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Old Posted Oct 10, 2017, 3:05 AM
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Do Canadians seem to care less about ancestry for identity reasons than Americans?

Just my impression but it seems like more Americans seem to put a lot of symbolic importance into certain kinds of ancestral ties than Canadians. For example, having roots that go back to colonial times (eg. "Daughters of the American Revolution"), having ancestors that fought in the Civil War. If you look at the controversy over the Confederate statues being taken down, you'll hear much talk about how even the great-great grandkids of the generals like Lee, Jackson agree that the monuments don't deserve to be celebrated, and seeing such people denounce their ancestors' actions seems powerful in the national discourse. "Pride" or "shame" towards ancestors seems to carry more weight south of the border.

Another example is when certain Americans think they may seem "more American" by claiming to be descended by a very small percentage from a Native American, famously Cherokee, while Canadians who have such distant ancestry don't seem to go out of their way to flaunt this as much.

Not to say whether Canadians are more or less interested in ancestry for their genealogical hobbies but it seems like using ancestry as an "identity" marker specifically or for symbolic reasons is way less common.

Saying that one is descended from someone who fought for the British or the French in the battle of Quebec, or from the first wave of Loyalists, or from someone who participated in 1812, while of historical interest doesn't seem to arouse as much passion as exists for the American Civil War.

In terms of ethnic groups' ancestry, Canadians seem to care more about ethnic heritage so far as there is some cultural element preserved but less about ancestry in and of itself. The ancestry itself seems not the main point, but what is actually practiced now in terms of politics, tradition, culture, language.

For example, despite all the talk about "pure laine" or "old stock" Quebecois, I'd imagine if a "pure laine" person by ancestry did not speak a lick of French growing up in his or her life, let's say he or she grew up in the US or some English-speaking city, said person would be seen as an Anglo and their ancestry would mean nothing. But, say a Haitian immigrant who does speak French would be accepted as Quebecois despite never having any Canadian ancestors prior to immigrating, much more than said Anglo person.

Similarly, Anglo-Canadians don't really see the difference between someone who is descended from a Loyalist vs someone who moved to BC in 1950 from England and never had "Canadian" ancestors if they both have English names, and if someone came from Somalia or Hong Kong in say 1995 but speaks with a fully Canadian-English accent is easily accepted as Anglo Canadian vs. French Canadian.

The focus on ancestry more in the US seems to affect some immigrant/minority communities too so minorities are much more willing to argue that they belong by virtue of having as long of a history there as whites have. So, Hispanics could evoke the long history of New Spain/Mexico being what is now American land to argue for their belonging and where an African American versus a recent African immigrant could get into a discussion over say whether someone without ancestral ties to slavery should benefit from affirmative action as much as someone who does.

Last edited by Capsicum; Oct 10, 2017 at 3:23 AM.
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Old Posted Oct 10, 2017, 3:12 PM
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Nonsense.
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Old Posted Oct 10, 2017, 3:29 PM
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Yea I aint touching this with a 10' pole. Seems this thread's only purpose is to make Americans sound more xenophobic.
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Old Posted Oct 10, 2017, 4:44 PM
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This is far too complex an issue to make generalizations about either country.

Think of the whole "come from away" thing in Newfoundland and how immigrants would fit into that.

There is also the whole matter of Quebec of course.

I can tell you for sure than in schools all over the country kids who are born in Canada of immigrant parents are more often than not identified by their parents' nationality when there are large enough concentrations of them, in opposition to "Canadian" kids who are, you guessed it, generally white.

Interestingly enough this does not always or even mostly lead to segregation between the various groups when it comes to socializing. (Though obviously segregation may happen - especially in areas with high ethnic concentrations.)

But still it's not uncommon for a high school kid to say: "in my circle of BFFs there are two Philippinos, one Chinese kid, one Iranian kid, one Somali kid, and four Canadian kids", but that all of these kids were actually born in Canada and speak with the exact same accent.
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Old Posted Oct 10, 2017, 4:50 PM
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So overall I don't see that much difference in inter-ethnic evolution or relations in Canada vs. the U.S., with of course the exception of a handful of outlier special cases in either country - which we all know as the "usual suspects". (I don't necessarily mean this pejoratively BTW.)
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