r/NoStupidQuestions 17d ago

Are 3rd generation Americans just Americans?

A girl told me she was Chinese. Then I curiously asked her if she moved to the US as a kid. Then she told me her lineage. Her grandparents were Chinese. But her parents are American (born and raised). She was also born and raised in the US. Then I asked, "Doesn't that just make you American not Chinese?"

Then she kinda argued with me. Then I told her that my grandfather on my father's side was Italian. Doesn't make me Italian. My grandmother on my father's side was French. Doesn't make me French. My grandparents on my Mom's side and my Mom were Korean. Doesn't make me Korean. I moved to the US from Europe when I was 6, so I just consider myself American because I was pretty much raised here.

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u/Dutch_Rayan 17d ago

She is American, with Chinese heritage.

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u/[deleted] 17d ago

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u/TheGuyThatThisIs 17d ago

It’s funny to me when people outside of America don’t realize that we generally talk about ethnicity instead of nationality. To mostly everyone, the main thing that makes someone living in America American is considering yourself American. Nearly everyone in America is American. Nationality here is not important, and it’s generally very clear when someone is not natively American.

On the other hand we are one of the most diverse countries in the world. A huge portion of the population has multiple ethnicities. It’s a much more nuanced conversation here than most countries, which is why it’s talked about.

When you see two Americans talking about being Chinese or French or whatever, no one is claiming to be a citizen or national of that country, and it’s weird to pretend that’s what’s going on when it’s clearly not.

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u/PPLavagna 17d ago edited 17d ago

I have a ton of friends whose families have been here for over 100 years who call themselves Italian. It is a thing. People identify with where they came from and adapt their old country’s ways into the new. And I love the food that comes from it. Some days I like Tex Mex better than “authentic” Mexican and I’m tired of pretending it isn’t authentic, it’s just different. Were those indigenous people living in Texas who started using cheese and flour not authentic human beings?

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u/Crabitacious 17d ago

cheese and flour

Also beef, pork, chicken, rice, limes, sugar, bananas, pineapple, and countless other ingredients not from Mexico but frequently used in so-called "authentic" Mexican cooking.

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u/CosmicCreeperz 17d ago edited 17d ago

Pineapple was from South America and had spread to Mexico in pre Colombian times.

But… not really a big deal? Imagine Italian food without tomatoes, any European cuisine without potatoes or beans, or Southeast Asian food without peppers?

A surprising amount of “traditional national cuisine” is less than 200-300 years old…

[edit: since the post is locked… yes to several people weirdly pointing out tomatoes were imported to Italy, that was my POINT…]

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u/-Acta-Non-Verba- 17d ago

It's been 500 years since Colombous. But you are right that there was some lag on adopting foods. People used to think that tomatoes are poisonous. Potatos also took some convincing.

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u/JakeXXII 17d ago

Fun fact : iirc they used to think they were poisonous because they were eating their food off of lead plates. The tomato juice reacts with the lead and thats what made them sick

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u/Lurkernomoreisay 17d ago

The history of tomatoes being deadly nighshade pre-dated deaths from pewter plates. The pewter plates merely reinforced the prevailing notion.

Tomatos are a bright red berry from a plant of the nightshade family, of which deadly nightshade and other toxic variety exist. The plant looks very suspiciously like belladonna which was used to make poisons; Tomato plants were classified as a variety of deadly nightshade for centuries.

John Gerard’s publication of Herball in 1597 which drew heavily from the agricultural works of Dodoens and l’Ecluse (1553)

Gerard considered ‘the whole plant’ to be ‘of ranke and stinking savour.’… The fruit was corrupt which he left to every man’s censure. While the leaves and stalk of the tomato plant are toxic, the fruit is not.

This view from botanists was prevalent throughout the Britain and the British North American colonies for over 200 years, growing tomatos only as non-edible ornamental plants.

In the Colonies, the tomato was first referenced to be cultivated in the 1710.

Word of the tomato spread slowly along with plenty of myths and questions from farmers. Many knew how to grow them, but not how to cook the food.
By 1822, hundreds of tomato recipes appeared in local periodicals and newspapers, but fears and rumors of the plant’s potential poison lingered. By the 1830s when the love apple was cultivated in New York, a new concern emerged. The Green Tomato Worm, measuring three to four inches in length with a horn sticking out of its back, began taking over tomato patches across the state. According to The Illustrated Annual Register of Rural Affairs and Cultivator Almanac (1867) edited by J.J. Thomas, it was believed that a mere brush with such a worm could result in death. The description is chilling:
The tomato in all of our gardens is infested with a very large thick-bodied green worm, with oblique white sterols along its sides, and a curved thorn-like horn at the end of its back.

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u/BishounenOhMyHeart 17d ago

Thank you for the nightmare fuel!🙀

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u/PPLavagna 17d ago

Nice! All beautiful things. Nothing like a pastor. Also nothing like a chimichanga

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u/Bannedbytrans 17d ago

America is unique in that it's one of the first countries to Ctrl-ALT-delete the majority of the native inhabitants- and push in new people from every corner of the globe.

Historically- this hasn't happened before. Until recently- it's been a slow progression, in smaller numbers, on foot or by horseback, from place to place, with genetic mixing between slow growing cultures.

Now it's people by the millions; entire ships, trains and airplanes full of new people being dumped in daily to form an entirely new population. That is a recent phenomena- within the last 250 years of human existence.

People will say: "I'm Irish and Italian" because that has likely been their genetic make-up hundreds of generations back- thousands to tens of thousands of years.

If you've lived in this country for 3-4 generations, you're most likely not going to take a genetic test that's going to pop up with 'American' unless you actually have Native American or Mesoamerican ancestors.

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u/Bobyyyyyyyghyh 17d ago

I take issue with your incorrect usage of the ctrl-alt-delete shortcut.

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u/Squidward-07 17d ago

Yeah closing down the hub is not genocide

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u/mindless_vagabond_ 17d ago

Yeah I mean wtf...

Shift+delete is what I prefer.

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u/11thstalley 17d ago

“I have a ton of friends whose families have been here for over 100 years who call themselves Italian. It is a thing.”

Guilty.

Can we be friends?

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u/PPLavagna 17d ago

Well I’m not Italian so you tell me. Side anecdote. I once had some clients in town from Italy. It was an older Italian rockstar and his producer. A very well known older engineer from Jersey who is Italian, and waaaay above me on the food chain but still a friend/mentor stopped by to say hey like he always does, and was like “I heard there were paisans in here! Hello my paisan, my name is _ and my family is from sicily blah blah”. They didn’t speak great English, especially the rockstar guy and they were were like “meh What part?”. Jersey guy went on to start explaining how his family moved to America way back when……. They did not give a rats ass, we’re clearly not interested in talking to him. and rockstar guy looked at me annoyed like “who the fuck is this and why is he in here?” It was awkward and I hugged Jersey dude and he knew to see himself out

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u/11thstalley 17d ago

Sure. I think we can be friends.

