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Americans that say "I'm Irish". How come? Watch

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    I would just like to open up a discussion on something I've always wanted to understand but have found difficulty in doing so.

    I've noticed a lot, from meeting American people and watching videos of American celebrities, Conan O'brian being one, that a lot of them claim "I'm Irish" or "I'm Scottish", I even saw this interview with an American guy and the interviewer asked him "what race are you?" to which he responded "oh I'm Irish". Also my Grandmother's sister who is from Rugby in England moved to America over 70 years ago with her husband who was polish and they had children who then had their own children which are my cousins. Even my cousins say they're "British", they just seem to completely ignore the fact they had a polish grandfather too. I've heard some people say that a lot of Americans want to identify with a culture older than their own and link themselves to a richer history dating further back than the post colonial American history but if that's the case then why do Australians tend not to say "I'm irish" or "I'm english", "welsh" or "scottish" so much? Australians tend to be very proud to identify with being an "aussie". Why do some Americans not want to identify with being American and instead would rather identify with being from the country one of their grandparents were from? This a topic I am extremely interested in and is by no means any kind of nasty jibe towards American people, I absolutely adore American culture and have lots of incredible American friends whom I love to bits, I would just love to hear other people's views on this topic and why they think Americans say this and if there are any Americans who would like to give me their thoughts that would be even more amazing!

    Thanks guys.
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    Obviously because "American" isn't a race nor ethnicity
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    They are not Irish I can tell you most of them they don't know anything about Irish culture, Irish history, Irish traditions. If you are born in America you are an American
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    Paragraphs.

    Also, America is a nation of immigrants so they often identify with the country their family came from even if it was years ago.


    For example, many americans would say "African-American" - have you ever heard of someone being African-English?
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    (Original post by al_94)
    They are not Irish I can tell you most of them they don't know anything about Irish culture, Irish history, Irish traditions. If you are born in America you are an American
    Exactly - modern America is more of an amalgamation of different ethnicities than even the UK. You've got people literally from all over the world moving to America at some point in the last 400 years and mingling with each other. To simply say "I'm Irish" is almost certainly not true! Not only that but I heard somewhere that there are more people in America that claim to be Irish than there can possibly be given birth rates!

    I have some Irish ancestry (probably more than most Irish-Americans) but I wouldn't go around saying I'm Irish!
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    (Original post by Supersaps)
    Paragraphs.

    Also, America is a nation of immigrants so they often identify with the country their family came from even if it was years ago.


    For example, many americans would say "African-American" - have you ever heard of someone being African-English?
    Yes.

    They just don't say it like that.
    it's called, my fellow gent, "British-Nigerian" for instance.

    And the bolded part is spot on.
    Supersaps I forgot to bold the part
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    (Original post by Supersaps)
    Paragraphs.

    Also, America is a nation of immigrants so they often identify with the country their family came from even if it was years ago.


    For example, many americans would say "African-American" - have you ever heard of someone being African-English?
    Can't say I have.
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    (Original post by al_94)
    They are not Irish I can tell you most of them they don't know anything about Irish culture, Irish history, Irish traditions. If you are born in America you are an American
    Irish is an ethnicity, which includes culture and heritage.
    Many Irish Americans are in fact Irish, culturally and genetically

    That's like saying, an African American isn't black just because they don't know what country they're from? Really?
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    (Original post by Manitude)
    Exactly - modern America is more of an amalgamation of different ethnicities than even the UK. You've got people literally from all over the world moving to America at some point in the last 400 years and mingling with each other. To simply say "I'm Irish" is almost certainly not true! Not only that but I heard somewhere that there are more people in America that claim to be Irish than there can possibly be given birth rates!

    I have some Irish ancestry (probably more than most Irish-Americans) but I wouldn't go around saying I'm Irish!
    What do you mean more than Irish Americans? Just moving to another land doesn't make you less racially what you are? What are you on about?

    Anyway American is not a race. It wouldn't make any sense to not claim your ancestor's country, since even as you say US is a mix. Well there you go?
    So if a Nigerian moves to UK and has kids, are their kids not Nigerian?
    Are you one of those people who denies your background to assimilate with mainstream white culture? :erm:
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    (Original post by somesomebody)
    Irish is an ethnicity, which includes culture and heritage.
    Many Irish Americans are in fact Irish, culturally and genetically

    That's like saying, an African American isn't black just because they don't know what country they're from? Really?
    No Black Americans I don't consider them to be African but they are Black
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    Irish is an ethnicity, for example my grandmother lives in Seychelles and was born in Tanzania. She is a naturalised Seychellois citizen now but there is no way for her to claim to be Tanzanian just because she was born there, her parents are both of Scottish origin and they lived in Tanzania and my grandmother happened to be born there. My grandmother would not be able to go back to Tanzania now and be expected to be treated like a normal citizen despite born there and living their most of her life.

