Bloody Republicans


I guess today we all get to learn about “replacement theory”, which isn’t a legitimate theory but more a reactionary conspiracy theory held by kooks. You know, big name, rich kooks like Tucker Carlson.

The “great replacement” theory has been a favorite of Carlson’s for some time now. This particular paranoid hypothesis is deeply rooted in neo-Nazi and other white nationalist circles. A cabal of rich Jewish people, the theory holds, has conspired to “replace” white Christian Americans with other races and ethnic groups in order to gain political and social control. Carlson doesn’t actually say “Jews,” and generally blames the sinister plan on Democrats, socialists or unspecified “elites,” but otherwise has kept the conspiracy theory intact. (Antisemitism remains the mix by singling out individual Jewish people especially Soros, as the alleged ringleaders.) It’s not like Carlson only invokes this narrative on occasion. As Media Matters researcher Nikki McCann Ramirez has documented, Carlson is obsessed with this idea that the people he calls “legacy Americans” — a not-so-veiled euphemism for white Christians of European ancestry — are under siege from shadowy forces flying the banner of diversity. He uses anodyne terms like “demographic change” to make the point, but has gotten bolder more recently, using the word “replacement” to make it even clearer that he’s borrowing his ideas from the white-supremacist fringe.

According to a New York Times analysis, in fact, Carlson has invoked the “great replacement” theory in over 400 episodes of his show, one of the most popular cable news shows in the country.

We have to remember, though, that it’s not just Carlson — getting him canceled wouldn’t change the fact that he has a huge audience of gullible Average Americans who all lean racist. He ought to be fired, of course, but we’ve got to somehow reach those people whose brains he has tainted. Before they kill us.

Rolling Stone also explains what “replacement” means in the minds of racists.

Five years ago, when white supremacists walked down the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting “Jews will not replace us!” and carrying tiki torches, few people understood their intent – the fact that they were referring to replacement theory. The idea seemed outlandish, even incomprehensible; at the time, it was a fairly obscure rallying cry, based around a 2012 book by French novelist Renaud Camus fearmongering about a nonwhite-majority Europe, absorbed into the fetid stew of white-supremacist cant, where it acquired a vicious antisemitism. For many white supremacists, it is Jews who are orchestrating the “reverse colonization,” as Camus put it, of white countries, in order to more easily manipulate a nonwhite and therefore more malleable general populace. In Gendron’s manifesto, after explaining in detail why he picked the particular supermarket he did — it was in a majority-Black neighborhood with a majority-Black clientele — he felt the need to explain why he did not choose to attack Jews. “[Jews] can be dealt with in time, but the high fertility replacers will destroy us now, it is a matter of survival we destroy them first,” he wrote, before listing his weaponry in detail with price points included — a manual for future murders. While Gendron’s choice to engage in mass slaughter puts him on the radical fringe of those who enforce their beliefs with bullets, and his overt antisemitism differs slightly from vaguer blame of “elites,” “Democrats” and “globalists,” his fixation on white birthrates and demographic change are neither fringe nor particularly unusual. The gnawing fear of a minority-white America has utterly consumed conservative politics for the past half-decade, creating a Republican party whose dual obsessions with nativism and white fertility have engendered a suite of policies engineered to change the nature of the body politic. What unites murderers like Gendron, and the long list of white supremacist attackers he cited with admiration, with the mainstream of the Republican party is the dream of a white nation.

The Washington Post chose to talk about a Southern Democrat, Theodore Bilbo, a Mississippi senator who pushed the same notion. I don’t think it was to place equal blame on both parties (especially since a Southern Democrat in the 1940s was equivalent to any Republican in the years since Reagan) but to point out that even the most conservative people in the country found him repugnant.

But while the great replacement theory has inspired horrific violence in the past five years, it’s a lot older than that. More than 70 years ago, a U.S. senator published a book warning of the same destruction of White civilization.

Theodore G. Bilbo, a Democrat, had twice been governor of Mississippi before he served in the U.S. Senate from 1935 to 1947, when “the growing intolerance among many whites toward public racism and anti-Semitism” led to his fall, according to an account in the Journal of Mississippi History.

An equal-opportunity racist, he addressed some of his letters with slurs against Italians and Jews, depending on the recipient. But the bulk of his loathing and fear was reserved for Black Americans, as spelled out in his 1947 book “Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization.”

Despite the fact that he was despised, though, the only thing that expelled him from the senate was oral cancer and death. I can’t sit here and wish the same would happen to Carlson — cancer is too evil.

I can sit here and say that “replacement theory” is stupid. It draws on the conceit that your personal immortality is built on your children, that biology is destiny, that when you procreate, you are creating little copies of yourself who will have the same goals as yourself. It doesn’t work that way, as anyone with kids can tell you. As I explain to students every year, mitosis is a process that allows a cell to perpetuate itself and make identical copies. We don’t reproduce by mitosis, though, but by meiosis…and what meiosis does is generate diversity, and the fusion of two gametes produces more diversity. There is no white race that is going to be preserved if you repudiate miscegenation. That reduces the pool of genes your progeny can draw from, and isn’t going to help you propagate, it’s just going to delay the mingling of your genes to a later generation which can see the folly of your racist schemes.

Also, I don’t share much in common culturally with the kinds of white people who believe in “replacement theory”. I sure hope my kids don’t marry any of them!

Unfortunately, the Republicans of today have picked up the banner of “replacement theory” and are running with it. It’s just another example of conservatives losing touch with reality.

Comments

  1. benedic says

    ” getting him canceled ” Is there no way that incitement to genocide is an offence ?

  2. Artor says

    “Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization.”
    I choose mongrelization. Mongrels are generally smarter, stronger and healthier than purebreds, in livestock, agriculture, and people too. And often stunningly beautiful on top of it all.

  3. raven says

    I’m just going to repost what I said on the Dawkins thread yesterday. It is entirely relevant.
    We’ve already had one Great Replacement. No one noticed or cares.