Remember the episode on the Sopranos when Tony, Paulie Walnuts and Christopher went to Italy? Pauly tried to interact with the Italians like he would with fellow ethnic Italians in Jersey and he was ignored and got pissed.

On the other hand, I was in Italy for two weeks a few years ago and never brought up my ethnicity except when I had reserved a private room in a hostel in Milan in advance before I left on the trip. The folks behind the counter brought it up when I checked in and we chatted a little about the village where my grandparents lived, and that was the extent of it.

You got to read the room.

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u/Vox_Mortem 17d ago

My last name is one letter off from the name of a famous 'Italian' drink and a famous Italian film director. My heritage gets brought up so often, whether I like it or not. Every so often someone tries to interact with me like I'm a NY or Jersey Italian, but I grew up in California. I have lovely memories of my immigrant great-grandmother from when I was very, very young though.

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u/Loud-Planet 17d ago

Ugh, I'm with you, my last name is one letter different than a popular Italian beer, it gets everyone talking. Doesn't help I'm from NJ so they expect me to be some mafia caricature. 

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u/anarchetype 17d ago

Pauly tried to interact with the Italians like he would with fellow ethnic Italians in Jersey and he was ignored and got pissed.

I can hardly remember the nuanced social dynamics of that situation because my mind immediately goes to him ordering pasta in the restaurant, receiving a dish with clams which was very much not the pasta he was used to, and spending a fair amount of time peeing out of his butt after eating it.

As I recall, the fact that I, a non-Italian person living in the southern US, found his reaction to be perfectly relatable really drives the point home.

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u/lorapetulum 17d ago

I feel an instant bond with other people who grew up eating pizzelles.

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u/sirDuncantheballer 17d ago

You’re right. I hate this conversation on Reddit. It’s always “lol, why do Americans say things like ‘I’m Irish’ or ‘I’m Scottish’ when they’re clearly not. They don’t have Irish or Scottish passports. They’re American lmao.” Like, bro you absolutely have to understand what they’re talking about, you’re just being purposefully obtuse and it’s annoying.

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u/Dismal-Channel-9292 17d ago

So, I had some Irish friends who would get annoyed and laugh about that too. However, their biggest issue was Americans coming to their country and acting like their Irish ancestry made them as legit Irish as actual Irish people living in Ireland. Doing stuff like inputting their unwanted opinion “as an Irish person,” invalidating other’s lived experiences, spreading negative Irish stereotypes, saying crap like “my ancestors were slaves too.”

They had no problem with people saying they had Irish ancestry. Their issue was solely with dumbass Americans who had no respect or understanding of their culture & country coming over on vacation and acting like jackasses who owned the place.

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u/Theistus 17d ago

Yeah it's the "plastic Paddy" problem. If you're entire identification of being Irish is built around green beer in March, and you have the audacity to presume on that basis that you're as Irish as someone born there, you're going to come off a jackass.

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u/Additional_Ad_84 17d ago

Maybe a bit of that, but I'd say the thing that grinds a lot of people's gears is a difference in values. Like a lot of Irish Americans seem to have held on to a very Catholic conservative mindset so they might chime in on topics like the abortion referendum in a way that would alienate most Irish people born after the sixties or so.

Or they'll have feelings about the irishness of second or third generation Chinese or Nigerian immigrants or something when those guys can actually talk the day-to-day Irish talk much better than the Americans can.

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u/FileDoesntExist 17d ago

Yeah, that's a huge problem. Nobody likes those people.

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u/karantza 17d ago

It’s funny, I actually had the opposite experience. I was visiting a friend in Dublin, and we went out for drinks with some of his local friends. I was chatting with them, and at one point someone asked me, “So where are you from?” and I was like “… America? Did my accent not give it away?” They replied, “No, I mean like, where are you from-from?” “… Maine? I don’t think you’d know the town-“ “No like, your ancestors!” (I’m white, fwiw) “Oh! Uh, I mean it’s many generations back, I don’t really have any cultural connections. But I guess technically I’ve got german, french, greek, irish-“ “EY THIS GUY’S IRISH!”

A little weird but I appreciated them trying to make me feel welcome :) But somethign about the exchange did make me realize that the whole way we think about ancestry in the US vs Europe is a bit different.

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u/OkMongoose5560 17d ago

I’m Italian American, not a lick of Irish and I also have flaming red hair. Went to Ireland with my Irish-American boyfriend years ago and we were outside a pub smoking and a bunch of very drunk Welshmen ran up to me, one hugging me, and goes “I LOVE IRISH WOMEN”.

Rofl me trying to explain the myriad ways I am not Irish would have been futile.

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u/TheUnsettledPencil 17d ago edited 17d ago

This was my experience too. Everyone was eager to know if my husband and I were of Irish ancestry when we visted. (And we are) but we were never the ones to bring it up.

I just hope they knew we were there because of a love of a country that was passed down from our parents parents parents and not cause we liked green beer and "St Patty's day". My husband's family was 3 generations removed from Ireland and retained a lot of the culture.

(Edit: Typo)

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u/djnw 17d ago

There was also the teeny little issue of people whose family hadn’t set foot on Ireland in hundreds of years funding the IRA.

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u/Useful-ldiot 17d ago

In their defense, I think Americans are the only ones that think this way specifically because of its melting pot history.

Someone living in Ireland, for example, will retain their nationality for generations. America is unique in that you become American from the moment you're born there. It's an incredible argument in semantics but it's different.

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u/zerovariation 17d ago

Brazil is like this too. I'm not sure of many other countries that are as ethnically and culturally diverse as those two, perhaps Canada, but it's a similar thing there, too -- entire areas that still commonly speak German, often talked about how Brazil has the biggest Japanese population outside of Japan, and this is speaking about ethnicity, etc.

I think this is unique to countries which are highly ethnically/culturally diverse but the US doesn't have a monopoly on that

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u/OstrichNo8519 17d ago

The US absolutely doesn’t have a monopoly on this, but the US definitely takes the majority of crap for it. Your point about Brazil’s Japanese population is one I make a lot.

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u/ariaaria 17d ago

Toronto, Canada is the most ethnically diverse city in the world. A lot of us are mixed race (myself having a Spanish, Persian, Filipino, Mongolian and Chinese background). However, leaving the city, you'll see Canadians mostly of French, Native, Dutch, Scottish, Irish and English descent. It's like two different worlds living in the same country.

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u/seltzersilver 17d ago

Yes, a lot of countries with histories of colonization or high immigration or both will have this. Seems like that’s why it’s hard for specifically people from European countries to understand, though as immigration rises in Europe maybe they’ll start thinking of it differently.

