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Thread: "I am a New Yorker"

  1. #1
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    Default "I am a New Yorker"

    Uh yeah, so as WCM suggested, I guess I'll make a little offshoot thread instead of derailing "Bin Laden is DEAD". When is it appropriate to primarily label yourself a member of a city/country/etc/? Here's where the convo left off:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakebert View Post
    Also, not to derail the thread, but Brianna, you're incorrect as well. Whether or not someone considers themselves a member of a certain city is incredibly subjective. I grew up in rural, farmland Ohio and moved to Akron, one of the larger cities in the state, only when I was 18. That said, I consider myself an Akronite just as much as anyone whose lived here their whole lives because my life has been dramatically effected by this city and the culture in it. It's all about personal experience and making such a broad blanket claim based on your personal experience isn't really a right way to make such a claim.
    I think it's an often overlooked fallacy to suggest that you have to experience something to have an opinion on it, even just a few particular aspects of it that basic human experience allows you to relate to. I'm sorry, but anyone can see that there is an immense difference between growing up somewhere and moving there as an adult, and you're kind of understating that here. You have a good point when you say that there is a subjective aspect to this matter, but I would say the subjective part is how much you are personally affected by the culture of the city (like you said).However, the thing you're missing is, being affected by a city is not the same as being a person that has the right to identify primarily as member of that city. Sure, there's a little bit of gray area with this, but suppose someone lived in New York for a year and then claimed to be "a New Yorker" (in the non-literal sense of the phrase of course). It's just like....wtf?

    BTW, living in South Jersey, I know TONS of people who have gone to school for years in Philly and New York. I kinda don't really hear this "I am a (insert city resident suffix thing here)" mentality from them...like ever.
    Last edited by bighead384; 05-05-2011 at 12:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighead384 View Post
    I think it's an often overlooked fallacy to suggest that you have to experience something to have an opinion on it, even just a few particular aspects of it that basic human experience allows you to relate to. I'm sorry, but anyone can see that there is an immense difference between growing up somewhere and moving there as an adult, and you're kind of understating that here.
    This is kind of what I was going to say when I saw the title of the thread, but you did before I could. It's a common thing that happens with many major cities around the world too. I try to shrug it off, but eh.

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    I agree with this JohnnyNemesis character because he's hot and sexy and 1337. Does this mean I agree with bighead, too? Damn

    But seriously. I agree with both of you, as stated in the thread this is an off-shoot of.
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    I still say that it's too subjective to make broad blanket claims about, because everyone's situation is different, and that's where I disagree with you.

    Again, take my situation. Where I grew up, I never felt like I was a part of it or that it was a part of me, despite living there for 18 years. However, in my current city that I have only lived in for 4 years, I do feel that way. I feel more at home and at ease here, and more in line with the culture than I did in the country.

    I know people that have lived in this city their whole lives yet never actually experienced half of the home-grown culture, whereas I do everything I can to seek it out and experience and be a part of it. Hell, I know people that haven't been to local resturants that are defining features of the city despite living here longer than I have. I would argue that I can call myself an Akronite more than they can, despite their nativeness, because they aren't, well, a part of it.

    Making broad claims like you're doing completely negate situations like that. There are certainly people that choose to identify with a city when they shouldn't. But saying you have to grow up somewhere to identify with a city is just a really, really bold statement that ignores a lot.

    I agree that it takes more than a year to call yourself a member of a city, as it took me almost 3 years to even feel comfortable saying that. But there's a huge difference between doing that and doing what Sarah did that you're so critical of, or at least from what it seemed from what she wrote.
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    Here's what's funny - there's no definite answer as to when someone is actually from somewhere.

    For some, it's where they were born. For others, it where they've lived or currently live and how it relates to them. For still others, it's the name of country on their passport.

    People judge each other on idiocy like this all the time, all the fucking time. It's pretty stupid, since you'll always get people even within groups that identify themselves as being from somewhere who will identify others (think they're from the same place) as being outsiders. For being black, for being an immigrant, for not being well-spoken enough or just for not having gone to any of the restaurants that Akron is known for.

    It seems to me that for New York in particular that identity is conflicted. It has always been a place where people who weren't born there could grow to call it home, from nineteenth century Ellis Island's processing centre, all the way through until now. And now Ellis Island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

    All that changed on 9/11 when the city was wounded, and where for thirty-one years you used to be able to look and see the twin towers, there was suddenly nothing. People who live in a city that has been the victim of a serious attack don't live in it like other people do. They grow together and look inwards.

    It's something that you can see in movies, too. Watch Die Hard With a Vengeance, and then watch Spiderman 2 immediately after it. Not the same New York, my friend.

    Point being, it's impossible to pinpoint an exact line at which you "become" from somewhere. I've lived in Toronto six years, and I will never consider myself from here. But I'm even more ill-equipped to live in my home country, and don't consider myself to be legitimately from there either. Is it the in-between that defined me? Am I actually Taiwanese?