    Dawkins and Murray aren’t even original or particularly bright about this issue.
    The USA has seen this before. In the 19th century the feared Untermenschen coming to destroy our country were…the Germans and Irish, especially the Catholic ones.

    Wikipedia.

    The immigration of large numbers of Irish and German Catholics to the United States in the period between 1830 and 1860 made religious differences between Catholics and Protestants a political issue. Violence occasionally erupted at the polls.

    There were vicious riots throughout the 19th century that killed dozens of people.

    The big fear was that the Germans and Irish were going to…replace the native English colonists. Which actually happened. “With an estimated size of approximately 43 million in 2019, German Americans are the largest of the self-reported ancestry groups by the United States Census Bureau…”
    The Germans are now the largest ethnic (or ancestrial for the trolls) group in the USA followed by the Irish. The English are third.

    Few people noticed and no one cares.

  4. raven says

    The fear and hate of the Germans and Irish Catholics during the mid 1800s was at least equal to anything we see today. There were riots that killed dozens.
    They also had their own political party, commonly called the Know Nothings. They actually won a lot of elections and had a former president, Millard Fillmore as a member.

    Wikipedia Know Nothing Party

    The Know Nothings were a nativist political party and movement in the United States in the mid-1850s. The party was officially known as the “Native American Party” prior to 1855 and thereafter, it was simply known as the “American Party”.[a]
    and
    The immigration of large numbers of Irish and German Catholics to the United States in the period between 1830 and 1860 made religious differences between Catholics and Protestants a political issue. Violence occasionally erupted at the polls.

    The result was that the Germans and Irish did numerically replace the British colonists.

    Which turned out to be a non-event.
    The English didn’t just disappear though. Those 43 million German Americans and 30 million Irish Americans are almost all mixes by now.
    What really happened is all the European Americans mixed together and the vast majority are now mixes.

    My friend is a proud Boston Irish aristocrat with a typical Irish name. Her mother is English American. I know a lot of European-Americans. I can’t think of too many that were born here who are pure anything.

    What is happening with the current demographic shift is the same thing. White Americans won’t be replaced. They will intermarry and keep on mixing up the population.

  5. brightmoon says

    I’m one of those multicolored people ( I refuse to call myself a mongrel) . Ghanaian, Cherokee and Scots, I think of myself as American rather than of any of these cultures because those people were distant ancestors . And for historical reasons both native Americans and native Africans were forced to lose our cultural identities and were not allowed to share in a European identity. It took a DNA test to recover the Ghanaian ancestry . I acknowledge the Scots ancestry because it wasn’t all due to force. And the Cherokee ancestry was just family history. We non whites get our history deliberately erased but we aren’t supposed to be Americans either. When will it stop

  6. PaulBC says

    raven@3 I would note that while white people were getting “replaced” with other white people, the ancestors of most of today’s Black Americans had already already lived here (whether they were themselves Black or white rapists as many clearly were). And yes, a few are descended from more recent African immigrants or Caribbean immigrants. I think it’s a small percentage but I don’t have any numbers.

    So it seems odd that Gendron would accuse Black people of carrying out a “replacement” when their ancestral legacy exceeds many (most?) white Americans. But yeah, I get it. If you’re racist this does not count.

    I said this already, but didn’t these rightwingers used to be all about “markets” and “competition”? The marketplace of ideas, etc. This strikes me as a desperate attempt to go against market forces. If immigrants can outcompete people born in the US on their native turf, then the result should be an improvement (if you believe in the magic of markets, which I don’t, though I prefer them to bigotry). While that’s not the entire story, in fact, it is true that some groups of immigrants outcompete, whether it is in attaining university education, opening small businesses, or simply staying employed in jobs that many born here eschew.

    Back to reality, white people are still disproportionately represented in positions of power. Also, affluent white people are still prepping their kids for success. If some random non-affluent white person is worried about being “replaced” then maybe they ought to work hard to become “irreplaceable.” Again, didn’t rightwingers used to love “personal responsibility” in addition to markets? Not every shiftless hillbilly is going to be rescue by circumstances, the US Marines, and an adoptive Tiger Mom the way JD Vance was.

  7. robro says

    Carlson is a paid shill, a “face” in professional wrestling parlance. What he does and says on air is directed, vetted and cleared by the real powers at Fox and ultimately the Murdochs. That doesn’t excuse Carlson for sitting there spewing their bile night after night, but It’s important to keep in mind who the real bad guys are. If Carlson quit today, Fox would have another face doing the same spiel tonight.

  8. PaulBC says

    brightmoon@5

    ( I refuse to call myself a mongrel)

    As well you should. It’s an incredibly offensive term for a human being. I would personally say it’s in poor taste to use on a dog. And human beings have been mixing since we’ve existed. The idea of preserving pedigree “races” is archaic and usually based on a misunderstanding of gene flow.

  9. muttpupdad says

    Wouldn’t Legacy Americans be only those member of First Nations who were genocided by all the Johnny-come-latelys that showed up and stole their land.

  10. PaulBC says

    robro@7

    Carlson is a paid shill, a “face”

    I read this carelessly as “paid shitface” but in this case, I don’t think it requires any correction.

  11. KG says

    raven@3,
    Pointing out your ridiculous misuse of terminology is not trolling. And people reporting ancestry from a particular group is not the same as people having ancestry from that group. If you glance at the actual census data, you will see that 1946592 people reported having “British” ancestry, while 23493906 reported having “English” ancestry. In fact, anyone having “English” ancestry necessarily has “British” ancestry. And if you believe that less than 10% of Americans have English ancestry, let alone that less than 1% have British ancestry, I’d suggest you don’t try to set up in business as a genealogical researcher.

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 9

    The fascists already have an answer to that. I ‘ve seen a RW meme with an map of the U.S. saying “America wasn’t stolen. IT WAS CONQUERED!”

    Yes, they are implying conquest was a good thing.

  13. dianne says

    So if whites are being replaced, doesn’t that mean that whites are inferior, failing to compete successfully in the “market”, and deserve to die off so that more efficient cultures can replace them*?

