My initial thoughts on this question focused on European Americans. I am vaguely aware of my Irish-German heritage. But I am pretty much a generic white guy who is American. Other than my mom baking Irish soda bread at Thanksgiving, and knowing the difference between Shanty Irish and Lace Curtain Irish from my grandmother I don’t really feel any connection to Ireland, the Irish, or Irish culture.
In my youth (1970s), I did live in a predominantly Irish-American neighborhood. Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles, Jews, Afican-Americans, Haitians, Jamaicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans all had there own neighborhoods. And I vaguely recall the IRA not being viewed especially as terrorist organization. Though I wouldn’t say there was active support. I don’t recall any racial discord at least in my school friends of the various groups, although I’m sure it existed city wide. Other than vague knowledge I was “Irish”. there were no Irish Cultural events, learning Gaelic, or Irish food (not even sure what Irish Cuisine entails)
We moved to LA, and I was no longer, “Irish”. I was white. Spanish speakers were “Mexican”. Blacks were black.
Later in life I moved to the Minnesota, where “white” people seemed quite in tune with their Scandavian roots. even specifically Swedish, Norwegian etc. Which I found odd.
Have you retained your European ethnicity, be it Irish, Swedish, Greek, Moldovian, etc. And how so?
Expanding on my initial thought, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and other “Asian” ethnic groups are as distinct from each other as a Swedes and Greeks. But seem to get lumped into the catch-all “Asian-American”. Do you consider yourself Japanese-American or Generic Asian guy who is American? Would your mom be upset if you married a Vietnamese?
With African-Americans involuntarily stolen from Africa and sold into slavery, their initial ethnic group has been lost to time. But do black Haitians or black Brazilians or more recent African immigrants (or their descendants) identify as “African-Americans”
Same goes for Latino-Americans. Are you a generic Latino guy who is American or a Honduran-American, El Salvordean-American, Mexican- American?
And for all, what keeps you ethnic rather than generic racial category.