    Myself for example I can claim to be British due to having a British passport and citizenship, despite not being born in Britain as British is a nationality, however I cannot claim to be English. I live in England and I am culturally very 'English' however I am clearly not ethnically English.
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    (Original post by mrordinary)
    I would just like to open up a discussion on something I've always wanted to understand but have found difficulty in doing so.

    I've noticed a lot, from meeting American people and watching videos of American celebrities, Conan O'brian being one, that a lot of them claim "I'm Irish" or "I'm Scottish", I even saw this interview with an American guy and the interviewer asked him "what race are you?" to which he responded "oh I'm Irish". Also my Grandmother's sister who is from Rugby in England moved to America over 70 years ago with her husband who was polish and they had children who then had their own children which are my cousins. Even my cousins say they're "British", they just seem to completely ignore the fact they had a polish grandfather too. I've heard some people say that a lot of Americans want to identify with a culture older than their own and link themselves to a richer history dating further back than the post colonial American history but if that's the case then why do Australians tend not to say "I'm irish" or "I'm english", "welsh" or "scottish" so much? Australians tend to be very proud to identify with being an "aussie". Why do some Americans not want to identify with being American and instead would rather identify with being from the country one of their grandparents were from? This a topic I am extremely interested in and is by no means any kind of nasty jibe towards American people, I absolutely adore American culture and have lots of incredible American friends whom I love to bits, I would just love to hear other people's views on this topic and why they think Americans say this and if there are any Americans who would like to give me their thoughts that would be even more amazing!

    Thanks guys.
    Interesting! I think your answer lies partly somewhere in the field of research into family systems. Its possible for the dominant family structure in a place to be one of a number of variants: nuclear, 'famille souche' [sorry can't think of a good translation as I read the research in French but here's the definition: "La famille souche désigne, dans l’œuvre d'Emmanuel Todd sur les systèmes familiaux, un ensemble de valeurs religieuses, politiques, économiques ou encore morales portées par une société organisée selon le modèle familial à héritier unique (transmission préciputaire).", and also communal. There are others but these are the main ones. Basically, what counts in relation to your question is the type of inheritance pattern the family system manifests. If there is one sole inheritor (as is the case with the famille souche) this physiologically promotes the conclusion that men are unequal (as the brothers are unequal). This in turn leads to a belief amongst that famille souche groupe in difference and by extension within a larger melting pot - such as a country like the US where people arrive from various nations - a tendency to place people in categories rather than see them as a national whole (as opposed France where the predominant family system is nuclear, giving rise to assimilationist policies rather than differentialist ones).This type of system often picks out an 'other' group to ostracise (in the US, black americans) so as to make it possible to assimilate the other 'different groups' without conceding on the idea of difference. As you may have guessed, Ireland and Scotland are both places whether the family souche can be found. It's fascinating to look at Ireland's immigration and citizenship policies which really display what I'm talking about: it's possible for someone with an Irish grandparent to take up Irish citizenship (in France, quite oppositely, it is being born there droit du sol// droit du sang that leads to citizenship). Owing to this, groups from famille souche contexts are slow to let go of their original identity (as difference is so important to them) and it is for this reasons that they are often less successful immigrants (by less successful we mean less likely to marry outside of their orginal group, which is sociology is the litmus test for integration into a community).

    Hope that starts to answer your questions! This is one of my research interests so I love sharing with people about it
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    (Original post by al_94)
    No Black Americans I don't consider them to be African but they are Black
    Africa is a continent that an African American has every right to claim. However "Af-Am" was created to be a politically correct way to refer to the particular black American ethnicity. It may or may not be a logical term in the end...

    Regardless, Irish is not a continent. It is a country with its own specific history and ethnic makeup.
    If someone is from somewhere, or if their parents are, or if their bloodline predominantly consists of the genes from an ethnic group in another country/continent

    that is literally what makes someone the race and ethnicity that they are...
    no matter how far detached, culturally, they are from it???
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    (Original post by somesomebody)
    What do you mean more than Irish Americans? Just moving to another land doesn't make you less racially what you are? What are you on about?

    Anyway American is not a race. It wouldn't make any sense to not claim your ancestor's country, since even as you say US is a mix. Well there you go?
    So if a Nigerian moves to UK and has kids, are their kids not Nigerian?
    Are you one of those people who denies your background to assimilate with mainstream white culture? :erm:
    Moving does not change your ethnicity - having children with someone of a different ethnicity affects your child's ethnicity, though.