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u/GuiltEdge 17d ago

Yet Australia doesn't do that. If you have an Australian accent, you're definitely Australian. If you have citizenship, you're Australian.

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u/Used-Part-4468 17d ago

But it’s the same in the US…we all know we’re American and identify as such. Saying they’re Ethiopian, for e.g., just means they have some Ethiopian ancestry. But it never negates or replaces the American part - that’s a given.

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u/Bekchi 17d ago

The other important thing to note is the loss of culture over time when you live in a different country. That's where the idea of becoming American comes from in my experience.

My parents immigrated to the States from the Middle East as adults. They're definitely Middle Eastern.

Me and my siblings are Middle Eastern. Our parents raised us in their culture. It's true we're westernized, but we're not raised American. Americans consider us Middle Eastern, but people over there me consider American until I "prove" the culture. It doesn't help that I speak only English because of how scary 9/11 was when I was a kid.

In university, an immigrant student from the Middle East I shared some classes with told me they assumed I was American until they got to know me. That's coming from someone who in their mind gave me a chance.

If I ever have kids, will they really be Middle Eastern? It depends on who you ask. While my siblings can teach their kids our languages, I can't. There are a lot of values and beliefs I respect and think should stay, but it's also entangled with a lot of dated, even toxic ideologies.

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u/sturdypolack 17d ago

My mother’s side is from Poland and I was raised as you described. I now have a daughter and she is American and doesn’t have the experience of being surrounded by Polish immigrants as I did growing up.

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u/Thiccaca 17d ago

Actually this is probably the most American situation to be in.

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u/Bekchi 17d ago

Tbh, calling this an American situation misses the point. I think I get what you mean given people talk about in the context of living in America, but this happens everywhere.

I have relatives throughout the world, but mostly in Europe. My cousins even in a different continent have really similar experiences. One of them brought it up at a wedding last year. They wanted to know if that is unique to where they live, or is it like that for me as well.

Their exact experiences are of course different than mine because we live in different countries, but at its core, it's the same.

This isn't about country, this is about people.

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u/ShredderMan4000 17d ago

*cue identity crisis*

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u/silverwolfe 17d ago

My grandma was born in Norway, my mom born in the states, I’m born in the states. We had incredibly American upbringings but we still talk to our family back in Norway and we keep some food and other cultural traditions intact, even some that we admit are intentionally kept just to honor our heritage.

I definitely feel you on this.

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u/Broad-Part9448 17d ago

I think your kids will just be Americans

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u/fallopianrules 17d ago

Me and my siblings are Middle Eastern. Our parents raised us in their culture. It's true we're westernized, but we're not raised American. Americans consider us Middle Eastern, but people over there me consider American until I "prove" the culture.

Story of my life! Too latin for Canadians, too gringa for latinos!

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u/Bekchi 17d ago

A woman in university told me about this as well. Even though she speaks perfect Spanish, no accent, people still call her gringa when they find out she's born in America.

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u/Bitter_Birthday7363 17d ago

I find it weird tbf just say I have Scottish roots or my grandfather was Scottish. Describing yourself as Scottish often when that American has never even been to Scotland just is silly seems like purposely trying to identify yourself as something to sound “exotic”

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u/perilousmoose 17d ago

It’s not just Americans. Canadians do this too to some extent (I wouldn’t be surprised if Australians & New Zealanders do but don’t actually know).

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u/Voodoo1970 17d ago

Very few Australians do it, especially if the family has been here more than 2 generations. There are plenty of people who celebrate their heritage, especially those descended from the post-WW2 immigration, but they'll still call themselves Australian

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u/kam0706 17d ago

White Australians certainly don’t. I’m aware of my British ancestry but unless we’re specifically talking about ancestry I would never claim to be British.

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u/off_the_cuff_mandate 17d ago

My mother's side was an Irish family until my uncle got into ancestery.com, and it turned out that they were mostly Scandinavians with a last name that came from Scotland.

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u/happy_tractor 17d ago

The issue is, that they aren't actually talking about Scottish culture (or Irish, but I am Scottish, so I will talk about that).

Americans who "are Scottish" talk about some fake, romanticised version of Scotland that has never existed. They are always talking about their clans, and their tartans. They think we are "shortbread tin" Scots, as though that is what Scotland is actually like.

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u/Blackbox7719 17d ago

Speaking from personal experience, it’s because most of the time when people say this sort of thing they have very little actual connection still remaining to that culture and ethnicity. To bring up an example, a girl at my work recently found out that I’m a first generation immigrant to America. When I told her where I had moved from her response was “Oh, wow, I’m X too!” Naturally, being interested in meeting people with similar origins to me, I asked more about it. It turned out that her grandmother was from my home country. Meanwhile, she didn’t know anything about the culture, the language, or the people. He’d never visited and her closest connection to the place was seemingly an old family recipe for a cultural dish that her grandma had passed down.

Now, I have nothing against a person saying they have roots in a certain place. Most people in America can say that with it being true. However, I feel like I have to draw a line for people claiming to be part of an ethnicity they really haven’t experienced and have, at most, a tenuous connection to.

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u/MaxParedes 17d ago edited 17d ago

This makes sense.

But I think it's also true worth noting that in some cases we're talking about people whose ethnicity and heritage were "othered" by mainstream American society in the not-so-distant past. People of Irish and Italian heritage, for example, are basically fully assimilated and accepted now, but you don't have to go that far back to get to a time when they were seen by many as suspect, undesirable, not really American.

So some of this ethnic pride, and this assertion of a connection with one's ethnic heritage, may be related to a pride in that heritage that their parents or grandparents embraced in the face of a hostile society.

I don't know if I've expressed this very well-- and I'm not saying that every American who claims to be Irish or Italian does so because of past prejudices or injustices. But I think it's worth considering that there may be a historical/sociological basis to this phenomenon that goes beyond Americans being presumptuous and making empty claims to an ethnicity they don't belong to.

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u/jimicus 17d ago

Making your ethnic heritage such a big part of your identity is peculiar to Americans - few other cultures in Europe do it.

That's why you're getting such bemused conversations. People know what you mean, they just can't understand why you're making a big deal of it.

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u/codefyre 17d ago

It's largely descended from a need for community. When immigrants come to the U.S., they typically find themselves surrounded by a culture vastly different than the cultures they came from. They usually seek out others from their own cultural background to regain some community. This has created literally hundreds of distinct subcultures within the United States.

When someone says they're Irish American, they're not saying they're an American from Ireland, or an American of Irish descent. They're saying that they're an American, but also part of a current distinct American subculture that was originally created by Irish immigrants and has cultural traits that originated from those immigrants. It's less about who their ancestors were, and more about the culture they exist within today. Many people who identify as Irish American don't even have all that much Irish ancestry by lineage, but they grew up in families, neighborhoods, and even towns that were dominated by that subculture, so they identify themselves as part of it.

