your mother was born to one French and one Dutch national, for example.

I never hear this form Australians
 
dc9northwest
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:16 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 21):
Who thinks of Tallinn to vacation?

Me  
Quoting seb146 (Reply 21):
Who *WANTS* to go to Baku?

Baku isn't a great example, but yes, if it weren't for the visa issue, I'd go to Baku if I had the time.
 
imray
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:09 am

it is interesting to note!

I was born in Sri Lanka, lived in Japan for most of my childhood but been in Australia for over 15 years now. I call my self Australian...

Its funny when people ask me "where I am from" and I answer Australia, seem to confuse them  
 
CXB77L
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:55 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 4):
I was not born in Australia and am only Australian by naturalization. I'm Australian.

Likewise.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 10):
Stranger: Where are you from?
Me: Boston.
Stranger: Oh, I mean, um, well, uh....
Me: My parents are from India.
Stranger: Ah! I thought so.
etc.

That's something I've experienced myself as well. I'm an ex-pat Hong Konger (and yes, I would identify my former nationalty as 'Hong Konger' rather than Chinese as I feel absolutely no connection with mainland China, and strongly disapprove of communism, but that's another story), I do sometimes get asked where I'm from, and a puzzled look when I say I'm from Perth. I wasn't born here, but I moved here when I was 9 years old. I'm now a month away from turning 33.

Quoting seb146 (Reply 21):
I have been to YVR numerous times. I love Vancouver! It is a beautiful city. Yes, I have seen junkies shooting up in doorways in Chinatown and know of the "bad" weather there. Yet, I still think it is the greatest city!!

You're not the only one. Vancouver is my favourite city in the world.

Having grown up in Hong Kong while it was still under British rule, I've become a bit of an Anglophile and a staunch monarchist. I've also been to Canada three times and absolutely loved it each time. So to a certain extent, I also identify with these countries and sometimes cheer for their national sporting teams. I wouldn't mind taking an extended visit there.
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:58 pm

Quoting mad99 (Reply 26):

I can understand that people want to know where the surname comes from (if its not sitting bull) but when someone says, "i'm 1/2 German, 1/4 French and 1/4 Dutch" its not usually the case. That would imply that your father was born in to two Germans and your mother was born to one French and one Dutch national, for example.

Yeah, I'd agree with that. I think when someone has to throw in 8ths & 16ths, they're really not that anymore and should just go with nationality. Otherwise it really just devolves into a pretentious "aren't I special?" kind of statement...
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sccutler
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:46 pm

Interesting topic-thanks for starting it!

I was born and raised in Texas (with a brief stint in Oklahoma as a toddler), and although my father is from New York City and my mother, rural Ohio, I've always considered myself a Texan. Tracing my lineage back, we find a pretty good chunk of English, Scottish, and some German to boot. Of that heritage, only the Scottish part was at all emphasized in our family, and I suspect this was more because it was the only part of our family's lineage that we had meaningful documentation to support. A distant ancestor came to Massachusetts under a lifetime contract, as a master dyer (I still have the contract by which he bound himself and his talents for the balance of his natural life, and his employer soundly committed to him - two pages, hand-drawn, with one strikeout. It is a work of art.).

Having spent a great deal of time in and around New York and New England, I have certainly observed a much greater identity of various communities back east with their ancestral homelands (Italy, Portugal, etc.) than one ever found in Texas, and I admit to sometimes being envious of people who had this added, rich, cultural aspect to their lives. The closest I ever found to that growing up in Dallas was in the city's large and thriving Jewish community.

As a further aside, my father occasionally lamented that he wished that he had followed through on his plan, shortly after world war two, two relocate to Australia; for most of World War II, he was attached to a U.S. Navy vessel which touched, when it touched at all, at Australian ports, and he came to love the Australian people very much. The vicissitudes of life (and the failure to achieve acceptable contract terms with the Nielsen Company) dictated a different course, and I can scarcely complain; had he done that, he would never have met my mother, and where would that leave me? Ultimately, my oldest sister married an Australian and emigrated there, and has long since become a naturalized Australian citizen, residing in Adelaide, a place I could certainly see myself living with great enjoyment.

I'd still be a Texan, though!
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vikkyvik
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:10 pm

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 22):
So the question is. Boston accent or Indian accent?

Neither.

No one in SoCal (where I've lived for 14 years, on and off, but will never identify myself as being from) can tell where I'm from.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
AR385
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:23 pm

In Mexico things work the other way around. It has eased up a little bit now, I guess, specially since the end of the One Party State, but for decades it was not encouraged, and it was frowned upon for people who were born here and lived here to say they were something other than "Mexican". They would be considered too fancy for themselves (I can´t find the exact word)

On the one hand, I guess that promotes homogeneity in a country, but on the other hand it makes it loose the richness of diversity. And we have many immigrant communities: Spanish, French, Arab (mostly Christian), German, Italian, Jewish, Chilean, Argentine, Brazilian and some more.

