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Sometimes it's hard being white - Page 2

post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by kama'aina mama View Post
I'm sorry but saying "Happy White-Man's Independence Day" is simply not racist. It is factual. On that fine July day in 1776 a bunch of wealthy, white, landowning men set themselves free from the English crown. They did not extend that freedom to women nor to people of color. It is disparaging to the memory of the people who lived under the oppression of the founders of this country and who fought for their own equality over the past two centuries to pretend otherwise.


Actually they set the colonies free. The point of the document was that the British crown was oppressing the colonies as a whole, it did not say our women are still yours, our slaves are still yours. The constitution on the other hand we can talk about the rights taken away (although not agreed upon by all who were part of writing it some were against slavery.) The decision to separate from England was not an act of racists. The primary writer of the independence document was Thomas Jefferson He was quoted as saying the institution an "abominable crime," a "moral depravity," a "hideous blot," and a "fatal stain" that deformed "what nature had bestowed on us of her fairest gifts."

I can understand the confusion, many American's don't really know the difference a copy of the document can be found here http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

And note the "all men are created equal" was written by Thomas Jefferson who like said above believed ALL MEN were created equal.

I will say however this document mentions the 'savages.' But that was the time period and ignorance, not that it makes it ok....
post #22 of 54
Kim B - I completely understand your sensibilities about your culture. I grew up white, upper middle class in an LA suburb, surrounded by the richness of other cultures, and a massive amalgamation of white consumerism slathered over the top. I feel much like you do.

So rather than engage in a philosophical debate (which is interesting, but I think not helpful to your particular situation) I will share with you the things that I love about white American heritage.

First, we did start out completely racist. Slavery - yes, it happened, and is totally horrific. Read Beloved. You can get that at a library and it's life-changing. Also read Cheyenne Autumn. Similar but about Native Americans.

So, why does my diatribe about the beauty of white America begin with references to literature about Slavery and Indian Relocation? Because that's part of our heritage too. Many people stop at the "white oppressor" label without realizing that LOTS of white people worked their asses off to free and empower the victims of white oppression. They were working from "the inside" so to speak. And today, so can you. That is your white heritage. Own it... it belongs to you.

It is a beautiful thing to be self-reflective, and white America is that and then some. It took years, and it's not done, but enormous gains have been made to eliminate slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation. Like I said, it's not fixed, but only with the work of white people who saw a problem with their society and set out to change it did that change occur. Black slaves did not free themselves. THOSE are the white people that are your heritage.

It is the definition of American to see a social problem and fix it to the best of your ability. A lot of white people saw the horrors of slavery and said "that's not right" and worked to abolish it. More white people marched in Selma and other places, staged sit-ins, etc, to make sure that desegregation occurred. Much of the power of those revolutionary movements was generated by their appeal across racial lines.

When you evaluate your white heritage, realize that it demonstrates the amazing progress of realizing that white people should NOT be superior to other races and ethnicities. Has that been the case for every white American? No, there was oppression and those people were wrong. But that's not YOUR heritage. You're in a multicultural family, for heaven's sake! America is one of the few countries where that IS acceptable. If you were married to a Nigerian man in Lagos, the situation would be SIGNIFICANTLY different.

Finally, I urge you to research class issues in America. The union movements during the progressive era have a lot for white Americans to be proud of, standing up the man and corporate manipulation, etc. The book you MUST READ as if your life depends on it is Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Just the fact that a book like that can be written is a testament to the greatness of America.

Hope this helps.
post #23 of 54
As a white woman, I have a platform of privilege to work from, to continue to change what I feel have been injustices in my race's history. As an American, I have a platform of privilege to work from, to continue to change what I feel have been injustices in my country's history. And as a human, I have a platform of privilege to work from, to continue to change the ongoing abuses of the plant and animal kingdoms of my planet.

As a white woman, I hear what you mean. Given that you've been realizing the atrocities of white people for your whole life, it may be tough to see, but you have to use what you've been given, for the highest good. Yk? Being white and being American can be positive, even if it feels terrible to be associated with such awful behaviors of our past. I agree with the pp's about keeping on with what you're doing now & try to focus on digging up the positive associations of being American & white. And to work toward changing what you feel should be different. That is history in the making, and to be associated with a positive change is a great thing to pass along to your kids.