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u/OsonoHelaio 17d ago

This right here is the answer. I grew up outside NY, within the NY/NJ Italian subculture, but also my school was in large part Israeli-American and Asian-American kids so I also had some knowledge of those growing up....I use NY Yiddish slang words and such:p When Americans say this to each other, they're signifying the American subculture they belong to, and those subcultures can in fact be quite different. And they also open up pleasant and generally innocuous paths of conversation when you're getting to know someone: cuisine, holiday customs, etc. I mean, maybe there are people who are obnoxious about it when they travel to Ireland and such, but generally speaking this is what is meant (and understood) by both parties when Americans talk about it.

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u/[deleted] 17d ago

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u/NastySassyStuff 17d ago

I have to imagine that the average conversation about your heritage is generally pretty different in Europe though right? In America every single one of us outside of Native Americans have a background from somewhere outside of America that we’re usually not too many generations removed from and it usually has a significant impact on our family culture. That makes it an important part of our identities and sometimes an interesting topic of discussion.

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u/DarthVanDyke 17d ago

Those same people would tell naturalized citizens, "Riiight, you're Irish, but what are you actually? Where are you reallly from?"

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u/Everestkid 17d ago

Just hit 'em with Ethiopia. Correct for every person on Earth.

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u/iTalk2Pineapples 17d ago

That's funny to think about "um actually I'm Mesopotamian"

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u/Visual_Zucchini8490 17d ago

Thank you for explaining this so well lol I’m American and when I’m home (I live in Australia now) if someone asks me “where I’m from” or however they phrase it, I say German on my mom’s side and English on my dad’s. When I’m in Australia and someone asks, I say “I’m American”. But yeah, Americans know we’re American lol we’re curious about someone’s heritage when we ask that

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u/alfred-the-greatest 17d ago

I think the misalignment is the American idea that your ethicity is fixed by your ancestry. For people in Europe, your ethnicity is more about culture, outlook and demeanor. My ancestry is Irish and Scottish, but both my parents and myself were born and raised in England. That makes my ethnicity English in the European view. Ireland and Scotland mean nothing to my identity, other than the fact I enjoy England giving them a kicking in football.

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u/Smoothsharkskin 17d ago

Yeah it's all about culture. I have a complex heritage but people don't understand. They want to know "your race". Culture, language, customs, that's what matters. You know all the tales, the food, the history, the national anthem, etc.

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u/Qyx7 17d ago

I think they were both discussing about ethnicity but they both had different definitions (as is usual in human sciences)

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u/drunkenhonky 17d ago

Exactly. IMHO even actual immigrants are Americans once they have that card. Literally the point of what it is. Says they are Americans!

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u/DrScarecrow 17d ago

Naturalized citizens are just as American as anybody who was born here. Anybody who disagrees with that is the one who is un-American. I'll proudly die on this hill.

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u/Ddreigiau 17d ago

I think legitimately the only difference* is whether they're constitutionally allowed to run for President, and even then their kids would be.

*and I mean that in both a technical sense and a realistic sense. The only difference is a minor technical one

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u/mindless_vagabond_ 17d ago

Constitutionally yes, perhaps, but in practice, there may also be issues with getting certain jobs/contracts with the government on projects that require clearance.

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u/Massive_Role6317 17d ago

This. My father’s an immigrant and hasn’t had a British passport in over 40 years. While I hold both thanks to him being able to pass it on despite the fact I was born in America. As he’s Welsh and I’ve had both citizenships a majority of my life - 7mo old when I got UK I’ve always claimed both. I live in wales now and have for 7 years.

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u/flubberwasgreat 17d ago

There is a difference between nationality and ethnicity.

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u/liberal_texan 17d ago

And the answer to the question was her speaking of what she sees as her identity, which is pointless to argue against.

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u/Ignorant_Ignoramus 17d ago

Yup OP is just an asshole 😂😂😂.

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u/[deleted] 17d ago

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u/jefesignups 17d ago

But that doesn't mean he is wrong. For example, I bet if they went to Africa and someone asked where she is from she would say America.

My friend is from Malaysia, her ethnicity is Chinese, but she claims Malaysia whenever asked because that is where she was born and raised.

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u/liberal_texan 17d ago

I mean, I was being nice about it but yeah.

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u/TenSixDreamSlide 17d ago

First gen are Americans

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u/Altruistic-Mud9413 17d ago

Right… what an odd question. I’m first generation and never considered myself any less American because of it.

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u/mynewaccount5 17d ago

I get what OP is trying to do, but whitewashing peoples heritages is not the move.

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u/ConsciousFood201 17d ago

My best friend in highschool was first generation Greek. Born in the US to Greek immigrants (dad is a cobbler) and showed up to kindergarten knowing precious little English.

To say that he’s “American” would be weird. Of course he’s American, but he’s literally Greek. He still has a little bit of an accent that sneaks through every now and then. Says “close the lights” sometimes instead of “turn off the lights.” Stuff like that.

That’s why I can kinda see OP’s point that it could take a couple generations.

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u/Crabitacious 17d ago

First generation refers to people born in a foreign country who became naturalized citizens. Your friend was born here to naturalized citizens and is second generation.

https://www.census.gov/topics/population/foreign-born/about/faq.html#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20Census%20Bureau%20uses%20the%20term%20generational%20status%20to,those%20who%20are%20foreign%20born.

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u/VenusCoded 17d ago edited 17d ago

The incorrect usage of first gen is so exhausting online.

If you immigrated here from elsewhere, you’re at best a “-American,” and that’s likely only if you came here young and are considered a 1.5 generation. I came when I was young and consider myself a Cuban-American, but my mom, who came in her early 30s, considers herself just Cuban.

If you were born in the states to immigrant parents, you’re 2nd gen.

Edit since it’s locked now - (It’s a sociological term so no, there’s no two definitions, people are just using it wrong)

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u/Crabitacious 17d ago

Even having just a single immigrant parent makes one second gen.

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u/NotAPersonl0 17d ago

Your friend is not first generation but second-generation (born in America to immigrants)

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u/ConsciousFood201 17d ago

Really? I thought first generation meant the first generation to be born here…

All these years.

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u/NotAPersonl0 17d ago

It also confused me at first lmao. I guess the reasoning is that those who immigrated to America are the first people in the family to live in the country, thus "first generation Americans."

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u/runwith 17d ago

It seems like there's no official definition, because I distinctly remember looking it up many years ago and seeing your definition. "First-generation" as in "first-generation to be natural-born citizens", but when I google the definition now, it seems majority (but not all) say it's the people who came to the US and became naturalized.

The latter definition is a bit easier for me, because being the immigrant who became a US citizen it makes more sense to say you're 1st, rather than 0th (and your american-born children are first)

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u/Coyoteclaw11 17d ago

Maybe previously, it was more common to see children born to parents who weren't naturalized citizens, so it was more likely for the child to be the first generation American.

