I’ll never understand the pride people take in saying, “I was born and bred here” or the use of the same phrase to defend one’s perceived superiority or deservingness of housing, health care or other basic human rights.

I mean, what did you, yourself, actually do to influence where you were born or bred? Unless you were a particularly ambitious embryo, the answer is “nothing”. Sure, your parents might have made some kind of effort to select your place of birth. Maybe they strove to move to better housing in a neighbourhood with better services and schools. Maybe they’re even immigrants, like my dad, and they struggled long and hard to learn their fourth language in order to integrate into their adopted country. But you? You didn’t do anything. Why are you so proud of that? Think of the things you've accomplished in your life. Isn't it far more fitting and fulfilling to be proud of those?

And why the obsession with asserting the superiority of a single identity over the others? “I’m English first and then British.” Pro-tip: Most of the rest of the world considers both of those to be synonymous with “ex-colonialist imperialist arsehole” so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. ^.^

Here is a list of the geographically-linked identities that I consider myself able to lay claim to. I’m proud of some and not others.

  • American
  • British
  • European
  • Hawai’ian
  • Filipino
  • Olympian
  • Seattleite
  • Angeleno
  • San Diegan
  • Londoner
  • Brummie (this is a new one; still feels a little odd)

Today, I think I’m proudest of being European. I earned that identity and that passport, and I’m still very pissed off that some people want to take it away.

Today is also, weirdly, simultaneously:

  • the anniversary of Brexit, aka the Colossal Waste of Time and Money Foisted Upon Us by a Generation That Tore Down Decades of Painstakingly Won Goodwill with Our Neighbours and Won’t Live to Experience the Disastrous Consequences, Thanks a Lot, Dickheads.


  • International Women in Engineering Day

So, to close this post, here is a peaceful photo of a woman doing some engineering.

Scientist at work

From: [personal profile] soliano

People feel entitled over things they have not earned. What is worse are those people who have earned much simply because of the innate characteristics of where they were born and who they were born too and claim that they got everything on their own. They refuse to see advantages that they had instead of just being grateful that they have been blessed and passing it on.

On the other hand, the picture is quite nice.
ankaret: Picture of two Maine Coon cats (Holmies)

From: [personal profile] ankaret

A propos of identities, I was reading a piece the other day about how Filipinos have tiny amounts of Denisovan DNA and Europeans have tiny parts of Neanderthal DNA and thinking 'Nanila and her children have all three, how cool is that?'.
cmcmck: (Default)

From: [personal profile] cmcmck

Most people are way more complex.

If someone claims their ancestors came over with William the Bastard I delight in telling them that he was a part French Scandinavian married to a Belgian.

I'm of partly English decent with Scottish ancestry married to a Scottish guy with partly English ancestry.

In my own case: England, Scotland, Wales, Latvia, Italy and Brittany with a side order of adopted daughter of Belgium and then there's my Romani Great Grandfather so I guess that makes me a citizen of the world............

And don't get me going on Brexit! Well, you know.
cactus_rs: (aspie)

From: [personal profile] cactus_rs

So many thoughts but mostly what a lovely photo. More women in engineering!!
chickenfeet: (resistance)

From: [personal profile] chickenfeet

All good points says this English, British, Mancunian, Lancastrian, Northern, Canadian, European, Torontonian with odd Welsh connections and Australian kids married to an American, Californian, BayArean, Canadian, Torontonian of Ashkenazy Galician and Hungarian origins!
chickenfeet: (death)

From: [personal profile] chickenfeet

And on the subject of engineers of a female persuasion I was at Durham with the first woman to graduate in engineering from there who was also the first woman to be taken on by Unilever as an engineering management trainee. As such, and to get her C.Eng, she had to do time in a supervisory capacity. We both worked at the same plant in beautiful downtown Kirkby. The fitters and the AUEW refused to recognise her as a supervisor. This was 1979!
hollymath: (Default)

From: [personal profile] hollymath

All this reminds me I wanted to ask if I could interview (by email) you for my book. But if not, I'd be happy to take some of the stuff you've written on your blog, like "Pro-tip: Most of the rest of the world considers both of those to be synonymous with “ex-colonialist imperialist arsehole” so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose." :D
hollymath: (Default)

From: [personal profile] hollymath

Can you message me with the email address I should be using?
novel_machinist: (Bigby Drinking)

From: [personal profile] novel_machinist

"Unless you were a particularly ambitious embryo" I think that 'particularly ambitious embryo' would be the best name for a band, or maybe an artist... IDK, I loved it. It reminds me of one of my friends who was asked where she was from. She replied "California" No, before that, the person asked.

