White Americans: Are you a "hyphenated American"

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.

I’m a white US citizen, and if I was feeling cheeky I suppose I would say I’m African-American :slight_smile:

More seriously, I suppose I’d have to identify as a hyphenated South-African-American, as unwieldy as that is. I feel pretty assimilated into American culture and have lived here 7 years, but I’ve always been surrounded by a fairly international crowd and have only been an American for 6 months: I think I’ll retain quite a bit of my original culture. If I was born here to a South African parent I probably would almost 100% consider myself American.

I have opened a pit thread in your honour.

Altho I am almost purebred Irish, I was born here as were my parents so no hyphen here. Never really seen any positive reason to do it anyway and I really don’t like it when others do it, particularly if they were born here.

What the heck is a White American? A WASP?

I’m of Scots-Irish decent, but that culture plays absolutely no role in my life. It was just an interesting tidbit I happened to learn. Far more interesting was how my last name changed over the centuries, having dropped the O’ and gained a new syllable. And how we must have split off before another letter was dropped.

No WASP means White Anglo-Saxon Person, i.e. English-American. The best you’d get for white would be European-American. Generally it wouldn’t be used because they consider white the default and thus no special term is needed.

i think it’s white anglo-saxon protestant.

I think I’ve heard both, but now that you mention it, I’m pretty sure you’re right. That does seem to be a better fit.

This for me. American period. Or US Citizen.
I’ll lower my likability another notch and state that if I felt the need to hyphenate, it would be because I more wanted to be a citizen of the hyphen country.

On one side, I have my grandfather immigration papers; on the other we were here almost 100 years before the revolutionary war. Without using words like Germanic (very broadly Germanic at that) I can’t describe my ethnicity usefully other than American.

It says more about who I am, and what my family’s like to say that I grew up in the northern midwest than hyphenation is capable of.

None of the above. By most standards I’m white, but my ancestry really spans about half the globe. So there aren’t really any hyphenated names that apply. However that doesn’t mean I think of myself as white or American. I am an American citizen by birth and my skin tone as well as my upbringing are pretty white. None of that really matters to me though. I think of myself as me not as a member of a group.

In my youth, I declared myself to be Polish-American. My paternal grandparents and maternal great-grandparents settled in the US after leaving Poland in the early 1900s. We were very much involved in the Polish-American community in Baltimore - my dad and uncle hosted a radio show, my sisters danced with a folk dance group, my mom and I sang in a community chorus, and we practiced some of the traditions at home and ate some of the traditional foods.

After I was an adult living on my own, I realized that while my family came from Poland, I’ve never been there, I don’t speak the language, and I know very little about specifically where my family came from or what they did before they emigrated. It seemed silly to attach the nationality to myself. So if anyone asks or cares, I’ll label myself as an American of Polish extraction.

It always struck me as odd that people take pride in their bloodline - as if they had anything to do with it. Maybe I’m just hung up on the word… Don’t get me wrong, I find family traditions to be interesting, especially when their roots can be traced to the “old country.” But to say I’m proud to be descended from peasants who came to this country for a better life which ultimately led to my accomplishments - I don’t know, it doesn’t compute for me.

Oh, and I don’t think about being “white” unless I have to fill out some form that requires an answer for race.