    As far as I know, most Irish Americans get their "Irishness" from mass immigration in the 1840s. That's about 8 generations ago, so that's 8 generations where other ethnicities can be introduced that can reduces the Irishness. Naturally if Irish immigrants only mingled with other Irish immigrants then there is no 'dilution' (I really hate using the word dilution in this context, for the record)

    "American" is not a race, but one could argue it is an ethnicity defined by contributions from a large number of (mostly European) ethnicities.

    Am I one of those people who denies my background to assimilate with mainstream white culture? "English" ethnicity is very hard to define because we too are a mix of many European ethnicities.
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    (Original post by somesomebody)
    Africa is a continent that an African American has every right to claim. However "Af-Am" was created to be a politically correct way to refer to the particular black American ethnicity. It may or may not be a logical term in the end...

    Regardless, Irish is not a continent. It is a country with its own specific history and ethnic makeup.
    If someone is from somewhere, or if their parents are, or if their bloodline predominantly consists of the genes from an ethnic group in another country/continent

    that is literally what makes someone the race and ethnicity that they are...
    no matter how far detached, culturally, they are from it???
    Wow you said AA have a right to claim the continent of Africa. If somebody is born in Africa they cannot claim the whole continent then how can an AA. They may have Irish ancestors but their nationality is not Irish and they don't know anything about Ireland you could say an American of Irish ancestry but to call them just Irish is incorrect because they are different to an Irish person.
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    As you will see from your responses, some people are claiming that 'ethnicity' (which is an artificial concept: there's no gene for it!) is a cultural thing whilst other suggest it is genetic. There's is no way to empirically prove it either way when defining the concept of ethnicity. This why I would present the view that the meaning of ethnicity varies from place to place, with a number of factors influencing its evolving definition (the empirical evidence in this case is people's chosen definitions!). As I have suggested above, family systems are one of the most - if not the most - significant of these factors.
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    (Original post by Manitude)
    Moving does not change your ethnicity - having children with someone of a different ethnicity affects your child's ethnicity, though.
    Are we even speaking about that?
    Anyway...


    As far as I know, most Irish Americans get their "Irishness" from mass immigration in the 1840s. That's about 8 generations ago, so that's 8 generations where other ethnicities can be introduced that can reduces the Irishness.
    Read this part...
    and be honest, doesn't this sound ridiculous?

    There are people who are purely Irish! "Reduce the Irishness?"

    Let's stop speculating that people mix and let's stick to, someone is predominantly Irish as I keep stressing.

    Being in a place other than Ireland no matter for how long

    does not "reduce" anything


    "American" is not a race, but one could argue it is an ethnicity defined by contributions from a large number of (mostly European) ethnicities.
    It's NOT an ethnicity
    It's a nationality.
    It can't be an ethnicity because America is comprised of (remember as you said! "it's an amalgamation" several different ethnic groups?


    So why not claim what your blood is?


    ***edit: no idea why there's a wink there
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    As an Irish person, it's annoying as hell when someone says they're Irish American but the link is like it's their great great great granny's auntie's son's dog was from West Meath or something. Ugh.
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    (Original post by Airmed)
    As an Irish person, it's annoying as hell when someone says they're Irish American but the link is like it's their great great great granny's auntie's son's dog was from West Meath or something. Ugh.
    LOL yes, I've heard this too. I have Irish on my dad's side (his father was born in Ireland and we're Ó Maolalaidh) but I wouldn't claim to be Irish Irish just 'of Irish ancestry'. If I went to live there and chose to bring my family up there I might start thinking of myself as Irish though. Do you encounter many returning Irish people in Ireland?
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    (Original post by al_94)
    Wow you said AA have a right to claim the continent of Africa. If somebody is born in Africa they cannot claim the whole continent then how can an AA. They may have Irish ancestors but their nationality is not Irish and they don't know anything about Ireland you could say an American of Irish ancestry but to call them just Irish is incorrect because they are different to an Irish person.
    I never said claim the continent. I pointed out that Africa is a continent because you seem to not understand what "race" is.
    Race is a group of people with indigenous origins from one continent; within a race comes many ethnic groups.
    White is a European race and Irish is a nation within in Europe; Ireland has its own major native ethnic group and cultures. If someone from Ireland moves anywhere they are Irish, even if their cultural orientation isn't there, which you seriously can't say it's not. Simply eating Irish food like potatoes and gravy could be being Irish. Or the pub culture, which is huge; dialects; the dancing; the names; US also has "gypsies." US has all of that. You guys don't know anything.

    What is this culture you say they're detached from??

    And now you're changing it up last minute. Because you don't have a solid idea.
    We're not discussing nationality; we're discussing ethnicity. Obviously someone not from any country can't say that it's their nationality...??

    We're discussing bloodline and ethnicity/race and culture last time I checked lol.

    And you are what you are, no matter where you are.
    It's like saying you move out your parent's house; now you're not their kid anymore????
 
 
 
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