Her response: The Womb.

You share my curiosity. I think that it may have something to do with a lack of feeling of power or position so they must find one. Some people really adore boxes and are violent against those boxes being changed. See why many people consistently vote against their interests. I know that poor whites in the states tend to see themselves as "temporarily disenfranchised millionaires" so they vote accordingly.

Spoiler Alert: You're never gonna be a millionaire
novel_machinist: (Default)

From: [personal profile] novel_machinist

I wish I could claim I made that one up, but sadly, I didn't.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional

*chinhand* This kind of thing gets complicated once one is invested in Reconciliation here, actually. Because a significant amount of almost all First Nations culture is a deep attachment to specific geographical locales on a basis that more or less amounts to "born and bred here, even longer than anyone else", and discounting that as a meaningful feeling is actually a very colonialist attitude when applied here.

It's something I've been reflecting on this past year.
haggis: (Default)

From: [personal profile] haggis

It's also analogous to the difference between the Scottish Nationalist Party (who's main political goal is for Scotland to be independent from the UK and are politically centre-leftish) and the British Nationalist Party who are barely concealed Nazis who want to force everyone who is not white and British out of the country. They may even use similar language about loving their country but their goals are radically different and that matters more than language.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional

Yes and no.

The point isn't that those people you're encountering aren't being shit: they are.

The point is that a lot of the refutation of the shit involves literally poo-pooing and holding up as risible the fundamental idea that this connection means anything, inherently. And that gets you into troubled waters.

Because like: so is literally the only reason that respecting their cultural connection to the land and occupancy because we fucked them over? Like the concept itself/etc is irrelevant and even stupid, but because they have suffered we mark it out of bounds and say "yes well let them have it"? That is, um. Pretty patronizing?

Do we start demanding it be based on community? I'm pretty sure that there are communities in England and Wales and so on that are at least as old in terms of their occupancy of a certain geographic location and ability to trace lineage as, say, the Métis, or as several nations that were forced to move significant distances in the 1700 and 1800s?

And you just sort of keep going.

It's easy - ironically ESPECIALLY for someone working within a context of wider European and North American culture and its concepts of movement and individuality and so on - to turn to "this idea of 'born and bred' here is stupid, period, and has no merit at its base" as a way of dealing with the part that's shitty?

But for me as engaging with that are of Reconciliation, it doesn't work anymore. The thing is, what that kind of person is doing is STILL shitty, even on their own terms . . . because they're not dealing with and engaging with all of the truths that claiming "born and bred here" actually mean.

Which in the case of someone (probably white) saying it in Britain is a legacy of colonization and imperalism and various cultural genocides and deliberate undercutting of other nations' abilities to reach the same position of quality of life as is available etc etc etc. (And in the case of settler culture in Canada is EVEN WAY MORE LOADED.) Which in terms of moral imperatives does not actually tend to put one in the position of being racist and oppressive of more recent arrivals, you know?

happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)

From: [personal profile] happydork

Thanks for this -- it's a really important point I hadn't thought about at all.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional

Until the last year or so I hadn't either, and it's one that I'm still working ambivalently through because of ways in which it does actually clash with personal conceptions and .. .thingy squirrel, words?

But I've definitely come to a place where it's something I have to keep in MIND and keep in mind that it has real meaningful implications to how I engage with the idea of connection to place, connection to legacy/history/thingie. (Sorry am super tired and it's really hot in my house right now, so my brain is kind of melty.)
kotturinn: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kotturinn

It's hard. Sometimes it's a bit of an I/we stuck it out when everyone else left/deserted. I suspect that's less common now, but in certain areas it was a kind of pride of place. But yes, increasingly now often comes with a large sense of entitlement/demand/whatever. Not making a good first of this. I dunno, says the English (Yorkshire, London, Sussex at very least), Polish, traces of Irish and Spanish - aka European Mongrel - Londoner by birth, Kentish by upbringing, now living in Cambridgeshire.
nicki: (Default)

From: [personal profile] nicki

Where I work we have a lot of people who were born in a nearby town and never really left. There is one highschool. All initial conversations between people from that town who don't know eachother are the same. I can almost recite that dialogue myself at this point. And it's weird.

-Irish-Norman-Bretton-Franco-Germanic-American Military Brat who has lived in a bunch of US places and Europe as well.
liseuse: (Lancastrian)

From: [personal profile] liseuse

I feel vaguely proud of being from Yorkshire - but that's because of the history of Yorkshire and the shit that it has gone through, and because it's tied up in a sense of being from The North and that being important. The relation of that to being from England is formed by a sense of the past and current injustices served on the regions by centralisation and The South, but doesn't have any impact on me being in any way proud to be British. My (great)grandparents all moved here to build better lives, but all that means is that here was less shit than there.