    *In the interest of disclosure, I’m mostly white. Probably. A plurality of my ancestors are light skinned but have no documented ancestry in Europe. So it’s either early immigration (i.e. the fanatics and criminals) or parallel evolution. Genetic testing revealed central European, Spanish/north African, Gaelic, American Indian of uncertain tribe, and “what the fuck, is this even human”. Seriously, whole chromosomes have failed to map to any ethnic group. Race is like art or gender: it’s a thing, everyone “knows” what it is, but the more you try to define it, the further it drifts into absurdity.

  14. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 13

    In their tiny minds, the “market” works when it benefits them. If it doesn’t, it must be because the other side is cheating.

  15. raven says

    Pointing out your ridiculous misuse of terminology is not trolling.

    My use of the terminology here in the USA is standard, common, the norm. A common dictionary definition from Google.

    eth·nic group
    noun
    a community or population made up of people who share a common cultural background or descent.

    and

    What is a ethnic group simple definition?

    A group of people who share a similar culture (beliefs, values, and behaviors), language, religion, ancestry, or other characteristic that is often handed down from one generation to the next. They may come from the same country or live together in the same area.
    Definition of ethnic group – NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

    Ancestry is one way of defining the word ethnic group and is widely used here.

    I have real problems with some random troll dividing the world up into Real Germans and Fake Germans. It’s been done before and it was a well known atrocity.
    I also have problems with people who decide they can tell 330 million people what they can think about themselves and what they call themselves.

    Anyone who wants to give themselves the power to tell others where they really came from and who they really are, is free to do so.
    And we are free to roll our eyes and ignore them.

  16. dianne says

    I have real problems with some random troll dividing the world up into Real Germans and Fake Germans.

    Using AfD dogwhistles. “Culture” and the dangers of immigrants who don’t understand “our culture” are a right wing way talking point in Germany and the US.

  17. dianne says

    Putting this together with other right wing (fascist) actions…The restrictions on abortion seem at first glance to be about making (white) women have more children, but I can’t help but wonder if they’re not also about punishing women of ethnic groups who are “replacing” whites for getting pregnant. It’s clear that per capita more women from minority races/ethnic groups will die or be maimed if abortion is illegalized. Maybe that’s the point, more than trying to get white women to reproduce more.

  18. robro says

    PaulBC @ #10 — Both work.

    I was kind of curious about who replaced Roger Ailes after his sullied departure as CEO of Fox News in 2016. That’s Suzanne Scott who with some other folks turned Fox around after the Ailes affair. However, Scott has been implicated in covering up sexual abuse at Fox as well as enforcing the “dress code” of skimpy dresses and big hair for on-air women. Rupert is the “executive chairman”. Fox is rotten inside and out.

    Incidentally, it was another Carlson, namely Gretchen Carlson, who got the ball rolling that brought down Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. She’s not related to Fucker Carlson.

  19. rorschach says

    There are no races, there are geographical locations of origin. Skin color is a function of sun exposure and some melanocyte genetics.

    @13
    “Genetic testing revealed central European, Spanish/north African, Gaelic, American Indian of uncertain tribe, and “what the fuck, is this even human””

    Exactly. Probably some Neanderthal (and sea sponge) thrown in for good measure. If we hit more race theorists in the face with their ancestry printout, maybe we’d get somewhere.

  20. raven says

    The restrictions on abortion seem at first glance to be about making (white) women have more children, but I can’t help but wonder if they’re not also about punishing women of ethnic groups who are “replacing” whites..

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that too.
    The abortion rate is 2-3 times higher for Latino and Black women than white women.

    The same people who are outlawing abortion are also the people afraid of being replaced by nonwhites. By outlawing abortion, they are simply making that happen a lot faster.

    I don’t see that they have any point in all this though. They just never think things through very far.

  21. PaulBC says

    In Catholic school in the 70s… and maybe this was even tied into bicentennial preparation… the whole American “melting pot” thing would come up in class. The other students tended to claim a complicated mix, though in retrospect rather predictable, of Irish, Italian, Polish, sometimes German, less often French ancestry. This was the east coast, so there were not many students from Latin America or the Philippines, and maybe one or two Black students.

    I was what? “Uh, I think just Irish.” (now documented both genealogically and through 23andme–my siblings paid, not me). I was then disappointed not to be part of the great white fondue pot of American east coast cities. Today, I don’t care about that. I know I am not culturally Irish. I think I can make a strong argument for being culturally influenced by “Brooklyn Irish”, a distinct group from “Boston Irish” like the Kennedys.

    Yes, I know I am really just a white kid from the Philly suburbs burning under the California sun in my middle age. I can fantasize right?

    This (from above link) actually does fit what I know of my 19th century ancestors:

    This work analyzes the regional origins, the migration and settlement patterns, and the work and associational life of the Catholic Irish in Brooklyn between 1850 and 1900. Over this pivotal half century, the Brooklyn Irish developed a rich associational life which included temperance, Irish nationalism, land reform and Gaelic language and athletic leagues. This era marked the emergence of a more diverse, mature Irish Catholic community, a community which responded in a new ways to a variety of internal and external challenges

  22. PaulBC says

    raven and lasius: I’m surprised nobody has brought up Amish and Mennonites in this conversation. The Amish really do (as I understand it) call everyone non-Amish “English” and I’m sure it would apply to other white groups such as those of Italian descent. I don’t know about Black or Asian Americans. I believe it is just an old reference from the time that they were preserving their subculture and religion against other colonial influences, which were mostly “English”. (And they had William Penn, an English Quaker to thank for the latitude to do this.)

    Well into the 20th century the Amish were still publishing German language newspapers. As far as I know, they still are, but as a point of reference, it comes up in John Updike’s Rabbit novels.

    So do they count as “German”? They are certainly far removed from today’s German citizens. I just think of “Amish” as its own category whatever language they speak. They brought some traditions with them, but these traditions have been subject to centuries of life in North America.