(Sorry this is choppy, my sil talks REALLY LOUDLY on skype and its distracting! We live in a 1/1 apt so I'm trapped with the voice! lol) (tried to edit to make more sense and possibly made it worse, haha, so... hope you can get what I meant by all that!)
post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakotablue View Post
The decision to separate from England was not an act of racists.
Yes, it was.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MovnMama View Post
The book you MUST READ as if your life depends on it is Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Just the fact that a book like that can be written is a testament to the greatness of America.

Hope this helps.


Great book recommendation! Yes!
post #25 of 54
I know what you mean in my own way.

I am part Native American, and part Irish/Scottish.
I used to cling to my Native American- ness ( easier for me because I have black hair and some of the other native features) but I've recently began to delve into my Irish-settler (LOL That sounds weird but you know what I mean) side. It is very interesting how brave and strong the settlers were and how we are made of that same strong stock. I recommend a history channel show called "America The Story of Us"...We watched it and really liked it.


And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wouldnt be here if not for some of the things that happened, both good and bad. And I truly love my life. So I find some peace in that.
post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim B Lynn View Post
I love my husband and I love being in a multicultural family. But sometimes its hard being the white one. He has this beautiful Native American heritage...and I don't have anything to compare to it in that way.

I'm a modern American white girl. Let's face it, the culture there is pretty skimpy unless you count consumerism. My European roots are from too long ago and are too mixed to find any pride in them. And the western settler culture that is the closest thing I could have to a rich heritage is marred by the whole "white people were really cruel to Native Americans (and African Americans, and others I'm sure) not too long ago" thing.

Earlier this week a friend of a friend was asking what we were going to mark on all our sons applications (for school etc) as far as race goes. I don't know why, but the question offended me. He's from both of us. Why does he have to choose one or the other. But then again, when there's a financial incentive to "be" a certain race, I guess it'd be silly not to right?

Then there's the little comments that shouldn't bother me, but do sometimes. For the 4th of July, DH said to one of his cousins "Happy White-Man's Independence Day." It made me sad but I'm not sure why.

I guess I just feel like I have nothing to give my son from my side culturally speaking and it makes me sad. I know he'll grow up saying "I'm Navajo." Does that mean he has nothing of value from my genes?

I feel so culture-less.
Hey mama, well im english/irish, but 4 generations canadian. my baby is half jamaican and black maritime cherokee. My belief in raising my child is to teach him and allow him to experience ALL cultures. Its the society that states your child must be white or black or native or latin w/e, but our babies are the way of the future, mixed ethnicities and cultures creating new children that are multi-dimensional. Dont feel let down that you dont feel you have much cultural spunk to offer, you are able to teach him all cultures in the best way you can, that is AMERICAN!! ( and Canadian!, have to say)
post #27 of 54
Maybe I'm weird, but I just think of myself as American. Sure, my ethnic background is a hodgepodge of Western Europe, but my family has been here for too long for me to know any stories and for any cultural traditions to have lasted. Some of my mom's ancestors came over in the 1500's, and I think none of my other ancestors came any later than the 1700's. They all migrated to the Great Plains and started homesteads.

I know that I'm Scotch/Irish, German, and English in ancestry. Culturally, I'm mostly American and slightly Japanese (my adoptive father is Nisei from Hawaii). I've lived on the East Coast of the U.S. for 19 years, so the Japanese has worn off quite a bit.

My grandmother traced one of her ancestors all the way back to France around 1000 A.D. He emmigrated to Ireland. So, does that make us Irish or French? And why does it matter? We're here now. I didn't grow up eating schnitzel or listening to bagpipes. I don't feel the need to bring those things into my life just because my great great great great grandparents once lived there. KWIM?

And yeah, our nation did some scummy things in the past, and it's incredibly far from perfect now, but it's good enough that people from all over the world cross oceans and borders to try and get in.
post #28 of 54
i feel you but in a very diff way... i look very white but am mostly NA. my WHOLE family looks NA and i am the odd man out. i hate it because if i were to say i am proud of were i come from i get death looks... its hard.
post #29 of 54
The things that you do to interact with the other people in your society, are what make up a culture as well as the events that you experience together and the small and large rituals and traditions. So in whitebread American culture we have:
  1. Saturday morning cartoons
  2. School starting in September
  3. School getting out in June
  4. Summer vacation
  5. Sesame Street
  6. Getting your DL
  7. The Prom
  8. Wearing a white dress when you get married
  9. Saving the top tier of the wedding cake for your first anniversary
  10. Playing that game where you guess how big the pg momma's belly is with a piece of ribbon
  11. Singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles after you make a wish
  12. The Superbowl
  13. 9-11
  14. 4th of July

Whitebread America has thousands of these things, if you think about it.

