The other day I was working at my desk when I heard another lawyer exclaim into the phone “Hey! Youre a ginzo! Like me!” I had never heard the term before, but I understood it from context. The other attorney in my office was saying “You’re one of us!”
This always seems weird to me. Perhaps that’s because I’m a mixture of Romanian, Ukrainian, and possibly Polish blood by way of (English-speaking) Canada. I don’t identify as part of any of those groups. Nor do I feel particularly white (though that is a much harder criterion to break away from) or straight or Mormon or agnostic. I barely feel lawyer.
And yet our world is made up of groups. Be it Italians and Irish and Jews and Catholics or jocks and brains and bunouts, it seems to be all about groupness.
I guess I do identify with some groups–with cyclists and musicians. I would venture to say there’s a difference there (and perhaps I would have to include jocks, brains, and burnouts) because as distinct from nationalism or racialism, being a cyclist (or a brain) has to do not with where you came from but with what you do.
Perhaps because growing up, I saw nationalism as a bad thing rather than a good one…I read the stories of WWI and WWII, and watched Viet Nam unfold, and of course I’ve been a witness to the continuous crises in the Middle East. I just don’t get it. I’ve never seen my fate as being tied with that of any “national” group.
Perhaps if my parents had raised me in an area that lacked national diversity, it might have made a difference, but I grew up with Scandinavians, Germans, Italians, Poles, Serbs, Jews, Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists…
I really don’t have much more to say about that, I guess. I’s just an interesting thing that I was thinking about today. Am I weird because I don’t get nationalism?