Monday, March 17, 2008

What I don't understand about ethnic conflict

If I really wanted to do my Irish heritage justice today, I guess I could have put on something orange and punched a Catholic, but I'll pass like I do every year. Ethnic conflict is dumb and pointless.

As is St. Patrick's day.

Besides, I prefer the term "Ulster Scot" to "Northern Irish."

But I don't really understand this ethnic conflict stuff. Like how my sister's boyfriend's family has decided that they don't like us because they've decided that they're Jewish and we're German.

Now, aside from the obvious fact that none of us were alive during the war, and that no ethnic group is entirely homogenous, we have to consider a couple other things. I will not be the one to claim that they're not Jewish, but I do know that they don't observe any Jewish customs or celebrate Jewish holidays, and that the only Jewish person in their family married into it and has no descendants. People can call themselves whatever they want, I guess, but I don't know, they seem kind of more like Russians to me. After all, they came from Russia, speak Russian, eat cabbage and have filled their living room full of metruska dolls.

And are we Germans? Sure, if you go back far enough on my mother's side there were people who spoke German. They didn't set foot in Germany for the first time until they left Europe in the late 1800s. By the time of the War they were fairly well established in North America and had been for some time.

But if you go back and look at where they came from originally, it was further east, somewhere along the Ukranian/Moldovan border, so you might want to call them Ukranian or Moldovan, not German.

But wait! Have a look at your history book and you'll find that in the 1800s neither modern day Ukraine nor Moldova were their own countries. Who was in control of that territory? Well, oddly enough, Russia. So I guess you could call them Russian.

And the other funny thing? Last time I checked, we're all human.