In my case, I´m a mutt. I was born here but mom is from Argentina, dad, from Texas, grandmother from Austria and Italy, grandfather from Ireland, another from Spain.

However I´ve never considered saying anything other than "Mexican" whenever I get asked "where I´m from." It´s just too ingrained, but then again nobody here will ask you that question. It´s mostly when I visit other countries. In the US it is amazing how when I respond "Mexican" many people get confused. I just get amused.Then again, within Mexico´s tourist areas most of the time I get addressed in English.

In Argentina, it´s not uncommon to hear people do as the OP mentions. Heard it many times. Then again mass migration movements there are pretty recent.
 
Acheron
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:42 pm

Some people do it because they were raised with strong ties and apreciation for their roots by their parents/grandparents.

But most people do it to appear more interesting than they actually are...
 
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Kiwirob
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:53 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 24):
I am sure the "tourist" areas of Baku are great but I want to see the rest of it!

There isn't anywhere decent for a tourist to visit.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 27):

Baku isn't a great example, but yes, if it weren't for the visa issue, I'd go to Baku if I had the time.

It used to be easy, up until 2012 you could buy a visa on arrival.

Quoting Acheron (Reply 34):

But most people do it to appear more interesting than they actually are...

I think a lot of Americans do it because they are still uncertain of their place in the world, I don't see anything wrong with just saying I'm an American.

I like what the govt did in NZ a while ago, in the past people were asked what ethnicity they were, NZ European, maori, pacific islander.......they added a new category New Zealander, which is great.
 
bunumuring
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:28 am

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 4):
To be honest it's not something I buy into. I was not born in Australia and am only Australian by naturalization. I'm Australian. Period. My partner is the same (foreign born, naturalized citizen) and if/when we have kids they will only be Australian.

Mate, so well said!
I understand why people say things relating to ancestral roots but I wished more Australians would adopt the attitude you have.
I am impressed!
Bunumuring.
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sccutler
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:44 am

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 36):
Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 4):
To be honest it's not something I buy into. I was not born in Australia and am only Australian by naturalization. I'm Australian. Period. My partner is the same (foreign born, naturalized citizen) and if/when we have kids they will only be Australian.

Mate, so well said!
I understand why people say things relating to ancestral roots but I wished more Australians would adopt the attitude you have.
I am impressed!
Bunumuring.

My sister, born in Paris and grew up in Dallas, is long since naturalized Aussie, and she is an absolutely committed Australian.
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bunumuring
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:26 am

Quoting sccutler (Reply 37):
My sister, born in Paris and grew up in Dallas, is long since naturalized Aussie, and she is an absolutely committed Australian.

Hi mate,
That's great!
Congratulations to her!
Stories like that make me proud to be an Australian. I truly believe we are one of the most multicultural and tolerant nations, and I am well-travelled enough to be able to make that statement.
Cheers,
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
YVRLTN
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:14 am

I cant answer your question, but here in YVR anyway it really is a question what is a "Canadian" anyway. Most people only have to go back a generation or two and they are from any corner of the globe.

I find it particularly amusing every 4 years as we gear up to soccer World Cup, regular Timmy drinking, hockey loving "Canadians" suddenly turn into "Germans, "Italians" and "Portuguese" and regress back to "Canadians" once eliminated  

Personally I view myself "Canadian" as having a real love for my adopted home, but Im not a citizen, have no need / desire to be and will always say Im English or British quantified with "but I live in Canada".

Quoting seb146 (Reply 21):
I have been to YVR numerous times. I love Vancouver! It is a beautiful city. Yes, I have seen junkies shooting up in doorways in Chinatown and know of the "bad" weather there. Yet, I still think it is the greatest city!!

Hey, its summer now - and supposed to be the best summer ever. I can live with a few months of rain for our summers. And most Canadians would die for our wet winters rather than their -30 with several feet of snow winters.

Quoting seb146 (Reply 21):
Who thinks of Tallinn to vacation?

Me   All the way from YVR.
Follow me on twitter for YVR movements @vernonYVR
 
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mariner
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:08 am

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 4):
I was not born in Australia and am only Australian by naturalization. I'm Australian.

I am Australian by naturalization, but I fully identify as Australian.

But I love playing games when people ask me where I'm from. I was born in the British Mandate of Palestine.

It screwed up my passport renewal application because you can only do it on line and the computer would not accept it and blocked me from applying again.

So I made a fuss, and they actually changed the system.  
Quoting baguy (Reply 25):
Particularly the word 'mateship' which is horrible anyway.... I think perhaps the usage of such ridiculous a word is, in fact, uniquely Australian, but not the sentiment!

I'm scratching my head wondering why you have a problem with the word "mateship". I'm hoping it is only the word and not the concept.

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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:46 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 40):
I am Australian by naturalization, but I fully identify as Australian.

I thought you were one of us, not one of them!
 
AyostoLeon
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:01 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 40):
but I fully identify as Australian.

