This weekend, I met a student from a local university who is Dutch, as in, actually from the Netherlands. When I mentioned that my family was also Dutch, he ended up on his own rant about how everyone around here says, "Oh yeah, I'm Dutch, too!" when really only their great-grandfather or whoever came over from the Netherlands. He says, "No, I'm actually Dutch - as I was born there." And he has a legitimate point. But I have a counter point.
The USA, in comparison to other countries, is a relatively young country. While there are people here who have been here since 'the beginning' and far before that, many people from our country immigrated here in the last two centuries. And I can imagine that, for example, when my grandfather came to the United States from the Netherlands, most people identified with other groups of their nationalities, because they spoke the same language, had a similar heritage, etc. So, "I'm Dutch" or "I'm Irish", meant something like what this student meant: I was actually born there.
And now, years later, when all their kids and grandkids speak English and have good American names like Robert and Sally, we still keep up that tradition of "I'm half Dutch, a quarter French, and a quarter Irish".
And I can imagine that somewhere down the line, when we all intermarry and have kids who are 15% this and 5% that plus a dozen other percentages, and then they have kids and they have kids and the percentages get smaller and smaller, that we'll stop identifying with our mother countries, because there's just too many.
So, I would like to say to this student: let us be. We think it's unspeakably cool that you're from the Netherlands. (Personally, I'm a
Love and Delft,
P.S. For the record, this student was not being unpleasant about the whole thing. I think it's just something he gets a lot and didn't really understand.