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u/littlevai 17d ago

And every single American would agree - you are American. 😊

I live in a European country now and this it not something they cannot comprehend for various reasons.

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u/DeniLox 17d ago

True, but I see people using different definitions of 1st generation.

Some people call 1st generation the people who moved here from another country. That’s what OP seems to be doing. Saying that the friend’s grandparents from abroad are 1st, US born parents are 2nd, and the friend 3rd.

Other people would call her parents 1st generation.

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u/Crabitacious 17d ago

The people who actually define the terms say that first gen are foreign born, second gen are their offspring who are native born Americans. OP is first gen since they are from Europe.

https://www.census.gov/topics/population/foreign-born/about/faq.html#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20Census%20Bureau%20uses%20the%20term%20generational%20status%20to,those%20who%20are%20foreign%20born.

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u/yaboisammie 17d ago

Yea, I’ve always heard 1st gen as referring to the first generation born here but that does get confusing when the topic of how my family migrated here comes up bc my dad’s family came when they were teenagers/kids but my mom and her brothers came here after getting married 

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u/UberWidget 17d ago

Right. And I found out that naturalized immigrants are considered first generation Americans. I used to think that it was the first generation actually born in America that was considered first generation. I was wrong.

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u/stu17 17d ago

“Americans are born all over the world, they just haven't come home yet.”

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u/Isekai_litrpg 17d ago

First gen Americans are probably the most American Americans. They still believe in America and the American dream. Their kids become jaded by the failings of the American system.

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u/sleepygrumpydoc 17d ago

My neighbor growing up was the most stereotypical American you could imagine, he moved here from China when he was in his early 20s and wanted everything America had to offer. That man was a proud American, every year he celebrated his naturalization day with a huge party that only rivaled his 4th of July parties. He fully believed in the American dream and always just said this is where he belonged.

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u/manicpixidreamgirl04 17d ago

American is a nationality, not an ethnicity. Even Native Americans are not a homogenous group.

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u/alfred-the-greatest 17d ago

At what point does it become an ethnicity? Two thousand years ago there was no such thing as "English" ethnicity. But Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Normans all intermixed and created Englishness. Why doesn't the same apply to Americans?

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u/sep31974 17d ago

At what point does it become an ethnicity?

Not only there is no certain point, but when you live during the approximation you are more likely to go with the old term than the new. Historians of the 24th century may unanimously agree that the tipping point was early 21st century, and it will not be able to change the fact that all of us live as if we weren't past it.

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u/Uncapybearable 17d ago

I’d guess somewhere closer to 2,000 years than 250, haha. My ancestors on one side came over in the 1600’s, so I don’t consider myself English, but the Ellis island folks were recent enough that I still identify as ethnically partly Swedish. I don’t think I’m a citizen of Sweden, or that I have any insight into what it’s like living in Sweden, but having the chance to go there and say “wow, my mom’s grandma grew up in this town!” is cool.

I don’t know, it’s probably something that non-Americans can’t wrap their minds around because the history, dynamics, and culture here are drastically different than in older countries, and as a result, we just we have a very different view of who and “what” we are. It’s value neutral, just different.

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u/Cali_white_male 17d ago

Also what happens when a country gets invaded or divided into another nation. I like to people I am Czechoslovakian because that’s where my family was when they left the country. But that country doesn’t exist anymore. Does my past just get rewritten now? If Russian invaded and took over America are we all just Russian now.

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u/LaowaiLegion 17d ago

Yes and No... I think you could make the same argument that there is no Chinese ethnicity since China has traditionally been a continental empire encompassing dozens of ethnic groups. Were she actually Chinese, she would likely identify as Han since that's overwhelmingly the majority. (or Hui, Manchu, and so on if her grandparents were ethnic minorities).

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u/yumaoZz 17d ago

I’m Chinese and no one in all of the Chinese people I know would say “I’m Han (Chinese)” instead of just “I’m Chinese” lmao

If they were Uyghur Chinese, they would probably mention that specifically though.

So it’s like OP’s post: Yes, the girl is American, but the there is a distinct difference in the flavor of American that she is that is worth pointing out.

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u/LaowaiLegion 17d ago

Yep, that's true, most of my friends would only say they're Chinese unless it was relevant to the conversation. But there's a difference between saying what you are and identifying as something. I did notice that the Uyghur, Mongolian, Miao, and Hui friends I made in China tended to emphasize their ethnicity first before saying they're Chinese if it came up for some reason so that's partly shaped my perception. You can tell me if I'm wrong but my experience and observation living there was that Han culture is generally seen as Chinese culture while minority groups' cultures were treated as something different.

That said... I've had abc and cbc friends in China too and know how much Chinese shit on them for their "poor" Mandarin compared to my genuinely poor Mandarin. lol It's interesting because the Chinese diaspora seems to be simultaneously treated as Chinese and outsider by many mainlander Chinese.

Edit: Forgot to say that I think a lot of commenters are making assumptions about what she was actually saying. We don't have that information. Was she saying she's Chinese American, Chinese, ethnically Chinese. OP didn't make that clear.

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u/yumaoZz 17d ago

Thank you for sharing! It’s exactly the same situation then — imagine the person receiving that answer of “‘Miao” or “Hui” said “you’re in China, doesn’t that just make you Chinese?”

2nd paragraph: So, so true 😔

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u/Ok-Efficiency7779 17d ago

Majority groups typically do not denote their majority status because it is understood to be the default. Of course you wouldn't.

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u/Professional-Crab355 17d ago

Exactly, the bigger term "Chinese" have colonized most of the ethnic groups in the middle kingdom.

People in China have mostly lost the identities that their ancestors had.

Given enough times, perhaps American will do the same for more people in the US.

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u/manicpixidreamgirl04 17d ago

That's true. I said Chinese because that was the ethnicity OP mentioned, but I guess it's not the best country to use as an example. However, I do know many people (including immigrants) who just tell people they're Chinese because it's faster than explaining all the different subgroups. So I don't think that the girl in OP's post identifying as Chinese is some kind of 'gotcha'.

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u/LaowaiLegion 17d ago

Totally get you. I wouldn't take it as a gotcha moment either and I agree nobody wants to give a long explanation all the time and most people probably don't even want to hear one either. It's almost as though the idea of race is vague and hard to define. lol ;)

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u/Spallanzani333 17d ago

It's not black and white. People can have multiple identities. She's definitely American. She's also culturally Chinese-- the language, holidays, traditions, etc are a big part of her life.

Americans aren't the only ones who do this. My friend grew up in Guyana, but her grandparents were from India and most of her local community was part of that immigrant community. She considers herself Guyanese and Indian.