  23. dianne says

    There are no races, there are geographical locations of origin.

    This is true and yet if you don’t pay attention to the cultural fiction of race/ethnicity, that causes problems too.

  24. PaulBC says

    dianne@24

    There are no races, there are geographical locations of origin.

    And these “locations” were all in East Africa as I understand it.

    Or… maybe we need a better definition of “origin.” My personal origin was at a hospital in Norristown, PA. It’s on my birth certificate. My ancestral lines did not originate in Ireland, though they probably existed there for a long time. What do we mean when we say “origin”?

  25. dianne says

    PaulBC 25: I agree in general, but I should note that I was quoting Rorschach @19. My apologies to Rorschach for the failure to tag correctly.

  26. macallan says

    Wtf would a ‘pure’ german even be? The empire assimilated a crapload of different peoples, germanic speaking or not, right from the beginning.

  27. birgerjohansson says

    I often check read Aardvarchaeology, a blog where things like the DNA of paleolithic, neolithic bronze-age and iron-age Europeans are discussed. The earliest inhabitants did not contribute much genes to the current inhabitants, the population has been partially replaced and thoroughly mixed more than once.
    The greatest alterations may have been the result of epidemics; like during the bronze age, after which the Yamnaya people from the steppes took advantage and moved in bringing their language group along.
    In Britain, the partial replacement of the previous population does not show up in the material culture. This great shift saw the newcomers go on with the megaliths.
    Also the Basque do not seem genetically distinct from their indo-european-speaking neighbours.
    Summary: those who think Europeans form some naturally distinct group are fools: we are truly mongrels.

  28. birgerjohansson says

    Addendum; even in Africa there was no “typical” african: homo sapiens evolved all over the place forming distinct groups that later mingled. And the exodus from Africa appears to have happened in more than one wave. Finding subgroups that help tracking past migrations requires a lot of data.

  29. birgerjohansson says

    PaulBC
    Temperance organisations taught people how to organise in large groups and helped pave the way for labor unions. A couple of generations later, black churches provided experienced leaders for the civil rights movement. Organisational skills travel between causes.

  30. cheerfulcharlie says

    This all goes back further than Bilbo. Madison Grant wrote a book, “The Passing Of The Great Race” back in 1916 peddling this nonsense. Good white Anglo-Saxons were being replaced by less human immigrants. When his book was published in German in 1922, Grant got one enthusiastic reader, Adolf Hitler who wrote Grant an enthusiastic fan letter. “Your book has become my Bible!”. It was due to Grant that the U.S. Congress rewrote restrictive immigrant laws. Only 500 Jews per year were allowed to immigrate into the U.S.. Grant was also an ardent eugenicist. A fellow racist was Lothrop Stoddard who was also an influential writer. His most well known book was “The Rising Tide Of Color”. Stodard coined the word underman, which the German Nazis translated as undermensch. The garbage coming out of the mouth of Carlson and Ingraham and their ilk is not new by any means.

    Check Wikipedia for more on these jerks. Their ancient racist books are widely available on the internet. Their books were introduced at the Nuremberg war crime trials in an attempt to exonerate Nazi war criminals.

  31. PaulBC says

    birgerjohansson@30 I sort of remember my mother referring to some relatives taking temperance “pledges”, which were influenced by religion and (not to lean too heavily on stereotype) probably did help against serious problems of alcoholism among those of Irish descent. My own family always had plenty of alcohol around so I am not sure who did this.

  32. jenorafeuer says

    My usual line on ancestry is: “I’m part English, part Irish, part Scottish, and part German… I argue with myself a lot.”

  33. says

    The result was that the Germans and Irish did numerically replace the British colonists.

    PSA: don’t use the term “anglo saxon” non-historically. It was a term created by racists specifically to exclude the Irish and Scottish. Because, you know, the bloodlines of humans are all distinct.

  34. says

    Bilbo. Madison Grant wrote a book, “The Passing Of The Great Race” back in 1916 peddling this nonsense.

    Yep, Madison Grant invented the justification for Hitler’s racism. Hitler was basically trying to recreate The US’ great racist programme. Himmler was a big fan of the FBI, too. Much of nazi fascism was “made in the USA” and Hitler acknowledged it in MK. Pretty much the only other source of his ideas came from christianity. For some reason this is not taught in US schools.

  35. says

    Also, affluent white people are still prepping their kids for success.

    Because white kids are so innately inferior they need social programs and parental support to even survive in that harsh world out there. Womp womp.

  36. says

    Back in college I dated a girl whose background was 100% English. My background is about 20% English and 50% Italian, and I have an Italian last name. At the time, I thought it would be humorous that if we ever got married and had kids, they’d be 60% English and only 25% Italian but have an Italian last name.

    Of course, in reality, they’d just be homo sapiens, but some people like that “lineage” stuff. I think the story of how you got here via the paths of your ancestors can be entertaining and interesting, but beyond that, rarely of much use (excepting genetic diseases and such).

  37. PaulBC says

    jimf@37 I’m not sure anyone would notice. My kids are half Chinese with an Irish last name, and I think most people just look at them and see “white”.

  38. Rob Grigjanis says

    Marcus @35:

    Much of nazi fascism was “made in the USA” and Hitler acknowledged it in MK. Pretty much the only other source of his ideas came from christianity.

    I’d say a fairly major idea he promoted was the notion of ‘Aryan supremacy’, which was neither Christian nor American (mostly German and French, IIRC) in origin.

  39. Rob Grigjanis says

    jimf @37:

    they’d be 60% English and only 25% Italian but have an Italian last name.

    I knew a bloke in grad school with Scottish first and last name. I asked him which part of Scotland his people came from, and he said he was more than 90% Yugoslavian.

  40. whheydt says

    Re: PaulBC @ #25…
    In context, I think “origin’ is “as far back as I have/can check, this is where someone I think is an ancestor of mine was living”. Note that this usually assumes that any available records are correct. That is, the listed parents at each generation going back are the actual parents.

