The German-American Problem

Brittney has this awesome map up over at Nashville is Talking that colors the country in by majority ethnicity by county.  If we Germans could get along with each other long enough to organize something more complicated than a barn raising, the rest of you would be in trouble, crushed under the weight of all our saurkraut.

In the comments there’s the requisite grouching about what "African-American" ancestry means, but I think if one looks at who in the U.S. is claiming "American" ancestry and where they live, looking at who in the U.S. is claiming African and American ancestry is pretty spot on and hilarious.

Bless Brittney’s heart, too, I think she was trying to kindly make that point with a couple of other posts she highlighted yesterday–one on how being African-American is indeed different from being African and the other on how there are people of African descent in Mexico as well–but even though the posts were all very close together, since she did not take folks by the hand and point them from point A to B to C, I guess they did not get it.

Anyway, I thought, since we’re clearly taking over the United States anyway, I would help you all ease into German American culture.  We’ll start small.  Have a tasty dessert with lunch.  Hell, maybe have it for lunch.  Practice frowning, but with a twinkle in your eye, that says, "I am both pissed off and amused."  Refrain from touching anyone unnecessarily.  Grunt.

Once you get those down, we’ll work on the more complicated question of "Should you convert to Lutheranism?"  It’s not required, but it makes things easier.  Plus, it raises your chances of getting to sleep with Swedes.  On the other hand, you then can’t look down your nose at beer-drinkers.  It’s a tough decision.

14 thoughts on “The German-American Problem

  1. I dispute the map.First, is "American" really an ethnicity? Was "mixed" not a viable answer?Second, it asks people what the THINK their ancestry is, their answer may not reflect their actual heritage. I have Kraut relatives, yet I don’t consider myself German. Or look at Scooter Gate’s documentary from last year. His DNA testing of the celebrities disabused them of their fantasies of being descended from Zulu royalty. Or at least one of them was disabused of that notion.Besides, you never know when there’s a Scotsman in the woodpile.

  2. Fighting just for the sake of fighting is covered in Lesson 3 of "How to be a German-American." Don’t get ahead of the rest of the class, Mr. Smartypants.

  3. I thought lesson 1 was "scrub down your front porch, steps, and sidewalk every week." My favorite St. Louis variation on fighting for the sake of fighting is the one where you come out of the house and harangue anyone who parks in front of your house because that spot is reserved for your other car when you get one, plus if they park there they will step on the sidewalk you just cleaned.In St. Louis we were taught to be very grateful to German-Americans, though, because they kept us in the Union.

  4. Don’t be getting all full of yourself there, missy. I have a feeling they lumped all Eastern Europeans under ‘German’ because what, no Polish? Finland gets a color and Poland does not? I demand a recount! I also find it amusing that Puerto Rico is all ‘Puerto Rican’ hued.

  5. I am also German, and find it comes in handy when telling people that I’d like to become a connoisseur of beer. When they look at me funny, I just tell them I’m German and it should be expected of me.

  6. Well, in this country most Slavs settled in cities, and although they dominate certain neighborhoods, they tend not to be the largest ethnic group in any given city, and most cities (NYC comes to mind as an exception) are administratively organized as a single county, and population by county is the basis of that map. You’ll notice that Luzerne County, PA, is majority Polish (listed under "Other"), but Manhattan (New York County, NY), where lots of Poles live, is majority Dominican, and Chicago (Cook County, IL), where lots of Poles live, is majority African-American.So I’m thinking they weren’t lumping all Eastern Europeans in with Germans, who are Central Europeans, anyway. Germans have been the largest ethnic group in this country since the later 19th century, anyway.

  7. Yeah,clearly this is only giving you one kind of picture. I mean, Chicago has the second largest Polish population in a city (there are just under 1.7 million Poles in Warsaw and 1.5 million self-identified Poles in Chicago). And how many of those counties, especially as you head west, that are German-American have only a thousand people in them?Still, we’ve got land… and beer… and grouchiness. You can’t discount those things!

  8. I’d love to see a zip code based map that asked the same questions. You’d see all the little ethnic neighborhoods that way.

  9. I would throw in the German anger. Italians get all emotional and such when they get mad. Germans just let it brood, like a black soup slowly swirling until it emanates itself like a stubborn grunt, or land grab for the Sudetenland.PS: Lutherans rock.

  10. Ahhh. Germans and sportfighting. I finally had to put my MIL in the back seat to prevent her and her son from constantly fighting over the best route from point A to point B. It didn’t really prevent any fighting, but at least it was less iratating than listening to them while I was stuck in the back seat.

  11. Bob K was grouching about African-American ancestry. That seems a bit mixed up to me. Doesn’t African-American mean an American with African ancestry?

  12. Aren’t we ALL American? There was no one here (besides American Indians) before the Germans, Italians, Poles, etc. arrived. The American category frustrates me. We are Americans because we were born and live in American. But every American has a corresponding ethnicity; so why would that category be necessary?

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