Also as far as what to mark on the census/school forms etc - isn't there an option for 2 or more races? I've been marking that box my whole life. Problem solved.
post #30 of 54
I am not native to America but spent a good majority of my life here, and I honestly preferred associating with my native country's culture - which is much more accessible and uniform, because it is a smaller country. But now that it looks like our family will be here permanently I have been thinking about this as well. My husband is quite patriotic (although he is not white either, he identifies as Puerto Rican, but born in the US) so he's always going on about American culture. But what's interesting is that the "American" culture he grew up in, about 45 minutes away from where I grew up, was quite different. He grew up in a multiethnic neighborhood in the city; I grew up in a pretty affluent very-white, WASP-y town. Night and day. Now we live in a third sort of area, which isn't affluent but it's also pretty white, and it's in a totally different region (we lived in CT, now we live out in the Rockies).

Don't laugh, please? We went to Disneyworld recently and my favorite part of that is Epcot, the World Showcase. Some of the country exhibits there are slightly more involved than others, and granted they're all very superficial and "Disney" and yeah sure. BUT. They did have an American exhibit and that made me thoughtful. They had a colonial themed garden, themed dresses. We ate at the Liberty Inn Tavern at the MK (I think?) which was a relatively good reproduction of a real tavern (we went to a few on field trips back when I was a kid). That was pretty "American" to me and even before I read this thread it made me think about that sort of stuff. What American culture was like.

And yes, there was slavery, there was some crazy religious stuff, Native-land-stealing, there was the Civil War, etc. But there were also lots of other things.

We are going to be homeschooling and one reason (out of many!) for this choice is that I think it's super important to cover American culture *well*. My tentative plan is to break it down into the following categories, over time:

a) learn about the Natives who were here first, their various cultures and nations and such
b) split the country into different regions and concentrate on them one by one. their history, their culture, their contributions to the nation as a whole. even things like food, music, local stories. Maybe even take it state by state and research each state's history and offerings one at a time.
c) general american culture - American folklore - tall tales, stories like Rip Van Winkle, The Headless Horseman, others, children's novels - Little House Books, the Little Strawberry Girl, even the American Girls types of stories - novels by American writers about American themes - Scarlet Letter, Poe (he was American, right? ) Mark Twain, and other distinctly American authors, painters, poets, etc. - American architecture, some stuff about the "heydey" of America (I think of it as about 1900's or so).

It's easy to get disillusioned with American culture. But I think it is great, great, great, that there IS so much freedom here. Maybe not the same opportunities for everyone, and maybe not as much accessible culture as I'd like. Suburbia is kind of blah. Where I was from, you'd have castles and Roman ruins and museums and just STUFF everywhere. Here, not so much. But this is a big country and there is a lot to learn about it. And that's just without even going into the various "mixes" - Italian-American, Irish-American, German-American, Mexican-American etc. cultures.
post #31 of 54
[QUOTE=candycat;15606457]

c) general american culture - American folklore - tall tales, stories like Rip Van Winkle, The Headless Horseman, others, children's novels - Little House Books, the Little Strawberry Girl, even the American Girls types of stories - novels by American writers about American themes - Scarlet Letter, Poe (he was American, right? ) Mark Twain, and other distinctly American authors, painters, poets, etc. - American architecture, some stuff about the "heydey" of America (I think of it as about 1900's or so).

Yes, candycat, Poe was American. He was totally part of that Hawthorne, Thoreau, Whitman, Dickinson era of American literature, and that is SO great to focus on. Really cool stuff there. I mean, Whitman was "out" before ANYONE was out. How American to be totally gay and loving life in 1880! Come on!
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
What it is most definitely not is a void on the cultural map. Thinking so is basically white privilege defined.
FTR... when you are of the dominant culture that surrounds you and therefore feel that you have nothing really to offer your children in the way of culture and heritage that is "special", part of that is because they get it without it having to be given--because they're surrounded by it.

