White Americans: Are you a "hyphenated American"

This question is for White US Citizens. Do you consider yourself to primarily be a <ethnic>-American, such as a German-American, Greek-American, Irish-American, Jewish-American, or Turkish-American, or do you consider yourself to be “American” first, and only secondarily an American with specific ethnic heritage?

For the purposes of this question, you may have multiple heritages and consider yourself to be more than one type of Hyphenated American (e.g. you can be both Italian-American and Irish-American if you have heritage from those nations). In this case, you are a hyphenated American if you consider yourself to be one or both of these above being American or White American.

Whether or not you are White and what ethnic ancestries you can claim to “be” is up to your own good faith determination.

For me, I consider myself to primarily be an American (or a White American), and the most recent immigration in my family was in the 1920’s. I have several ethnic ancestries, and “old country” cultural practices can still be found in my family with respect to one of them.

I’m a northern european mutt and my family has no ethnic traditions, foods, or cultural practices beyond the stereotypical american ones. I’m a fourth Czech and that’s the largest chunk of anything but I don’t feel any particular association with the homeland.

I don’t primarily self-identify as “white” (why the capitalization?) but simply as “American.”

Mainly because “German-Scottish-French-Sort-of-Beige-and-Pink-American” just sounds silly.

In the spirit of what the OP is driving at, I had to pick “No” I’m just a 'merkin. But as it’s been so long since my family has had anything to do with whatever European area they last came from, I like to think of myself as a native-American. But I can see whay that’s not correct either on account of I’m not of Asian ancestry.

Heh. Inigo Montoya said merkin. Heh.

I was born in the US but left here at two and grew up overseas, didn’t move (back to) America until I was 21 years old. I have to say, from my perspective, people who tell me “Oh hey me too, I’m Scottish/German/French too!” have always sounded ridiculous to me and I :rolleyes: when I hear that from anyone who has grown up in America, is an American, knows between little and nothing about whatever country their forebears came from but still claims to be whatever that nationality is. And I have to say, I get that comment a lot.

So…unless someone is absolutely steeped in their forebear’s country of origin culture and totally identifies with it despite being born/raised in the U.S. - trust me, you’re not. You’re an American.

Just because someone is Mexican-American (er, Chicano!) or Jewish-American or Filipino-American doesn’t mean they are American ‘last’. It means they have…flavor.

OH WAIT! head/smack. Those groups aren’t considered white. Italians and Welsh used to be ‘not white’ once upon a time as well. This thread baffles me. I’m not sure what your definition of ‘white’ is. I like to think of myself as a better-than-everyone-else American. Is that an option on the poll? :smiley:

I consider myself to be an American first, but being Jewish is an essential part of my identity. If someone asks me about my ethnic background, I think “Jewish” rather than “white”. OTOH, my skin color is about as white as it gets (plus freckles).

Imagine how it sounds to those of us who weren’t born in the US, and who didn’t return at 21 years of age.

“I’m Irish”.
“No you’re not. I’m Irish. You’re American.”

For a really good time, visit any of the elebenty-hundred “Scottish Highland Games” events in America. Somewhere between hysterically funny and pathetic…but mostly pathetic.


Uh, yeah.

I’m an American. I happen to be white and I happen to be of Irish/German/Cherokee/English ancestry. And probably more stuff. In the end, we’re all mutts.

I could have answered “yes” and “no.” I’m Italian-American. That is (in my experience) different from being Italian, which I’m not, and regular white American, which has a different set of cultural values and behaviors. I find that culturally, I have a lot more in common with Latinos than WASP-y types, and the things that distinguish my family from other white families can all be traced to Italy.

On the other hand, I’m only ¼ Italian-American. The other ¾ include family I barely saw and so I didn’t get much reinforcement for their ethnic identities, which have another six or seven potential hyphens. The ¼ Ohioan side is pretty much American-American, with 400 years of almost unbroken American-ness and no particular interest in claiming otherwise. The Canadians, of course, are their own problem. If I had been raised around a different set of relatives, I’d have the same historical / genetic mix but a different culture and so a different answer.

ETA: I was raised to believe that I was Irish (not Irish-American) by my mother, who identified strongly with the Irish side of her family. When I grew up and met Irish people, I realized that while she is justified in identifying as Irish-Canadian, none of the things that make her family Irish made it into my own cultural heritage. So I claim a different ethnicity from my mother.

I do not consider myself hyphenated and am quite mixed on my mother’s side.

However my paternal grandparents who were born in this country to immigrant parents certainly did consider themselves hyphenated Americans. And far as I can tell it was quite common at least in the generation previous to mine in western Pennsylvania where they lived, particularly among the various Eastern European groupings.

In my generation I’ve known at least a couple of “Sunset Irish” in San Francisco that still proudly thought of themselves as Irish-American.

I don’t claim any particular hyphenage. I’m just American.

My mom’s side of the family was supposedly among early American settlers in the 1700s. I believe they came from France and co-mingled with Native Americans on occasion (like my great great grandmother), but I wouldn’t bet money on that. And I believe 50+% of my dad’s heritage is German, but we never did anything with it. Except my mom would make sauerkraut and polish sausage sometimes for dinner, which I hated with every fiber of my tongue.

Just a good old-fashioned European mutt.

A lot of this resonates with me. I’m Italian-American as well. All of my great-grandparents were born in Italy, as was my maternal grandfather. I grew up in RI, which has a large Italian-American community. While I don’t consciously define myself by my ethnicity on a daily basis, it’s a large part of who I am.

I am a Canadian-American.

No hyphen American.

Fathers side is White Anglo Saxon Protestant, has been here since the early 1600s, salted in with some Dutch that got here when it was still New Amsterdam. Mom’s side is originally from Altenkirchen, and got here at the crack of the 1700s and ended up moving out to south central Iowa for the land. I am so caucasion I practically glow in the dark. I do know I have Scots, Welsh, Manx, English, Dutch and German. If pushed I will say American with British Isles and German heritage. mrAru shares much of the same influence with the addition of Irish, and Alsatian instead of the Dutch.

the question is gaining releance now that much of the US and europe is starting to look like an afro-asian slum.


If someone asks my nationality, I always say German-Latvian because I consider American to be understood. When I visited Germany for a month in my twenties, I always identified myself as American, without saying German-Latvian. Make of that what you will.

American. Born here, raised here, still living here by choice.

What my great-grands all travelled here for was…to be American.

Besides, I speak only english. I couldn’t survive anywhere else. :stuck_out_tongue: Hell, I barely survive here, which is technically America but might as well be North Mexico.