Re: Ethnic

Gerald Gleason (
Mon, 1 May 1995 20:00:39 GMT

Pamela N. Lindell writes
> Vincenzo Bitti ( wrote:
> : I want point the discussion on the double status of the term ethnic:
> : political and scientific. Maybe are different because today there
> : are group of people that declares itself "ethnic groups" , before we
> : named this group as "ethnic".
> I think this is an important point. By anthropological definition
> ethnicity is a comparative concept -- it arises in situations of culture
> contact when a group of people define themselves as different and
> unified in comparison to other groups. Therefore the concept of
> ethnicity is created by the groups in contact.

Of course, the way it is most often used in neither political nor
scientific. If someone asks about my ethnicity, I expect that they want
me to tell some part of my family story. The quickest way to answer such
a question (for me) is to list what parts of the Europe, etc. my
grandparents and their families came from, but I could also go into more
detail about specific ancestors, such as when and how they came to the
U.S., or where they lived at various times.

It is also important to realize that whatever story is told is unlikely to
be the whole story. Some distant cousins in my mothers family have been
tracing the family tree, so there is a lot of information available on
this part of the family. On the other hand, much of that branch goes
quite far back in Canada (approx. mid 1600's or so). How complete do you
think this story is or can be?

Stories are very important for human beings.

Gerry Gleason