Yeah... I "get" that I HAVE culture: white Americana. But we live in an area of the US where that is the dominant culture and therefore, *I* don't have to hand that culture down to my children because they are surrounded by it. There's nothing special or different about it because it's everywhere.

I'm not sure how that's white privilege...? If we were in a Latin American country and I was Hispanic and felt this way, would it be Hispanic privilege defined? If I were African American living in a predominantly African American community (which, btw, is where I was raised--as a screamingly obvious minority), would it be AA privilege defined?
post #33 of 54
For a person of European ancestry to view themselves as historically on par with every other person of European origin would do a great disservice to the experiences of immigrants in the great wave of continental mass migration that developed in the mid 19th century and continued on well into the decades preceding the second World War. As an individual of Colonial American heritage (the earliest members of my family arrived in 1701) if one were to use hereditary methods to classify me as one thing or another then I would be largely of English/Scottish origin; this is the case for most of us who have ancestry that dates from this period. This means that my ancestors, despite their individual relative levels of property and prosperity experienced more of the social benefits throughout the longest portion of the American timeline. Those with Central European, Eastern European, Eurasian, Irish and Mediterranean family origins would come from groups of Europeans who spent at least a portion of their immigrant and early native born periods marginalized by Anglo dominated protestant culture. In short, not all white people were created equal in the eyes of many Americans.
American Culture (as expressed by White individuals) can best be expressed and celebrated by their regional variations. The rub here is that these regional cultures are not the domain of White's only, so in this sense if one looks for something that defines being both White and American, one must understand that there is no expression of being White and American that doesn't belong equally to the African and Latin peoples of the region; this separates America from being an exact copy of England (not to say that England is racially or culturally uniform). A similar effect is seen in Canada with the presence of the French influence.
Tribal Cultures will always have a personal edge in remaining in contact with their ancestry due to the various social constructs that are in place to transmit information between generations. Even so, most Native American and First Nations peoples are so beleaguered by centuries of warfare and oppression that this is a daunting task.
A final thought in closing; a persistent tendency to identify personally with ethnicity is a facet that is fairly new amongst Europeans and largely informed by the politics of the Enlightenment Era and the rise of Nation/States. In the end, humans are best defined by their families; which is the elementary unit of historical record. Therein lies anyone's identity, for good or for ill.
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post
I'm not sure how that's white privilege...? If we were in a Latin American country and I was Hispanic and felt this way, would it be Hispanic privilege defined? If I were African American living in a predominantly African American community (which, btw, is where I was raised--as a screamingly obvious minority), would it be AA privilege defined?
The vestiges of the legacy of segregation and exclusion from the dominant culture are hardly comparable ... ethnic enclaves in an actively racist America are not places of privilege. Whatever advantage there may be to membership in the given ethnic community have nothing to do with a parallel to white privilege. Nor does the greater ability to opt into and out of an ethnic enclave. Nor does the fact that even within that ethnic enclave you -- regardless of your own race -- will have a pretty extensive knowledge of the broader dominant culture, unlike what little the broader American culture is likely to know of your community. In short: no to the second. In general in America black is not to white as white is to black. For the most part you can't switch out one for the other in a sentence and come up with the same experience.

However, if -- for example -- when I was living in a 90% majority Muslim country, where Islamic traditions are thoroughly mundanely enshrined in very simply the way the community functions and the assumptions people make about one another, in secular life and the law, I had sat down and written about how -- unlike all of the minority groups struggling for their traditions, recognition, and even survival outright -- I just felt so culture-less, then yes, that would have been a display of dominant culture privilege.

Privilege isn't bound to American racial politics. It just happens that, when the subject is specifically white American culture, it kind of is. But that certainly doesn't mean that's the only way in the universe that privilege can roll. Hell, that's not the only way it rolls in America ... I mean, male privilege anyone? These aren't linear things. They can overlap and even sometimes appear to contradict and still hold true.
post #35 of 54
Personally, I think OP's husband's comment was - at the very least - rude and thoughtless in that it denigrated his wife's culture as well as part of his childrens'.

I also, personally, am saddened that OP feels as though her roots are of no importance - and that a fair bit of feedback she's received has only reinforced the negative aspects.