    (I used to know a gentleman from Scotland. When asked–mostly by Americans–what clan he belonged to, he would answer very coldly, “Stuart”. If you knew him, he would point out that the connection was several generations back and on the wrong side of the blanket.)

  41. birgerjohansson says

    OT
    Jeff Bezos praises Joe Manchin for blocking Biden’s corporate tax hike.

  42. birgerjohansson says

    Re @42
    Help the workers of Amazon to unionize. And name your local sewage plant after Jeff Bezos.

  43. says

    Rob Grigjanis@#39:
    Aryan supremacy

    Do try to know what you’re talking about. Madison Grant was the person who promoted the idea that Aryans were a special thing, and were round-headed tall blond scandinavians, not, uh, you know Aryans. And prior to Grant nobody tried to figure out what Aryans were, and Hitler took Grant’s ideas about Aryans whole cloth and ran with them.

    I’m not saying “Hitler was influenced bu Grant.” If you had actually read Hitler and Grant you’d see that Hitler was taking Grant’s imaginings as literal truth and adopted his racial theories from Grant. If you want to say that was not American in origin, pray tell me where it came from and why Hitler explicitly said he was basing his ideas on it in Mein Kampf.

  44. says

    Back in college I dated a girl whose background was 100% English.

    No Romans or Vikings in the woodpile?

    By the time the Romans had done merging with the population, there were no 100% English people.

  45. cartomancer says

    Marcus Ranum, #45

    A bit confused there. The Romans were here from about 50BC to about 300AD. It was only after they left that anyone whom we could call “English” started to arrive. That is, the Angles and the Saxons and similar peoples from the northern parts of what we now call Germany.

    Before the Romans the place was known as “Britannia”, and was populated mostly by Celtic peoples. The Angles, Saxons et al. found an island of (to varying degrees) Romanised Celts, which they settled and whom they mingled with. It was only really in the late 7th Century, around the time Bede wrote his Ecclesiastical History of the English Peoples, that anyone could conceive of an “English” people at all.

  46. says

    I marvel at the fact that Grant, Gobineau, Chamberlain, etc. were all terrible hateful dickheads who promoted pseudoscientific bullshit, yet here we are, still talking about them. I guess if I wanted lasting fame (or infamy), I ought to just invent some crazy stupid justification for the evil in the worst people of society, and scribble it down for a book.

  47. Walter Solomon says

    PaulBC

    I just think of “Amish” as its own category whatever language they speak. They brought some traditions with them, but these traditions have been subject to centuries of life in North America.

    They’re in South America as well.

  48. says

    PZ @ #48/49:

    I marvel at the fact that Grant, Gobineau, Chamberlain, etc. were all terrible hateful dickheads who promoted pseudoscientific bullshit, yet here we are, still talking about them. I guess if I wanted lasting fame (or infamy), I ought to just invent some crazy stupid justification for the evil in the worst people of society, and scribble it down for a book.

    Also, fuck those guys.

    I just can never believe the silliness and intellectual and moral vacuity of this pseudoscience. It’s just not in the same universe as the contemporary real science that was or is being done. (This isn’t a distinction between branches of science – there are contributions to knowledge and well being and also weak work done in all of them – but between genuine work, as flawed and shaped by the biases of its time as it is, and this embarrassing blather that flatters the powerful and justifies existing hierarchies and so is praised and rewarded.) I find it hard to accept that people take it seriously, but also it’s sad to think people spend years of their lives churning out this trash – “You really are superior, [white people, men, straight people, cis people, rich people, humans, Aryans, Westerners, Europeans, Christians, US/England/Russia/France/China/Japan,…]!” It really is a tawdry spectacle and a pathetic waste of human potential.

  49. Tethys says

    The Amish are actually Dutch, and originate from the Low Countries. Germanic like English, but not German.

    Many Germans and Swiss people belonged to the various other Anabaptist sects such as the Mennonites, but these groups immigrated from the various small German states that existed before the world wars into Eastern Europe/the Russian Empire before they were evicted by the Tsar. The vast majority immigrated to the US and Canada between 1890 and 1907.

    The Amish have an old grievance with the English, as they were declared regressive religious fanatics and banned from England. (Which is why they were in the Netherlands in the first place.).

  50. PaulBC says

    Tethys@52 Most of what you wrote sounds correct but I always learned that “Pennsylvania Dutch” was a misnomer and in fact, the people who settled that area were German. In any case, they have German names like Stoltzfus and used to publish German language papers (well, I only have John Updike’s say so on this so I’m not sure). I did know a Stoltzfus in college, not Mennonite but from that part of the state.

    The wikipedia article has a lot more information.

  51. Tethys says

    An interesting factoid about the etymology of the word German. It is a term that is Roman in origin. They were always a variety of more or less related people, united by a language, who called themselves Allemanne = All humans

    From the Wiki on the early origins of the Slavic speaking groups:

    Agreeing with Jordanes’s report, Procopius wrote that the Sclavenes and Antes spoke the same languages but traced their common origin not to the Venethi but to a people he called “Sporoi”.[61] Sporoi (“seeds” in Greek; compare “spores”) is equivalent to the Latin semnones and germani (“germs” or “seedlings”), and the German linguist Jacob Grimm believed that Suebi meant “Slav”.[62] Jordanes and Procopius called the Suebi “Suavi”. The end of the Bavarian Geographer’s list of Slavic tribes contains a note: “Suevi are not born, they are sown (seminati)”

    They are confusing the Suebi of the Black Forest region with the word Sueve, which refers to the Swedes and people on the coast of the Baltic Sea.

    I’m more than 80% Germ, despite being American. To ignore or forget that would be an insult to all the hardships my Auswanderer ancestors went through to get to a place where they could just live without interference from Royals, or Martin Luther, or the Catholic Church.

  52. Tethys says

    Dutch and German are closely related, but not the same thing. Dutch is Low German, and the Amish and Mennonites both speak Low German regardless of where they might have been born originally.

