Just finished reading “The Celts: A Very Short Introduction” by Barry Cunliffe. I’m remembering some of why I didn’t like history in school (though I love learning, non-fiction and people – so it would seem like something I’d like, yes?) – all the battles and turf-wars. Back in Nouveau Feminism we reclaimed that word – herstory – her story – and I DO think it is different from the “Touchdown! We won” of his-story.
But I digress.
Once I got past the Battle of This and the Turf of That I was struck by a few things.
One was how true ethnic stereotypes can be. “Fighting Irish” isn’t just a football team – it’s a characteristic of the Celts going WAYYYYYYY back! Also “the love of wine” and great passion, courage and valor. Substitute beer for wine and I can admit to all of the above!
The other thing that struck me was how we all long to belong to a tribe. To belong to a winning tribe if possible (and may I interject? – Go Bears!), but to know where we stand in the great stream of life. We know who we are by the company we keep and the stories we tell about our peeps.
It was interesting? validating? amusing? to me to see how strongly those of us who can claim Celtic heritage cling to that. And truth to be told – a great lot more of the world can claim that than my fellow Irishmen and Scots. I’ve often been bemused by my insistence on calling myself “Irish-American” when in fact I’m just as “Dutch-American” or “Norwegian-American” or “Scottish-American” as I am “Irish-American.” But it’s a clan that involves a great deal of clannishness, I guess.
How about you? Do you feel part of an ethnicity? In an age where 2 generations down from me my oh-so-proud Irish background is diluted to 1/16th does it matter one bit?
Or are there other tribes and clans which you claim as MORE your own than your ethnicity. Perhaps its religion or sexual orientation or maybe even your profession? When you claim your people, your tribe, your ‘peeps’ what comes first?