Every nation and culture has negatives associated with it. That does not negate the positives.

OP... I'd urge you to do some research into your roots, both here and in Europe. You can get a wealth of information on the 'Net and use it to instill some pride in yourself and your children for what your side of the family has to pass along. As well as develop some traditions of your own to reflect your own cultural pride. It is NOTHING to be ashamed of.
post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
I just find it sad when I hear people who don't have to do anything special to know and pass on their own histories and traditions speaking as though not needing to work at it means it's not there, and that there is something enviable about people who have to actively fight to maintain something that isn't so dominant.
You know, I love your posts and your perspective, but I found this a bit hurtful. The OP has shared how being part of the dominant culture makes her feel personally, and what you seem to be saying is that her feelings are invalid, that she should just be happy with what she has. Am I misunderstanding?

I get what you are saying. However, I also understand where the OP is coming from. I don't have this issue in my family (the bigger battle is helping my husband see the good in his culture of origin), but I do run into it with good friends who have immigrated to the US. For example, I have a wonderful friend who moved to the US from Vietnam as an adult. She shares stories and traditions and recipes with me all the time, and they are beautiful and new (to me ), and interesting. In return, I...well, there's the problem. The recipes I have to share with her, the stories, the traditions are all basically familiar to her. And yes, she appreciates them, but I never get the sense that they've filled her with the sense of wonder that I've felt when she shares something new with me. As someone who likes to give at least as much as she receives in a relationship, that inequity can be uncomfortable.
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by devout View Post
For a person of European ancestry to view themselves as historically on par with every other person of European origin would do a great disservice to the experiences of immigrants in the great wave of continental mass migration that developed in the mid 19th century and continued on well into the decades preceding the second World War. As an individual of Colonial American heritage (the earliest members of my family arrived in 1701) if one were to use hereditary methods to classify me as one thing or another then I would be largely of English/Scottish origin; this is the case for most of us who have ancestry that dates from this period. This means that my ancestors, despite their individual relative levels of property and prosperity experienced more of the social benefits throughout the longest portion of the American timeline. Those with Central European, Eastern European, Eurasian, Irish and Mediterranean family origins would come from groups of Europeans who spent at least a portion of their immigrant and early native born periods marginalized by Anglo dominated protestant culture. In short, not all white people were created equal in the eyes of many Americans.
American Culture (as expressed by White individuals) can best be expressed and celebrated by their regional variations. The rub here is that these regional cultures are not the domain of White's only, so in this sense if one looks for something that defines being both White and American, one must understand that there is no expression of being White and American that doesn't belong equally to the African and Latin peoples of the region; this separates America from being an exact copy of England (not to say that England is racially or culturally uniform). A similar effect is seen in Canada with the presence of the French influence.
Tribal Cultures will always have a personal edge in remaining in contact with their ancestry due to the various social constructs that are in place to transmit information between generations. Even so, most Native American and First Nations peoples are so beleaguered by centuries of warfare and oppression that this is a daunting task.
A final thought in closing; a persistent tendency to identify personally with ethnicity is a facet that is fairly new amongst Europeans and largely informed by the politics of the Enlightenment Era and the rise of Nation/States. In the end, humans are best defined by their families; which is the elementary unit of historical record. Therein lies anyone's identity, for good or for ill.

I've gotta say, I think this is a great post. Ditto on the family=id thing. I think in many cases using ethnicity as an identifyer is very artificial (cough*IrishAmerican*cough). Its also interesting to research local history and find your family's place in the story. My family is from San Francisco and I have learned loads about SF just by researching my family...its so freaking cool.
post #38 of 54
So many people here are talking about American culture as if it's this static thing. It's not, we do have cultural mainstays here, but region to region here there are cultural differences, that in some ways, are unique to each other as cultural differences between two different countries.

My ethnic background is Irish (mother) and Hungarian (father). My father is first generation American, he grew up only speaking English, but eating Hungarian dishes and so did I. My mother's family has been here in this country for who knows how long, but she was raised in a community where the Irish wed other Irish and the community stayed close. While I was raised protestant, her family is very much Irish Catholic in the way we acknowledge and celebrate/mourn births, deaths, and weddings. I am proud of my heritage, and I'm not embarrassed to say it. I definitely have my father's facial structure, but not his darker skin color. I got that from my mother and somewhere along the way, they both gave me the genes for red hair. That alone makes me part of a tiny percentage of people around the world and I think that's neat. I can acknowledge the privilege I have from being white, and the mistakes and horrors committed by white Americans along the way, while still acknowledging that it's ok to be proud of who I am and the ancestory that went into creating that.

