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CELTIC-L  December 1993

CELTIC-L December 1993

Subject:

Re: Who We Are

From:

Elisabeth Eilir Rowan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Thu, 23 Dec 1993 15:40:06 EST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

I do not use "Celticisms," due to simple fact that I have not yet
maintained the patience to study the languages as I would like.
However, it seems to me, at least in the context of this list,
that they are used not to separate from or lord themselves above
others, but rather as a unifying sort of thing; groups often have
language based on their focus.  These say:  "I'm proud of my Celtic
heritage, or "I'm interested in this culture" or even "Hello to you
who share this love for that which is Celtic".  While I understand
why someone may be offended, I feel that to restrain ourselves totally
would defeat the whole purpose of a group like this, as well as the other
avenues of enculturation we undergo throughout our lives, whether instilled
from birth, from association, or other experience.  While I may be an
American, the fact that nearly all of my ancestors came from the British
Isles is naturally going to affect my interests and instill certain desires
to explore that heritage.  As the majority of those roots are Celtic, I
certainly feel an affinity for that culture regardless of whatever historical
and political reasons for my being born in Kentucky.  I see no reason
to complain against those who show cultural leanings for certain groups
if there is respect and dignity in what they do, without intent to degrade.
 
I should also point out that it is not a one-way street.  Many other cultures
are fascinated by American popular culture.  Yet should they be labelled
as posers who really intend to degrade Americans because they mimic our
dress and speech?  Is a language only valid if spoken by those genetically
or ethnically in charge of it?  Or even politically, since many of the
people of this list have just as much right ethnically to use an Irish
word as someone from Dublin?  Considering the great harm done through
the centuries towards making Celtic languages to mere curiosities (and
thank goodness that has not happened), I'm glad that so many help keep
the flames alive, through their studies.
 
One last example of how misunderstandings of intent can lead to offense,
and I will cease my ramblings:  There is a new member of our church who
apparently is from Wales, who loves to use Welsh phrases in the bulletin,
etc. whenever possible.  A friend of mine, also a member of the church,
has a distinctive Welsh name (one with lots of consonants, and not one
that you would generally find in the dictionaries).  While his family
has been in America since right before the Civil War, they have kept
pretty much to themselves, and kept their names and beliefs.  The
Welshman came up and repeatedly asked my friend about his name (was it
his REAL name?  Could he pronounce it?  My friend gave the version he
gives most of his friends, knowing they will not understand it otherwise.
The man came in for the kill.  Just as the man was about to demonstrate the
pronunciation of the Welsh language, my friend said "But it's really--"
and said it right.  Pronounced correctly.  Something this man could not
believe a mere American to be capable of.  The point is, perhaps we should
focus on the actual intent of others' actions, and not those which we
read into them.  Which means we must look at the individual, not the
stereotypes.
 
 
                                          Just my two <American> cents' worth,
 
                                                  Elisabeth Eilir Rowan
                                                  [log in to unmask]

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