Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

In the past

 I enjoy working on the family tree. I have been doing it for years now, on and off. I occasionally make a new discovery but they are getting far and few between. The further I go back and the more branches I climb out on the less confident I become in the accuracy. I have yet to order the DNA test to determine ethnicity traits. You know the pie chart thing. I see the commercial often and the lady that says she " discovered " she has 25% Native American blood. It has opened new doors for her, she wants to explore her heritage. But just what is heritage ? Heritage is possessions that you inherit. Yes, it can also indicate whatever culture you received. The thing is this, that cultural heritage may indeed be in your blood, but the culture isn't ! And that is where I take my stand on all of this heritage stuff.
 My thinking is this. It really doesn't matter what is in my blood, that is not what makes me who I am. I could have 99% Native American blood in me but unless I grew up on a reservation, or with a Native American family,  I will not inherit their culture and customs ! I know that my paternal side came from Germany. He arrived in America in 1857. That doesn't make me German however, I'm as American as apple pie. My grandmother came from Sweden in 1899, I'm not Swedish. The truth is I have never known anyone in my family that wasn't an American. Those ancestors of mine came here to accomplish that goal, becoming Americans, and they all succeeded. I knew my grandmother quite well. She had been in America for 54 years by the time I was born. She talked like an American, dressed like an American and celebrated American holidays. I admit she did have a small Swedish flag that was in a cup in the corner cabinet. It was a gift from her sister back in Sweden. No telling how many years she had that flag. My point is, she didn't wave it around. No, she was an American.
 As I said I enjoy doing the family tree and all that. It is interesting and entertaining. I just don't get all this claiming of heritage these days. I fail to see the relevance for the majority of us. Choose a ethnic group, with the possible exception of Latino's, what percentage of them have ever actually lived in their " homeland ? " I know next to nothing of German or Swedish culture and customs. How many Polish people in the United States have ever lived in Poland ? Well, you get the idea. So what is the deal with that ? Are people getting desperate for an identity ? I mean, I know that we all want to associate ourselves with someone that is famous, to be a name dropper. That is human nature. To be able to say, I'm related to whoever. Somehow that makes us all feel a little more important. But, for me, claiming to be a Native American doesn't make you Geronimo and being African-American don't make you Kunta Kinte ! And what I think is worse is trying to claim a heritage for some perceived entitlement that heritage may carry. You know what I'm talking about. News flash, that heritage isn't yours because you didn't inherit a thing from that culture. Yes you may have read about it, maybe you saw some Hollywood rendition of that, but you didn't live that. The only way to truly inherit a culture is to live in that culture.
 I'm an American because I grew up in America. That's how it works. My parents did not teach me any customs from a different culture. I didn't run around in Lederhosen listening to oompa  music even though my grandparents came from Bavaria ! I seriously doubt that all the folks in Bavaria did that or still do it today. My point is you can't adopt a culture without living with that culture. Yes it would be fun to know what my DNA test shows. If it contains ethnicities I am unaware of that means only one thing. My ancestors got busy with folks of a different culture ! Hey, maybe they didn't talk about that, or maybe they didn't think it was any big deal. Either way that doesn't make me any less an American. It is fine to be proud of your ancestors and where they came from. History is a wonderful thing. For me however that is all it is, history. A fact from the past. The past certainly influenced my future but I didn't inherit it. I can inherit possessions, that is true, but I can't inherit a culture. Really it is no different than these transgender folks. You can change the equipment, the outward appearance, but you will never know what it is lie to be whatever it is you are changing into. You have to be born that way ! Well isn't that what they all claim ? But this blog isn't about that, just an analogy.
 The bottom line for me is, quit looking to the past to find your future. It isn't there. The future is what you make it. If you want to advance in the culture  that you are living in, embrace that culture. Anything else will be met with resistance or amusement. Yes I'm saying it is alright to be patriotic and embrace America, to be a proud American. This notion of, look to the past and what a proud and noble people we were, I'll adopt that, is just silliness. Want to succeed ? Get with the program, quit looking to the past for your future. Your future has arrived, you had best deal with it and quit looking for excuses.