My husband is also white, but was born and raised in Alaska, in a extended community of family and friends who were white, Jewish, and Native Alaskan, and he and his family celebrates traditions from each of those groups. He isn't *just* white, and really, neither are any of us, we are all unique and made of up where we were raised, how we were raised, the communities we were raised in, etc.

I remember when I was in college, and I lived with a one year exchange student from Slovenia, and was good friends with other students from the Czech Republic and Bangladesh. They all had these very clear stereotypes of Americans, none of which were remotely favorable, and honestly, a lot of them were correct. But during an extended break, they went on a tour of the entire lower 48 by car. When they got back, they were amazed at the physical and cultural differences of the country and its people from place to place.

Also, to the PP, I'm guessing the reason your friend from Vietnam was aware of so many American traditions, isn't because their isn't anything interesting or unique about American culture, but because American culture is so widespread throughout the world, both the mundane, the interesting, and the horrifying.
post #39 of 54
You know, I'm white, but:

(1) I've been to the area in Holland where my Pilgrim ancestor lived.
(2) I've held the calvary saber my great, great-grandfather carried when fighting for the Union in the Civil War.
(3) I've been to the family graveyard behind the first family homestead (built in1805).
(4) I've climbed the lighthouse that my many-times grandmother tended as the first female lighthouse keeper on the Great Lakes.
(5) I own the $5 gold buffalo head piece that was my grandmother's first week's wages at her first job at age 15.
(6) I know how to make the family's "secret recipe" cookies, passed down from my great, great grandmother.
(7) I can tell you family stories -- about how my grandmother bought her first car and what she named it, about Pansy, the horse on the farm that hated to work and how she embarrassed my great, great-uncle, about my grandfather hocking the only thing of value he had during the depression (his dead mother's watch, now sitting in my safety deposit box), finding a poker game and winning enough money that he could eat for the rest of the winter and redeem the watch too.

This is my heritage and it is as rich and as powerful as anyone else's no matter what their color or cultural background.

I suggest the OP interact with her family elders, find out their stories, and the stories they remember of their parents and grandparents and pass those stories down. Researching your genealogy can also be extremely powerful and interesting.
post #40 of 54
OP, your dh is very familiar with American culture, of course, but my dp is from cameroon and I have enjoyed sharing American culture with him so much. My parents both studied anthropology, and they raised us to "see" culture where most people just see "normal". We have so many traditions- saturday morning cartoons, Cinderella and Snow White, vacations at national landmarks, rootbeer floats and ice cream cones, county fairs, pancake breakfast, bad boys and muscle cars, Uncle Sam pointing at you from a sign, Paul Revere, Cat in the Hat, ET, M and M's, Happy Birthday To You. The list goes on and on. There are so many cool american themes that show up over and over in tv and books, music and movies- like a cricket that chirps when there's an uncomfortable silence. Who knows where that came from, but its very american. Only an American knows what it means when you say, "Ehhhhy!" like the Fonz and bop something with your fist. That's culture: shared food, music, art, drama, language, symbols, religion. It's not defined by a political history- that mostly consists of a few people in power doing stuff to keep their power at a certain moment in time. Not that culture isn't hugely influenced by politics, its just a whole different subject.

Everyone has a family history to share, it's not as if you have to trace your roots back to the old country to find a history that counts as culture. Family stories are very important, they're how kids place themselves in the scheme of things. My family is a typical white family, somewhere way back we had a doctor that emigrated from Scotland. Who knows? But in there somewhere is my family's interesting religious background- my great grandmother was a Rosicrucian, my grandmother an agnostic, and my mother is a Catholic. There's the story of how my great great grandmother was abandoned by her husband and raised her six kids by running a boarding house. My mother was the first woman to enter the Masters in Anthropology program at the University of Montana. None of this is ground shaking, but it's us- it's stories that illustrate to my kids that they're made of something tough, smart, and unique. To me, this is the blood and bones of handing down culture to my kids.
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