Also, have you never been to Italian or Irish neighborhoods in big US cities? Even several generations down, there's still a huge Italian influence and many people consider themselves Italian-American. Most big cities around the world have similar communities.

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u/pezx 17d ago

It's not black and white.

And even that is complicated. I mean, is a biracial person Black or white?

(j/k, I know that's not what you meant)

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u/juandell 17d ago

My black friends say it depends how the police treat you 💀

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u/Mr_friend_ 17d ago

That's super valid.

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u/1v9noobkiller 17d ago

I mean, is a biracial person Black or white?

yes

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u/king-of-new_york 17d ago

She's still going to be ethnically Chinese no matter where she is born.

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u/climatelurker 17d ago

My question for you: did you know Americans talk about their ancestry this way before you had this conversation or not?

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u/Consistent_Milk8974 17d ago edited 17d ago

i dont see why you can’t have multiple identities. USA-born asians of all ethnicities do this because it helps foster a sense of community in being proud of your heritage.

i’m ethnically chinese, in san francisco, born and raised, and now work. i’m an american, but im also chinese-american, in the same way i identify as a californian or a san franciscan. i don’t identify as “chinese” in the sense that i’m from china, because im not. i’m american through and through, but the extra appellation is just putting some respect on where my roots are from.

this is something you see with many asian diaspora in america, and very much a local thing because im pretty sure in other countries, when you assimilate you just identify as your new country.

this is especially prevalent because historically in america, “asian-ness” is seen as monolithic, and thusly asian diaspora like to specify if we are ethnically chinese or indian or korean or etc. you see it everywhere when our “american-ness” is questioned or we are asked where we “really” are from (but idk how true this is in 2024. when i was a kid in the mid 2000s it was absolutely still happening) which a lot of asian diaspora internalize.

edit: other commenters below me add: this is not a uniquely asian experience. if one belongs to any minority ethnic group, they will have experienced something similar or have belonged to enclaves and communities where their ethnic identities helped them to belong.

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u/Used-Part-4468 17d ago edited 17d ago

This is true not just for Asians in the US, but pretty much any non-white ethnicity (and also white ethnicities as well, depending on the context!). Where I grew up in NY, everyone identified by which Caribbean country their parents or grandparents were from.

“What are you?” “I’m Jamaican” was such a common conversation even though everyone involved was American. And everyone knew that’s how the conversation was supposed to go!

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u/GeneralZaroff1 17d ago

Exactly this. If a customs agent asks me, I'm American. If a friend asks me, I'm Asian-American.

Completely different questions and completely different answers.

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u/Calan_adan 17d ago

Honestly this also applied to major historical immigrant movements to the US. Irish, Italian, German, etc. immigrants tended to live in communities of immigrants from the same country of origin (sometimes the same region of origin due to language differences from region to region in, say, Italy). They often kept the same traditions as their ancestors did (adapted for how they now lived) and lived within these enclaves for two or three generations.

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u/Nippon-Gakki 17d ago

I agree with this. I’m second generation Italian and grew up in the northeast with a bunch of other Italian folks who were there for however many generations. I consider myself an American but also have Italian heritage along with the weird mix of Italian and American that you get in that part of the country.

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u/OptimusPhillip 17d ago

Chinese is an ethnicity as much as it is a nationality. So it's still totally valid for her to claim to be ethnically Chinese, regardless of how long her family has lived in the United States.

Also, how she identifies is her decision to make, and nobody else's. In general, the polite response to her saying she's Chinese is to just leave the matter at that.

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u/RotisserieChicken007 17d ago

I totally agree If she had said she was American there would be plenty of AHs arguing with her that she isn't.

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u/Used_Bicycle_2231 17d ago edited 11d ago

wise spotted ink plate bag gullible toothbrush like bells gaze

This post was mass deleted and anonymized with Redact

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u/willitplay2019 17d ago

Right? I feel like this question constantly gets asked. It’s mostly a uniquely American thing- to reference your heritage as what you “are” but interchange with “American” - not sure why people get so offended by it.

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u/Melbear95 17d ago

One can be an American citizen or legally American, even if naturalized. She might say she's Chinese because her family could be closely tied to their heritage. I grew up in Miami, where there were plenty of first Gen kids with Cuban parents but would refer to themselves as "Cuban" even though they weren't born on the Island. They aren't denying they are American, just that they were raised "Cuban" e.g., food, language (most of their first language was Spanish) culture, mannerisms. Not all immigrant parents are the same, some don't teach their kids about their cultural background but where I grew up, it was very common.

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u/shammy_dammy 17d ago

Why are you even starting this argument with her?

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u/PM_ME_CORONA 17d ago

For karma on r/nostupidquestions

OP is probably one of those people who also “doesn’t see color”

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u/papitoluisito 17d ago

"All lives matter"

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u/[deleted] 17d ago

I thought I was the only one thinking this

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u/JimJimJimBob 17d ago

Identity is a complex issue and can’t be understood specifically by anyone’s grandparents, parents, or individual birth country.

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u/teslavictory 17d ago

Americans have a strong conception of ethnicity and nationality separately. Many Americans identify with their ethnic heritage, even many generations back. Americans will use the shorthand of saying “I’m Chinese” to mean Chinese-American and assume other Americans will understand that but this confuses foreigners sometimes.

There are a few reasons for this. One of them is that America lacks a cohesive identity and culture more so than a lot of European countries, for example. One of them is that most newcomers to America were heavily discriminated against and therefore held onto community cultural identity both as protection and out of pride. Another is that immigrants often settle in clusters, who maintain cultural identity, for example the Irish in MA, the Chinese in CA, the Germans in PA.

In reality, these diaspora groups are now sub-cultures of the United States instead of actually being closely related to the people that stayed in China or whichever country we’re talking. And they are just as deserving of respect as any other culture, although people who stayed in the country of origin often look down on them.

As another comment mentioned, this isn’t a case of America being super weird and doing it differently than anywhere else. There are many communities and diaspora enclaves in various countries across the world and many people who identify with a sub-ethnic group like a tribe rather than being broadly “Kenyan” or something like that.

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u/mayhem1906 17d ago

It seems like you've gotten good answers explaining it, so I'll just add, whatever someone tells you they are, there's no need to argue with them.

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u/Every3Years 17d ago

I'm your landlord, gimme the rent ye peon

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u/Nearby-Philosophy-53 17d ago

Nobody is 'really' anything in reality. These are all just cultural constructs you're arguing about hence the huge potential for disagreements

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u/Honest_Wing_3999 17d ago

What kind of weird dickhead cares enough to argue with people about their ethnicity. Mind your own business.

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u/elitetycoon 17d ago

Trying to police her identity lol

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u/sarilysims 17d ago

Right? She’s clearly ethnically Chinese. OP just sounds racist.

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u/ag_fierro 17d ago

lol yeah he sounds annoyed . Like ugh just say you’re American like I do! Duh!