    My non-Mennonite Anabaptist ancestors spoke High German, which is the basis for Modern standardized German. (But it’s cadence is very different, in addition to being a very old and deeply conserved version of dialect/language in theGermannic group.

  53. lasius says

    @raven

    I haven commented on Pharyngula before it even was on freethoughtblogs but the moment I disagree with you I become a random troll.

    Ancestry is indeed a possible criterion for ethnicity, and it is for many groups. But for modern Germans it is not the primary criterion. American misuse of the term as a euphemism for “race” is irrelevant for the German identity.

    @ PaulBC

    The Amish and similar communities are indeed an interesting case. Germans in the East European diaspora that have been separated from “Germany proper” for far longer are considered ethnic Germans, so I would have no problem with considering them German based on their preserved culture and language, even if it is very different than “mainstream German”.

    @ Tethys.

    The Amish do definitely not speak Low German. Their language is Central German dialect related to the modern dialects of the Palatinate region. They do not primarily descend from Dutch immigrants.

  54. Tethys says

    Laisius

    My Grandparents spoke multiple dialects of German. Their dialects are actually very useful in tracing them to the correct places in genealogy research. The Swabian branches are split between Catholics and Anabaptists, but both spoke OHG though the Rhinelanders are more proper than the Catholics from Alsace and Baden. They are also the same people from whom the brothers Grimm got their ideas about philology, and don’t appreciate being by told by young fancy professors that they talk funny. The Mennonite branch is still alive and well, and I assure you that they speak Plauttdeutsch or Flotthollander. Low German. The history of the Amish is rather complicated. They vary according to when and where they first immigrated after getting thrown out of various other regions, and their country of origin.

    I’m sure it would be mutually incomprehensible to the average modern German.

  55. birgerjohansson says

    Hitler’s idiotic ideas about race became tangled up with the now completely debunked “shrinking markets” economical theory. He rejected the idea of free trade and became obsessed the long-term econonical future required conquering “lebensraum”.
    I do not look forward to the kooks incorporating this particular drivel into their worldview.

  56. lasius says

    “but both spoke OHG”

    Unless your ancestors migrated to the US more than a thousand years ago, no, they did not.

    “They vary according to when and where they first immigrated after getting thrown out of various other regions, and their country of origin.”

    The ancestors of the Amish were never thrown out of their German homelands.

    “I’m sure it would be mutually incomprehensible to the average modern German.”

    I’ve heard recordings and I could understand them. Though I also understand German Low German as it was the language of my paternal grandparents which.

  57. says

    The Pennsylvania Dutch are Deutsch, not Netherlandic.
    Also the Dutch language is Frankish, not German, although there are many Dutchies who’s mother tongue is Frisian or Dutch Low Saxon.

    Re the plastic Jerries whatever, for the source populations this phenomenon is slightly bemusing, amusing, and possibly insulting.
    You’re something different, something new.

  58. Dunc says

    lasius, @56:

    Ancestry is indeed a possible criterion for ethnicity, and it is for many groups. But for modern Germans it is not the primary criterion. American misuse of the term as a euphemism for “race” is irrelevant for the German identity.

    I think a good deal of the disagreement here may be simply linguistic… What you’ve referred to in these two threads as “ethnicity” would, I think, be more appropriately described in English as “cultural identity”. Sadly my German does not stretch to offering a translation of either term, nor do I know how these ideas are conceptualised by Germans. “Ethnicity” is a highly loaded term in English, and I don’t think it’s quite the right fit for the concepts you’re describing.

  59. Tethys says

    The strangest conversation I ever heard was my Grandfather speaking his particular dialect of OHG with a Norwegian immigrant who spoke Nynorsk.

    He said it was easy enough to understand, since it was pretty close to the same language.
    He was correct, as his High German is linguistically closest to Old Norse in the spectrum of Germanic languages.

  60. lasius says

    @Tethys.

    Again. He wasn’t speaking OHG. That’s like saying your grandfather spoke the Old English of Beowulf. OHG was spoken in the early Middle Ages.

    “He was correct, as his High German is linguistically closest to Old Norse in the spectrum of Germanic languages.”

    Which is incorrect. High German is a West Germanic Language on the same branch as English, Frisian, Dutch or low German. Old Norse was a North Germanic language (a different branch of the Germanic languages) and the ancestor of the Germanic Scandinavian languages.

    @Dunc

    Very likely. The German term is “Ethnie” and is defined by Wiktionary as:

    “Gruppe von Menschen, die sich einer Kultur, Sprache oder Religion zugehörig fühlen”

    “Group of people who consider themselves belonging to a shared culture, language or religion.”

    However the English term “ethnicity” has an interesting caveat in the wiktionary definition:

    “In common use, ethnicity is used as a euphemism for the sensitive term race, but with identical meaning: group ancestry and physical characteristics, such as skin color, as in “ethnic Chinese”. In careful use, it refers to any common characteristic or identity, particularly linguistic, national, regional, or religious groups, and can cut across race, such as Hispanic/Latino; or be a subgroup of a racial group, as in German Texan, Chinese Indonesians, Nuyorican (New York Puerto Rican), etc. “

  61. Dunc says

    @lasius: Yes, I definitely think that “cultural identity” would be a more appropriate and less contentious translation then.

    Personally, I would draw a distinction between “ethnicity” and “race”, in that I understand “race” to be both very broad-brush (“White”, “Black”, “Asian”, etc) and based entirely on superficial characteristics, thus grouping many distinct groups together into completely made-up categories, whereas I would undersand “ethnicity” to be both more specific and (at least somewhat) better grounded in actual history and enthnography (“Central European”, “Han”, “West Indian”, and so forth) – but how well that distinction is observed in common usage, particularly in the US, I couldn’t say.

  62. lasius says

    @raven

    I traced the source of your claim that German is the largest ethnicity compared to English and it doesn’t hold water.

