Prowler wrote:Well yeah it depends on the person. From my experience, Canadians are more likely to know more about their origins than Americans are. Although many of them seem to just identify as Canadian and nothing else.
Canada has a higher rate of immigration than the USA and a larger foreign-born population (20% vs 13%). Both countries have sizable non-English-speaking populations, but the largest single bloc in Canada (Francophones) is larger (21.5%) and more compact than the largest single bloc (12.4%) in the USA (Hispanophones). This doubtless affects the relative proportions of people from each country you meet who feel strongly connected to their ethnic origins and/or speak an ancestral language.
Prowler wrote:Just anecdotes but it seems Americans of German and British origin don't care much for their heritage in the sense of identifying as such as much as others. I guess because the descendants of the founding fathers have been there for so long they cant' feel anything other than being American.
Keep in mind, too, that due to our history, American identity was defined in opposition to being British. It's very different for Canadians. Some parts of Canada were still part of the UK until after World War II.
Prowler wrote:As for Germans, many Americans of German origin seem to have anglicised names(Brown instead of Braun). I guess probably because they feared discrimination during WW2(internment camps).
Very few (11,000 in a population of more than 12 million) German-Americans were interned, virtually all of them German nationals. But they were greatly pressured to assimilate, beginning not with WWII but WWI. My great-grandfather owned a German pub on the South Side of St Louis. When the war broke out, he took down all the red-white-and-black bunting and other Teutonic paraphernalia and stowed it in the attic. My infant grandfather got into one of the boxes, pulled out a German flag, and went running through the saloon with it. His father blew a gasket. Grandpa never spoke a word of German and never engaged in any German cultural activities. As far as I know, only one of his children has visited Germany, and then only because he was stationed there during the Vietnam War.
Prowler wrote:The Americans of European origin I see bragging about their origins the most are Irish and Italian ones. As for Asian Americans, I dunno, many from my experience can't speak their ethnic group's language at all or just have a completely different attitude than a born and bred East/South East Asian person. And many also kind of complain about how they don't really fit at home when they visit the country of their ancestors "I look like any other Japanese person but I'm a gaijin" and such.
As I said, it's tough for Asian-Americans. They get treated like foreigners in both places. People here express surprise that they speak English without an accent and people there are scandalised when they only speak English.
Prowler wrote:When I went to Ireland in 2005 their stores had lots of t-shirts with slogans in Irish/Gaelic. usually "kiss my ass". Also, I remember flicking through channels and seeing some cartoons dubbed in Irish/Gaelic.
It's kind of this fetish object, something they cling to since it's such a potent national symbol. But many hate it and/or have a bad conscience about not being able to speak it worth a damn. It's a situation without close parallel elsewhere in Europe.