Monday, December 11, 2006

What’s in a heritage?

Like many Americans I’m a mutt. Maybe not as full-blown as some, but basically some years ago, in-between killing each other, the English, Scottish, Irish, Scotch-Irish, and a little French, decided to breed, and all I got out of it was a generic last name.

Or so I thought.

I used to take more pride in my heritage. I used to identify proudly with my Scottish heritage. My mother’s maiden name is McCarter and I figured that being half Scottish was something to be proud of.

Then an odd thing happened. My uncle and a distant cousin of mine went to a McCarter family reunion in Wales. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why a Scottish family reunion was taking place in Wales. When they got back they had an interesting story.

Looks like I’m not really as Scottish as I thought, in fact I’m Welsh. Seems like long ago a Mr. McCarter decided to move from Scotland to Wales and begin diluting his blood with Welsh women. Generations later and the majority of the McCarters that I’m related to are living in Wales, therefore making me about half Welsh.

I know nothing about being Welsh. I don’t know any Welsh drinking songs and I can’t name any Welsh mythical heroes.

Why does it really matter you say? You’re still a foockin anglo, you idiot, as white as they come. When the sun is hot, do you not burn? When the dance music comes on does your step not falter?

But what’s the fun in being just…white. I mean besides the fact of knowing that my ancestors at one point subjugated about 3/4's of the world’s people.

Not much fun I’ve concluded, which is why I’ve recently started taking heritage with a grain of salt. Sure, be proud of past deeds that your ancestors and family have accomplished, but for the love of god don’t get too caught up in it.

I mean, for 24 years I thought I was Scottish.

What if this had been 800 years ago and I had proudly marched onto the fields under a Scottish banner to fight the English and their Welsh allies, only to find out I was Welsh? That would have been a bummer.


The Wanderer said...

You need some Welsh info... I could totally help you out (and thats a little sad) but anyway, that's very cool.

Across The River said...

Wanderer, sometime I'll have to have you fill me in.