Culture · Immigration · Race/Gender Who are you? Eric Ringham February 1, 2011, 5:00 AM Feb 1, 2011 29 comments There’s a growing ambiguity in how Americans describe their ethnic backgrounds. There is also a growing number of mixed-race marriages producing multiracial children. Today’s Question: Who are you? ‹ Older Should Minnesota require voters to present a photo ID? Newer › Should the Legislature freeze salaries for public school employees? Browse by category Education Health Economy Politics/Government Culture Religion/Ethics Science/Technology Transportation Race/Gender Environment/Energy Security International affairs Immigration Media Military About the blogger Eric Ringham email@example.com Tim I am a child of God. The rest isn’t that important. Clark An American and U.S. citizen. The rest is nothing but data for quota’s. hiram All I know is that: I woke up in a Soho doorway A policeman knew my name He said “You can go sleep at home tonight If you can get up and walk away” And then: I staggered back to the underground And the breeze blew back my hair I remember throwin’ punches around And preachin’ from my chair Bob MacNeal In youthful naivete, I’d fancy myself a combo platter of Scottish, German & Irish. Then I read a BBC piece that said mud worms share DNA with humans. Mud worms are our closest invertabrae relatives. I suppose there are lower life-forms than a mud worm, but my existential inquiry stopped there. Steve the Cynic I’m still trying to figure that out. Lars I have a mixed heritage– both Norwegian and Swedish. James An American and U.S. citizen. (Thank you Clark) The rest is what I have made of myself through skill, hard work, education, and luck. ∑ DTOM steve this is a good question-with the blurring of america and the constant blogging social media, i feel in a state of perplexity and confusion. but to kind of answer the question i would say that i am an american and believe in the american dream husband, father, and a great father who is believes in fitness in youth and married happily! my kids are great and i couldnt ask for anything more-i believe in that sports and activity shape the american ethos and success in life! John P. My grandchildren are 1/4 Norwegian, 1/4 Swedish, 1/4 German, .1/8 French Canadian, and 1/8 Irish, allegedly. However, a recent genetic test on me shows I have some Meriteranean blood in me, so who knows? Maybe Grandma had an Italian boyfriend. We are a nation of mutts now. I enjoy the uncertainty of my heritage. Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, or Svenskarnas Dag, I feel like saying “I could have some of that in me!” and joining in the fun. Colleen I’m human! Thanks to DNA science, there is no “race” but human. Perhaps the question should be, what “culture” do you identify with. Mary Alice Harvey I am a white person whose ancestors came from the British Isles 9 to 11 generations ago. I am pleased that my children had the good sense to diversify the gene pool so that I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are 1/2 or more Afro-american or Native American. Tracy I am a Black American born and raised in Minneapolis. My husband is Mexican American- he moved from Mexico to Butterfield, MN when he was a junior in high school. We have three children who do not see themselves as Mexican because they have dark skin like their me and do not speak fluent Spainsh like my husband and his family, although we try to teach them. The Big Dog American Mixed Breed – A.K.A. Mutt Mari I’m a blonde-haired, green-eyed college student with skin the color of paper. My best friend is Indian (dot, not feather, as she puts it) and my boyfriend is Jewish. I’ve experienced affirmative action from the other side: I was denied because I am white. I don’t fear discrimination, but I usually answer “prefer not to say” on surveys because, really, it shouldn’t matter. Matt A I am me. Stephanie C My ethnic background is one that I am really proud of. I am a woman who identifies as multiracial and I get asked where I am from all the time because of my unique features. My mother is Haitian and came to the U.S over 30 years ago where she met my father. My father is caucasian (english and french dissent). I have yet to meet someone else in the twin cities with my unique mixture, and I feel really fortunate to be different and represent the growing population of people from interracial families and backgrounds. Allie I’m a proud “Minnesota Mutt” (Scandinavian, German, and Irish), but I’m even more thrilled that our collective Minnesota pedigree is expanding to include numerous other diverse populations from Asia, Africa, and Central/South America. Hurrah! Matteo Torgy I’m an American. Tristan I’m one third Scandanavian (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish) one third European (German, Czech, French-maybe, Dutch) and one third British Isles (Scottish, Irish, English, and Welsh). Most of all I’m 100% American with those mentioned above being key parts of