I would love to feel European but I never have. I desperately want to, and I want to stay in Europe as a political identity and I am angry as fuck that that is being torn away from me, but it never felt like it was presented as an option somehow.
pbristow: (DW: "I'm a reasonable man")

From: [personal profile] pbristow

When I "take pride" in being a descendant of those who came here with Willy da Conk, it's with a large dollop of cheekwards displacement of the tongue. If anyone stood before me and *seriously* boasted that "my ancestors came over with William the Bastard!", my response would be something like this:

"What, *ALL* of them? Are you sure? 'Cos... Hang on, pass me that calculator... It's been 950 years, so that's, lemme think, 38 generations or more? ... That makes 274 billion individual great-to-the-36th-grandparents, not allowing for in-breeding and re-crossing (which there must have quite a bit of, 'cos there's never actually been that many people in the world all at once)... So let's allow for that by taking the square root. [TAP-TAP] That's still 524,000 individuals. [LOWERS CALCULATOR AND PONDERS] I don't think they actually sent enough boats over for that, did they...?" =:o}

"My ancestors were this"; "My ancestors were that"...? No, the ancestors you *know* about, and choose to acknowledge, were this or that. Almost none of us are pure-bred anything, except (in some cases) pompous arsehole. =:o}
Edited Date: 2017-06-23 10:26 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)

From: [personal profile] silveradept

Hooray for a woman in engineering. May you have a giant amount of coworkers.
shirou: (cloud)

From: [personal profile] shirou

There's pride in accomplishments, and there's pride in one's culture and traditions. Those are somewhat different uses of the word "pride," aren't they? Both suggest a deeply felt satisfaction, but only the former suggests that the feeling comes from being earned. I don't see anything wrong with having a strong, positive feeling attached to a geographic identity, and that's all being proud of the identity really means.

I'm Dutch-American, the first generation born in the US. I grew up speaking Dutch, practicing Dutch traditions, and traveling frequently back across the pond to see family. Because I lived much of my life in places where people don't speak my language and don't practice my traditions, my Dutch heritage and my sense of family are strongly linked. When I say I'm proud of my Dutch heritage, I don't mean that I earned anything by it; I mean that it's a deeply important part of my identity. That's a different use of "proud" than me saying I'm proud of having earned my PhD, but the emotion is no less real.

Of course, neither use of "proud" can justifiably be used to promote one's superiority or deny another's basic rights. On that I think we agree completely.
paw_prints: (Default)

From: [personal profile] paw_prints

Excellent points, and I agree. I see similar attitudes of entitlement all the time here, especially in the community I currently live. It grates.
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)

From: [personal profile] siliconshaman

Actually, I think that phrase started with the Saxons. See, when the Normans invaded they had their own ideas about farming, which worked in Normandy and not so well in England, similar but different climates.

The Saxons however had been working the land for generations, they knew how it worked. Even if they couldn't articulate it. So claiming you were 'born & bred' here was in effect, a claim to superior knowledge that basically, couldn't be explained and was seen as an innate connection to the land. In effect saying 'I belong here, you don't'.
Edited Date: 2017-06-24 09:58 am (UTC)
mysterysquid: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mysterysquid

Engineer on. :D \m/

I always liked Wilde's line "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious." overidentification with one thing is in my experience *always* so you can exclude others. We all have many identities, and that's a good thing.
ayebydan: (Default)

From: [personal profile] ayebydan

I agree 100% with what you said.

I do want to add a little more though. For us Scots we are caught between histories. Some are aware of what we gained under this Union but we are also aware of how those 'famed Scottish regiments' who went in first were sent in first to either win or die because no one would care. The Union was formed because the rich here tried to create and Empire, failed, lost all their money and got desperate. In return England tried to eradicate our culture, much like it did in the places it went on to colonise. The fact that we stopped them doing so despite their bans on so many things is a part of pride. So it is not as much where we were born but the past we have?

We are so welcoming of anyone who wants to come here. Come here, live here, ok you're Scottish. We'll fight anyone who says different and that includes border force. That fuels a fire to get our independence as others nations did.

So, we have that pride you don't like but we are not unwelcoming of anyone else? I would like to think that makes us unique.

askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)

From: [personal profile] askygoneonfire

A very popular opinion, in this quarter.

That is a lovely photo.

Your post also reminded me that last night I dreamt I was going through passport control and they insisted they replace my passport and issued me one without "EU" on it and I cried.