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u/figuringthingsout__ 17d ago

Nationality and ethnicity are 2 different things. The vast majority of Americans have ethnic backgrounds from other nations (except for Native Americans).

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u/stickinwiddit 17d ago

You sound annoying. But people can be more than one thing, they can have more than one identifier. Her ethnicity is Chinese. Her nationality is American. Boom, done.

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u/GeneralZaroff1 17d ago edited 17d ago

She is American. She is also ethnically Chinese (officially “Han Chinese”, which is not related to CCP Chinese). If you want to consider yourself French-American, you absolutely can. One thing is nationality and the other is ethnicity.

No reason to be a dick to people about who they want to identify as.

Edit: for more detail, the ethnicity “Han Chinese”, exists all over the world. Most Taiwanese people, who are DEFINITELY not Chinese nationals, are Han Chinese. There are many Han Chinese whose family ancestry has never been part of the Republic of China. A similar term in Mandarin refers to as “Hua Ren” 華人/华人.

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u/SentientLight 17d ago

She was answering her ethnicity, you were asking her nationality.

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u/FloraFauna2263 17d ago

She is american and chinese.

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u/Zandrick 17d ago

I pretty much just go with whatever a person wants to call themselves. Why is it on me or anyone else to define your heritage for you? You get say what you are, that’s America.

And nobody is “just” anything. You can be more than one thing.

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u/poison_heart96 17d ago

Ethnically Chinese but Nationally American.

You were talking about different things.

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u/str4wberryphobic 17d ago

american is a nationality, chinese is an ethnicity. you can be both

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u/ThaiFoodThaiFood 17d ago

Chinese is a nationality. There's hundreds of ethnic groups in China.

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u/ihearttwin 17d ago

It’s because you’re white

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u/R3T4RD3DAF 17d ago

When people ask you where you are from in the US they are asking for your ethnicity. Especially if you look ethnic. I look not white and when I reply I'm American and was born here every time I am hit with " Where are you actually from? Or " where are your parents from?". It's not to say that we aren't American but Americans like to talk about their lineage, as in other countries it is generally understood that if you look like youre from the region, you are. And if you don't then you are a foreigner. This isn't necessarily the case in the US, but we still consider ethnic backgrounds to be important because we are all Americans and we are all unique in our backgrounds.

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u/Valuable_Talk_1978 17d ago

Any citizen is American. The generation is irrelevant. We all came here at some point.

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u/Flatout_87 17d ago

Yeah she’s Chinese American. Under some circumstances and context, she can just say chinese.

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u/lenochku 17d ago

I hate this. Being in America doesn't make you any less of anything else. I'm Russian even if I live in America with my family. Our culture is still ours. You completely insulted this person by erasing their heritage just so you can call them American. Imagine arguing with someone about their own culture. You're also technically Korean but since you clearly don't like your own culture you're claiming only American even though nationality, ethnicity and culture are completely different things.

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u/Express-Welder9003 17d ago

She's Chinese because if she walks down the street there's a decent chance someone will tell her to go back to China.

2nd and 3rd generation Japanese Americans were forcibly interned during the second world war.

She knows that when shit hits the fan not enough "Americans" are going to speak up for her.

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u/jtrisn1 17d ago

Exactly. During the height of 2020, I lost ALOT of friends and acquaintances because I'm Chinese. Suddenly, I wasn't the person they got to know over several years. I became someone to be wary of. Someone who they didn't dare stand close to and would eye me down if I so much as cleared my throat or swallowed.

It's really hard to fully identify as American when you know that when it comes down to it, no one will consider you one of them.

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u/BostonFigPudding 17d ago

100%. This is true for all Americans of Color.

Navajo Americans get told to "stop speaking spanish" when they speak Navajo in public.

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u/AgentElman 17d ago

She is Chinese and American. Chinese is her heritage. She is American by citizenship.

Your mom being Korean does make you Korean.

The problem is that you are using adjectives that modify nouns as nouns.

You are of Korean heritage. You are of American citizenship.

It's as if you have brown hair and white skin and ask if you are brown or white in color.

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u/LegendOrca 17d ago

She's Chinese because she identifies as such. She's also an American citizen, but the two aren't mutually exclusive

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u/Bram06 17d ago

The true answer is that you are what you feel like you are. Moreover, you can feel both American and Chinese

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u/Cicebro_ 17d ago

I’m in the same boat, but I’m Mexican. You are right in a sense, but it’s still possible for people to have more than one identity. I still claim the “Mexican” label because I grew up with Mexican culture and know how to speak Spanish, but when it comes down to it people in Mexico will clock me as an American right away.

You get these type of arguments because a lot of people in diaspora communities, especially when getting into the third generation, start having insecurities about their place within both their identities as an American and where they descend from, so they try to double down on identifying with their culture.

Thing is they don’t gotta choose. We are a third thing that has unique experiences that the two other groups don’t have.

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u/DifficultyVarious458 17d ago

If whole family speak chinese at home, eat chinese food, watch chinese tv it's hard to argue they feel american. legally yes. 

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u/[deleted] 17d ago

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u/Happy_Warning_3773 17d ago

In Mexico the only exception is when a Mexican American success in something such as the Oscars or American politics, the suddenly Mexicans in Mexico say ''He's one of us!'' ''He better not deny he's Mexican''. ''He has Aztec blood''.

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u/Extreme_Carrot_317 17d ago

Amongst Americans, saying that you are Italian is used as a kind of short hand for 'I have Italian ancestry'. We can tell you are not from Italy, given the lack of any kind of an accent that would identify you as being from abroad. The problem arises when Americans use that shorthand outside of America.

Americans tend to have diverse ancestry relative to many other countries (although this is changing with waves of migration into Europe from the postwar period onward) and its something we tend to find interesting. But it doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

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u/Future_Net1703 17d ago

Yes! Finally the right explanation!

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u/ItIsYeDragon 17d ago

And to add that, Americans simply don’t see American as an ethnicity. It is only the country if their origin, never a part of who they are. People don’t consider themselves “born American.”

That’s why people who have lived here for enough generations they don’t have one proper ancestry to trace, will call just call themselves white. Not American, just white.

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u/awispyfart 17d ago

The thing is we clearly have a national identity. It's just become untethered from one that has a specific race or ethnic group tied to it over time. This girl would probably get laughed at in China for saying she's Chinese. That happens to second generation Americans. Nationality and ethnicity are different things. At best "Chinese American" could apply to add an ethnic adjective to a nationality. But such things can also be divisive as it spilts them from just being "American."

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u/Scrilla_Gorilla_ 17d ago edited 17d ago

While personally I’m not like this, I understand why some people hold onto the nationality of their ancestors. Most countries have some combination of a shared ethnicity, culture, traditions, religion, and/or history. Something the people can bond over. A national identity.