my background. Vina I am Asian-American, but more specifically of Thai and Indian descent. My children are of mixed race. Recently, I experienced the frustration of filling out a Minneapolis Public Schools school choice form online, and found that I had to choose one race for my child. I could not mark more than one (which I can do on the U.S. Census form), or even mark “multiracial” or “other.” Suzanne My parents always told me that I was English (mother) and German (father). Last year I paid for an ancestry profile from DNA Tribes–when you send in swabs from your mouth. My deep ancestral origins from thousands of years ago is Finland. My closest genetic relatives today live in Slovakia. Fascinating! Amy I was tempted to dive into this with a long speech about Who I Am as a human being – my values, my beliefs and my inner workings – the things that define everyone as themselves. Who they really are. Not the outer but the hidden inner…and sometimes not so hidden I might add. But since this seems to truly be a question of how we Identify ourselves ethnically, I would simply say that I am Italian – with a little bit of German, Irish and Serbian mixed in there. Yes – I am an American citizen – but being ‘American’ doesn’t define my ethnicity. It only states what country I live in. I think more and more it seems people enjoy sharing Who They Are. Saying I’m an American is all fine and well – but why deny your heritage and your ancestry…Or at the very least – why not explore it? Kevin VC A humble person living in and around the twin cities. I am a sum of what I believe I would say, and I am a sum of the people I have met. We are all a part of all that we have met. I do not believe ANYONE knows EVERYTHING in the mortal world, and I believe no one knows enough of the other world to really comment. Generally the entrance to that world is a one way ticket…. I know not therefore I seek is my philosophy. “Why?” is the best word ever invented. I loved annoying my brothers and sisters by saying it all the time. I also believe no one is a island unto themselves. That we all work together as a community, and that community is in flux all the time. Some just get more credit for the work, even when it might be clear they had little to do with the real credit. I believe one should be praised for hard work, but not at the expense of helping those in needs. Those receiving credit or bonus are charged with finding where to apply their gift to where its needed most. That power and money should be treated as a hot potato tossed to those in need. Generally a hard worker who is willing to help when they can. And a rebel when I see abuse in other peoples power selfishly kept to themselves due to any number of ‘excuses’. (Sloth, greed, lazy, lust, etc…. it happens in the rich and poor really) I would say I believe in a higher power, its just complicated and I generally never bring it up in discussion. I avoid fundamentalists of any sort or of any belief. I would say I am a member of humanity, its community, and friend to all until you prove to me otherwise. A guy you can chat with peaceably at any corner or bar. John Evans What a bizarre government intervention in the free market! These contracts are freely negotiated between local school boards and teachers’ locals, based on local conditions. Since when does state government impose wage controls? Grant LiaBraaten Education is too important to have teacher’s salaries effectively shrink each year as inflation and health care costs continue to rise. Cathy A pay freeze during hard times seems more justified than the many funding cuts we experienced during the boom times. It is just another excuse to attack teachers. Good times or bad, education is always cut and children are affected. Schools have long since pared away any excess. I find it amazing that people who refuse to make the wealthy pay their fair share and who scream at taxes are willing to tax teachers this way. Of course, they are the same people who say they will increase employment by cutting government workers. We need to remember that kids in school now have only this time to be in school. Improving schools later won’t help them. A colleague visiting abroad was asked, “Why do Americans hate their children?” It is a question worth asking. Old Teacher From the MASSP Legislative Update: “The tricky part is that a freeze doesn’t do anything for the state budget. The state’s budget is unaffected by local salary freezes. If everyone agreed to a local freeze we would still have the same $6billion monster deficit to contend with. The bill exempts health insurance increases and Q comp agreements so there would still be significant negotiations even if it is passed.” Why is this an issue if it will not help balance the STATE budget?? DNA In’lakesh, I am another yourself in different morphology. Jerry I am the result of slow moving Swedes,conquered Irish slaves,conquering Vikings,and Imperialistic Englishman meshed together.I prefer “other”.