    What do you do?

    I guess you just write long responses and brood.
    Last edited by T-6005; 05-04-2011 at 02:51 PM.
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    May I ask, how is it when moving to another country? Same thing and same amount of time needing to be spent in the new country in order to use its demonym?
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    Quote Originally Posted by RageAndLov View Post
    May I ask, how is it when moving to another country? Same thing and same amount of time needing to be spent in the new country in order to use its demonym?
    I think it depends on which country you move to. I feel like in the Czech Republic, I could never get away with calling myself a Czech, no matter how long I lived here. The society is very closed and even Gypsies who were born and raised here don't get the "benefit" of being considered Czechs. But I feel like the US is a different situation, for example. I think if someone lives in the US for like 20 years or so, raises their kids there, works, learns English, etc... they can start to call themselves an American without a lot of weird looks. Maybe I'm wrong, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by jsmak84 View Post
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    I'm in a similar situation to Jakebert: i feel a hell of a lot closer to the city where i did my undergrad, even though i will have only lived there for four years, than to city where I spent most of my childhood and teen years.

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovellamas View Post
    I think it depends on which country you move to. I feel like in the Czech Republic, I could never get away with calling myself a Czech, no matter how long I lived here. The society is very closed and even Gypsies who were born and raised here don't get the "benefit" of being considered Czechs. But I feel like the US is a different situation, for example. I think if someone lives in the US for like 20 years or so, raises their kids there, works, learns English, etc... they can start to call themselves an American without a lot of weird looks. Maybe I'm wrong, though.
    Key difference here is that there is no American ethnicity, while most European countries (along with most of Asia and Africa) tend to be focused around a single one. So obviously, there would be more barriers to overcome in order to feel i guess, "accepted" as part of the community.
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    When it comes to the 9/11/New Yorker thing, I definitely get it. I'm not from NYC, but I live REALLY fucking close and can definitely say that my life and the lives of people I know have been impacted by what happened there, even though I don't live there. There is certainly a mood, a feeling, etc, and it most definitely spreads to the outlying suburbs as well....and it has not gone away. I don't consider myself a "New Yorker" because I don't spend every day there (but I most certainly consider a close friend of mine a New Yorker even though he grew up in Texas, Minnesota, and Arkansas because that's where he lives his life and what he considers "home").....but I feel I can relate to and to an extent "feel like" a "New Yorker" in this particular instance.

    i guess it's all about the dream

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    Hmm yeah so 1565 talks about New York although the time even though it wasn't too long ago she moved there. Either she's compensating for her lack of nativeness, or she's extremely well integrated, I mean New Yorkers do seem to love talking about New York. Quite a conundrum, no?

    I'm fairly certain half the board has had courses in identity politics or studies of some sort, so I'm surprised we haven't had a crazy boring discussion yet. Allow me to start then.

    The concept of idea, identity, or how you perceive yourself in a cultural context is rather complicated, naturally its not universal. It depends entirely on where the person is coming from, how they feel about where they came from, where they are now, and how they feel about where they are now, AND THEN it also depends on various 'external' factors of the place they are leaving and the place they are going to.

    Sounds complicated so let me offer a simple example. Say Person A comes from TOWN. In TOWN they don't feel like they particularly fit in and perhaps they have even more reservations about what is happening in TOWN. Person A moves to CITY where they don't feel a need to fit in, or perhaps there is a niche where they are plenty welcome. Person A would naturally start feeling more at home, or perhaps even identifying with CITY moreso than where they grew up.

    Doesn't Person A have the right to claim that they are a CITYzen as opposed to a TOWNer? Or perhaps Person A feels like they are part TOWN part CITY but for simplicity's sake claim to be only one.

    And naturally this is all personal and subjective, simply because Person A acted one way, doesn't mean that Person B,C,D,E, or F, will act that way at all.

    Or take Brianna, she moved from a country which has a fairly quick acceptance rate of immigrants compared to most places (unless you're from Latin America.), she then moved to the Czech republic. I know nothing about the Czech republic, or how good she speaks Czech, or what Czech people are like with foreigners, or what they're like with white foreigners from the west. But she also clearly stated she was uncertain when she would (if ever) consider herself to be Czech. This is also (presumably, keep in mind I don't know her very well) because she probably views and identifies herself more as an American.

    So yeah, you might find the identity choices someone makes to be silly, but who could possibly judge?

    Well okay, I judge. There is nothing I can't stand more than someone complaining about how much they hate the country they live in. Not the government, not other stuff, they just arbitrarily don't like the country they live in. (I've come across it a few times in Denmark.) I mean come fucking on, if you hate it so much you should be pretty happy that you live in the EU. It's ridiculously simple for an EU citizen to move internally to other member nations. (At least for Western EU citizens. )
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