    The original source seems to be this table by the United States Census Bureau:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20210714042710/https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=Ancestry&tid=ACSDT5Y2019.B04006&hidePreview=true

    It does indeed only list 23 million self-reported English. But it also has 20 million self-reported Americans, 2 million self-reported British etc. and already you’re above the number of self-reported Germans.

    So your claim is without merit in any case.

  63. says

    Marcus @44:
    Some light reading for you

    I am familiar with De Gobineau and I google as well or better than you do. Since I was supporting the fact that Hitler was a fan of Madison Grant (a very American pseudo-scientist, who he wrote love-letters to, how does the mere existence of De Gobineau refute that? Yes, they were both into the who “aryan” thing. Oh. Are you claiming that for De Gobineau? Probably it had been kicking around in the salons of the not-quite-enlightenment for a while but it was Grant’s bestseller that everyone associated with it at the time.

    Speaking of the salons of the not-quite-enlightenment; the wrote, they miss you.

  64. says

    cartomancer:
    It was only after they left that anyone whom we could call “English” started to arrive

    Oh, did the romans leave behind a desert devoid of people? Everyplace else, the empire left its walls, trade routes, language, litter, genetic legacy, etc. some of them became “the locals”

  65. says

    There is a painfully ironic case of a gentleman who was an actual aryan, an Indian if I recall, who sued the US government for his rights as an aryan and I think the Case was eventually thrown out because the US was talking about Madison Grant’s round-skulled scandinavian nonexistent aryans, which Himmler tried to recruit.

    I have a 1st edition of Grant and a reprint De Gobineau on my desk next to me as I wrote this, and (god help me) I have read and tried to make sense of both. They both depend on creating airy theories by calm, pseudo-scientific assertion, and are hard to argue with because they don’t make any sense. For expample Grant, as I implied above, builds upon phrenology, with regard the obvious superiority of round-domed wealthy new englander heirs and therefore vikings whagarbl something wossname heil ftagbn. I have actually tried to make sense of Grant and I’m unhappy when people chide me for failing to do so. It’s a bit hard to know what to say about social sciences that embed and build from phrenology except “not my circus.”

    If you want some fun, we could defend the position that Madison Grant was the establishment of evolutionary psychology in the US, which, with his connection to blood lines and behaviors hr was explicitly trying to do. Not my circus. That would be a question for some of Richard Dawkins’ friends.

  66. Rob Grigjanis says

    Marcus @66: You @44:

    Madison Grant was the person who promoted the idea that Aryans were a special thing, and were round-headed tall blond scandinavians, not, uh, you know Aryans. And prior to Grant nobody tried to figure out what Aryans were, and Hitler took Grant’s ideas about Aryans whole cloth and ran with them.

    So you were familiar with Gobineau, but deemed him unworthy of mention. OK. You do your thing, man.

  67. says

    So you were familiar with Gobineau, but deemed him unworthy of mention. OK. You do your thing, man.

    I shortened out the whole part about that when I referred to “American” – Spencer and Grant werw popularizing a distinctly American version of white supremacy that aligned with our new imperialism.

    Can I somehow arrange for you to go hump someone else’s leg? The pickings over here can’t be very gratifying.

  68. says

    I think dad covered dismissing De Gobineau, but is there some kind of hereditary exemption I can apply for?

    (If I recall, it was in the context of “I would love to read Voltaire’s commentary on ${that guy}” which was a common refrain in my childhood) but which I certainly can’t say about you.

  69. says

    I should be explicit: there’s not enough substance in your ideas for Voltaire or anyone else to wite their ass. But do keep snarking away, you may land a lucky hit.

  70. KG says

    It was only after they left that anyone whom we could call “English” started to arrive – cartomancer

    Oh, did the romans leave behind a desert devoid of people? Everyplace else, the empire left its walls, trade routes, language, litter, genetic legacy, etc. some of them became “the locals” – Marcus Ranum@67

    sigh
    When the Roman legions left Britain, no-one who would have referred to themselves, or been referred to by anyone else as “English”, or any similar term, existed anywhere. Nor was England conceived of by anybody as a distinct part of Britain (I know a lot of non-Brits are unable to grasp that “England” doesn’t refer to the whole island even now, but at that point, there was no such geographical concept). Almost certainly, all the inhabitants of what is now England would have spoken a p-Celtic language akin to modern Welsh (Stephen Oppenheimer has suggested that there were already some speakers of one or more Germanic languages settled on the east coast, but AFAIK that remains an idiosyncratic notion). To refer to the post-Roman inhabitants of what is now England as “English” is simply anachronistic. That’s what cartomancer means, and he’s quite right.

  71. KG says

    I used to know a gentleman from Scotland. When asked–mostly by Americans–what clan he belonged to, he would answer very coldly, “Stuart”. – whhedyt@41

    As you’re probably aware, at least within the last several centuries the clan system only existed in the Highlands and Islands (and largely ended there in the 18th century when most of the clan chiefs sold out their clanspeople and replaced them with sheep), and involved only a small proportion of the inhabitants of Scotland. Although to be fair, a number of the signifiers of Highland culture, such as kilts, tartan, bagpipes, Gaelic, and association of particular surnames with specific clans have been adopted by a proportion of non-Highland Scots as badges of national identity. I live in Edinburgh, and pass men in checked, pleated skirts apparently torturing octopuses any time I venture into tourist areas of the city.

  72. KG says

    raven@15,
    As I’ve already pointed out, saying you have ancestry in a particular group doesn’t mean you do, let alone that that covers all or most of your ancestors. If you’re going to assert that having German ancestry makes Americans German, then most Americans are going to belong to multiple ethnic groups. In any case, your claim@3 that:

    the Germans and Irish did numerically replace the British colonists.

    is simply nonsense. A lot of Irish and Germans did immigrate in the later 19th century, but so did a lot of British, and later, southern and eastern Europeans in even larger numbers. And all the time the existing inhabitants continued to produce plenty of children, both with each other and with immigrants and their immediate descendants. We can get a rough idea of who Americans are most descended from by looking at the most common American surnames. Most of the top 100 are of either British or Spanish origin (the latter having increased markedly since 1990). Now some of those with British surnames will be descended from slaves so-named by their “owners”, and some will have anglicised their names, but the absence of distinctively Irish or German names is telling – if you’re open to considering empirical evidence, that is.