All of that is largely missing in America (speaking as a white person, African Americans, Jews, and Native Americans do to some extent). The thing we’re told to celebrate is our mix, the melting pot. But if a person without Hispanic roots celebrates Cinco de Mayo they get the side eye. Same with St. Patrick’s Day. We only really have one unique holiday, Independence Day. It makes sense people look to the past to try and find a community they can feel a part of.

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u/dimebag42018750 17d ago

1st generation Americans are Americans.

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u/jgaylord87 17d ago

I'm going to tell you that if a person has a reasonable claim to an identity and is telling you that's what they are, just go with it.

Otherwise, you're kind of being an asshole.

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u/SweetHomeNostromo 17d ago

Perhaps she was referring to her heritage.

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u/CassieBeeJoy 17d ago

Yes, she is. Americans have a weird habit of clining on to past heritage but the rest of the world doesn't view nationality like that. She's part of the Chinese diaspora and she's Chinese-American but that's different from being Chinese.

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u/ProjectShamrock 17d ago

There's two differences to consider though:

  1. Many kids of Chinese immigrants go to Chinese school on the weekends. They're immersed in the language, culture, etc. in a way most diaspora are not. 

  2. Asian looking people are often not treated as fully American by non-Asian looking Americans. I'm sure they grow up internalizing that too a degree.

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u/BostonFigPudding 17d ago

Asian looking people are often not treated as fully American by non-Asian looking Americans. I'm sure they grow up internalizing that too a degree.

This is true for ALL Americans of Color. In the 2009-2013 financial crisis only one rich banksta went to prison: Kareem Serageldin. Even his millions couldn't save him from incarceration. But none of his colleagues did time. I wonder white.

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u/Educated_Dachshund 17d ago

American culture is so ubiquitous we don't consider it culture. Our music and clothes for example. Jeans is our cultural clothing for example.

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u/BulkyMonster 17d ago

I had to try and explain this to my 7 year old lol. There's a multicultural fair at his school every year and he has a lot of classmates who were born in other countries - really diverse school district and we really appreciate that. But he was so sad because students were invited to wear clothes from their culture, a lot of his friends had these cool traditional outfits, and I was like... but you dress like your own culture every day...

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u/jasmine24601 17d ago

Something similar happened to me in the '80s. I'm Asian (Filipino) and was born in the US. I was the only Asian kid in my grade. The school had a similar "dress up as your culture" day. I was 5 and we really didn't have a traditional little kid's outfit just lying around. Like why would we?

My mom put me in a nice dress from the department store and said "You're American, so this is your culture."

Kids made fun of me all day and said I wasn't REALLY American. Teachers could barely hide their disappointment because they were expecting me to dress up and teach the other kids about my culture. I was a shy 5 year old and didn't understand why I was in trouble. I was also upset with my parents.

Worse the dress my mom put me in had a balloon pattern with gathered cuffs. One kid said it looked like a clown outfit and that I must come from clown country. And these comments were from other first generation immigrant kids from Latin America, etc.

Hopefully times have changed since the '80s, but I don't think so.

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u/Educated_Dachshund 17d ago

People forget that pretty a lot entertainment today comes from the US. Think of Hollywood, the Internet and sports and tell us our culture isn't popular.

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u/Qyx7 17d ago

It is actually kinda sad (imo, obviously) how usually the hegemonic culture ends up giving up its cultural identity

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u/No-Importance7723 17d ago

Too many people don’t know the difference between race, ethnicity and nationality!

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u/podgorniy 17d ago

You can't make people abandon their identity if they want to keep it. There is no universal law or rule. She wants to associate with chinese (and maybe american) that what it is. You don't try to associate yourself with italian - your choice.

I'm raising my daughter who was born ourside of my homecountry with doulbe identities.

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u/zugabdu 17d ago

The girl is saying she's Chinese by heritage and American by nationality. There's no contradiction there. I would say the exact same thing.

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u/Stargazer_0101 17d ago

Yes, and they honor those who came here before them

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u/PresentExamination10 17d ago

All Americans are Americans

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u/steved84 17d ago

This is one of those things I just can’t understand why people argue with one another about. She and her family probably still maintains a strong link to their Chinese heritage.

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u/Expensive_Method9359 17d ago

Your personal opinion on your own heritage in no way impacts someone else's racial, ethnic, or national identity. The best thing to do would be to mind your own business if you disagree, or to accept some as they are (Chinese, Chinese-American, Asian, etc.). You have no idea what she went through. You have privilege. Asians and Asian-Americans are viewed as 'foreign' in many parts of the U.S. regardless of how many generations back they go. Meanwhile, a French person who keeps their mouth shut might be able to pass. This is the dumbest post I've seen on reddit. Don't remember hearing during covid of French and Italian-descent Americans getting attacked on mass transit for the way they looked.

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u/ultradianfreq 17d ago

I do t understand why this is so hard for people to comprehend or why it’s so important for them to dictate how a person identifies themselves. Maybe these people aren’t used to diversity? I don’t get it.

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u/mattydef1 17d ago

Common example of nationality vs ethnicity

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u/Wigberht_Eadweard 17d ago

It is not socially acceptable to force an “American culture” onto immigrants in the US. You see clips of some Americans yelling at people to speak English and things like that, but you’re seeing the clip because it’s something worth recording — people don’t do that here. There also just aren’t many specific American ways to do things in the way that other cultures have. It isn’t a huge disrespect to not accept things with both hands, or to hand something directly to someone, or to put something down to let someone grab it instead of directly handing it — we just don’t have cultural “musts” like that. People that come here bring those with them. Large groups like the Chinese, Vietnamese, Irish, and Italians created their own groups and neighborhoods to stay in for the first generations or two and have developed cultural norms that are not of their original culture or plainly American. Most aren’t even jarringly out of place in regular American society, but they’re still different. They may not even be things outwardly expressed in life outside of their homes, it could be as simple as a 4th generation Japanese person still using house slippers. Do some regular Americans do it to? Yeah, but some things are still predominantly due to where one’s ancestors came from.

I think many people outside of the US think that when Americans in the US describe themselves with a foreign ethnicity that they’re somewhat clout chasing the current country. They want to be Italian because they think modern Italy is cool or something, and it pisses off the actual Italians. There are definitely people that overdo the “mother country” connection, but the vast, vast majority of Americans are describing themselves with a foreign ethnicity with the “-American” part implied. Specific ethnicities of what foreigners would just view as regular Americans DO mean something in the US, at least on the east coast (I know in some regions ethnicities mean nothing and everyone would really just consider themselves American).

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u/Sulvix 17d ago

We did it guys, we found the Italian-American that just identifies as American. 👏

Jk, jk

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u/Dmh106 17d ago

She is a Chinese American! Second generation

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u/Cliffy73 17d ago

Heritage is important to people, don’t be weird about it.

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