Says he, displaying a New Zealand flag.  
Quoting mariner (Reply 40):
I was born in the British Mandate of Palestine.

I wonder how many more countries are not listed, either because they no longer exist or are too new or not recognised.

My passport tells me that I was born in Tripoli, but not which one. During the events leading to the overthrow of Qaddafi this led to a couple of interesting conversations with border controls when travelling in the Middle East and Gulf.
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mariner
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:04 am

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 41):
I thought you were one of us, not one of them!

It gets confusing. Before I went to Oz I worked in NZ for seven years and so when I went there they all said "oh, he's from NZ."

Here in NZ, they think I'm a Pom.  

mariner
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seb146
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:22 am

Quoting YVRLTN (Reply 39):
Hey, its summer now - and supposed to be the best summer ever. I can live with a few months of rain for our summers. And most Canadians would die for our wet winters rather than their -30 with several feet of snow winters.

I had a similar conversation at the gym today with a guy who was complaining about PDX. People don't get it: Yes, it rains there. Not as much as one would think. It is not hot in YVR or SEA but it does not rain every day like people think!
You bet I'm pumped!!! I just had a green tea!!!
 
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mariner
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:42 am

Quoting AyostoLeon (Reply 42):
Says he, displaying a New Zealand flag.

And when I lived in the US I showed an American flag, cuz that's where I was living.  
Quoting AyostoLeon (Reply 42):
I wonder how many more countries are not listed, either because they no longer exist or are too new or not recognised.

There must be some, other than Palestine.

The Oz passport doesn't require a birth country, only a birth place, but now that you can only apply (at least for a renewal) online, they have added birth country - even though it won't appear in the passport. If you're blocked - as I was - you're screwed because a call to the consulate has only a menu, leading to recorded messages. You can't - or I couldn't - actually get to talk to a person.

So I wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs - a real letter, not email - knowing that they must reply and I got an almost immediate response. I had an email telling to call a particular person on a certain number and lo - I spoke to a real person, who over-rode the computer and fixed the problem.

About two weeks later, I had a letter from some high-uo (not Ms Bishop, of course, but signed on her behalf) telling me that I had brought to light a problem which only applied to "a very few countries," but which they had encountered "a few" times before and would now be fixed.

Whether it has been fixed or whether they were only being nice is unknown to me, but I can't think of any reason why they would want to butter me up.

mariner

[Edited 2014-06-05 00:48:32]
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Beardown91737
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:25 am

Quoting desertjets (Reply 12):
There is a not so subtle racism in that question, intentional or not. Even though you may be American born and/or several generations American there is a tinge in that question that you are not quite American.

Living in and around Chicago in the 1960s-1980s, there was always a lot of discussion of ancestry, which at the time was called "nationality". Big secret about White people is that we could tell each other apart, and at times it could result in discrimination, which was by no means racism, since it White on White. Mostly, it was just curiosity as people tried to guess "what kind of name" you had.

On the other hand, in SoCal, someone only asked me that question once, and that was at a Chicago-style pizza shop. That question never got asked here. The downside is that the all-knowing Los Angeles Times brands all whites as "Anglos", which is incorrect if you have mixed ancestry.
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:41 am

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 36):
I understand why people say things relating to ancestral roots but I wished more Australians would adopt the attitude you have.
I am impressed!

It's an interesting point that naturalised migrants are often more committed citizens of their new country than many natural born ones. Whereas a lot of people are pretty "meh" about where they are born, people who decide to adopt the citizenship of their new home generally do so because they are committed to their new country and want to celebrate their future there.

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 38):
Stories like that make me proud to be an Australian. I truly believe we are one of the most multicultural and tolerant nations

Oh I agree. The reason that I only use the title "Australian" and reject any others is because I feel so comfortable here, like I some how fit in. To be honest I'm a bit of a wanderer and, for example, want to spend more time living in the USA, but this is where I feel that I truly belong, and it is to where I will always return eventually.

Quoting mariner (Reply 45):
I had a letter from some high-uo (not Ms Bishop, of course, but signed on her behalf)

So this is a very recent change? If you don't mind me asking how did you manage previously, or was it not an issue before they migrated online?

[
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mariner
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:14 am

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 47):
So this is a very recent change? If you don't mind me asking how did you manage previously, or was it not an issue before they migrated online?

It was never an issue. All they ever wanted was place of birth - Tiberias - I don't recall ever being asked for country of birth. That country of birth - Palestine - doesn't appear on my new passport, but it was required in the online application and it frazzled the computer.

There have been problems before, as with my US Green Card, but I was with INS officers when it came up, and they suggested a solution.

mariner
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RyanairGuru
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RE: Self Identify From A Place You Are Not From?

Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:52 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 48):
I don't recall ever being asked for country of birth

That makes more sense, thanks for replying.

Quoting mariner (Reply 48):
That country of birth - Palestine - doesn't appear on my new passport, but it was required in the online application

I think asking for country of birth is a relatively recent change, but as you say they still don't print it on passports.
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