  73. macallan says

    @35

    Much of nazi fascism was “made in the USA” and Hitler acknowledged it in MK. Pretty much the only other source of his ideas came from christianity. For some reason this is not taught in US schools.

    I grew up in eastern Germany, for some reason this wasn’t brought up much either, even though they rarely missed an opportunity to say bad things about the US.

  74. says

    I’m not sure going by surnames is useful, due to the assignment of names to orphans and the conversion of surnames to sound more ‘local’–all the Schmidts who became Smiths, etc.

  75. Rob Grigjanis says

    Marcus @70,71,72: Three digs in three consecutive comments! I’m honoured.

  76. macallan says

    @57

    I’m sure it would be mutually incomprehensible to the average modern German.

    Plattdeutsch as spoken in Germany is incomprehensible to someone who only speaks standard german. And so is a whole bunch of southern dialects.

  77. whheydt says

    Re: KG @ #74…
    “Heydt” is from my great-grandfather Karl Otto Heydt, who immigrated to the US from Prussia. If my surname followed my dominate ancestry (my two Danish grandparents), it would be Rawn. And that leads to a nod to…

    Re: Strewth @ #77…
    My maternal grandfather was originally Jorgen Jensen Ravn-Jorgensen. He dropped the “-Jorgensen” at Ellis Island and later changed the “Ravn” to “Rawn” because nobody could spell or pronounce it properly.

    A bit more on surnames generally… My wife gladly changed her name when we were married as she had found that people couldn’t spell or pronounce “Jones”. Our daughter gladly changed her name when she married because of the same problems with “Heydt”. She has since found that people struggle with “Creelman” (which is pronounced purely phonetically, go figure). And all this involves ancestors who were literate enough when they immigrated to NOT get their names altered in the process.

  78. macallan says

    @77

    …and the conversion of surnames to sound more ‘local’–all the Schmidts who became Smiths, etc.

    Especially around the time the first world war was going on.

  79. macallan says

    @80

    He dropped the “-Jorgensen” at Ellis Island and later changed the “Ravn” to “Rawn” because nobody could spell or pronounce it properly.

    In real life I have to spell out my name every time, luckily it’s not very long.

  80. lasius says

    @ 15 raven

    “I have real problems with some random troll dividing the world up into Real Germans and Fake Germans. It’s been done before and it was a well known atrocity.”

    I as an actual German from Germany am telling you that modern (and also pre Third-Reich) Germans are not defining themselves by ancestry but language and shared culture and because of that you are insinuating that I am a Nazi? But you who is defining Germanness by ancestry alone are the opposite? You must be out of your mind. This is more than enough proof that you aren’t a German in any sense, as a modern German would not make such a trivializing Nazi comparison. You’re pathetic.

  81. StevoR says

    @ ^ macallan : ‘mac’ like the hamburger chain, ‘cawl” like the Welsh soup* and “Anne” like the popular name as in Anne of Green Gables? ;-)

    Imagine phonetically that’s correct-ish at least for certain accents?

    (Sorry couldn’t resist..Very silly, tired mood right now…)

    .* See : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cawl

  82. StevoR says

    @84. lasius : How exactly do you define a German?

    Being serious now.

    Also who gets to define a German and why?

  83. macallan says

    @85

    @ ^ macallan : ‘mac’ like the hamburger chain, ‘cawl” like the Welsh soup* and “Anne” like the popular name as in Anne of Green Gables? ;-)

    That’s not my Real Life(tm) name ;)

    @87

    Where does Yiddish fit in the Germanic language family?

    It’s more or less eastern German with a ton of hebrew, polish etc. loanwords.

  84. macallan says

    @86

    @84. lasius : How exactly do you define a German?

    Being serious now.

    Also who gets to define a German and why?

    In Germany, by legal definition, a german is anyone with german citizenship. That’s it.

  85. lasius says

    @StevoR and macallan

    Yiddish is a language of the High German dialect continuum. It’s closest relatives are the dialects of the northern Upper Rhine valley around the towns of Worms, Speyer and Mainz.

    There is no exact scientific definition as ethnicities and cultures often not well-defined. But modern Germans indentify on the basis of their shared language and culture. Before the Holocaust most Jews in Germany also considered themselves Germans. But nowadays that has obviously changed a bit. As few Yiddish-speakers now self-identify as Germans most Germans would not necessarily call them as such. But if they wanted to most would accept that.

  86. Rob Grigjanis says

    SC @82: Old English made liberal use of kennings; metaphoric terms for nouns. So, the ones you mention, and ‘swan’s road’ for ‘sea’, ‘bone-house’ for ‘skeleton’, etc. And the words ‘lord’ and ‘lady’ are shortened forms of OE ‘loaf-keeper’ and ‘loaf-kneader’. Fun stuff.

  87. whheydt says

    Re: macallan @ #83…
    So do I. I can also tell when a phone is from someone who doesn’t know me because they almost invariably mispronounce my name.

  88. whheydt says

    Re: Rob Grigjanis @ #91…
    And probably the most famous one… ‘bee-wolf’ for bear.

    The practice is actually much, much older. The actual word for ‘bear’ from proto-indo-european is unknown because every word for bear that has come down to us is a kenning.

  89. PaulBC says

    Maybe a little too obvious, but I always liked Schildkröte in German, literally shield-toad.

  90. dianne says

    Before the Holocaust most Jews in Germany also considered themselves Germans. But nowadays that has obviously changed a bit. As few Yiddish-speakers now self-identify as Germans most Germans would not necessarily call them as such.

    Okay, so now we’ve moved from AfD talking points to straight out NPD talking points. “Yiddish speakers”? That’s barely even a dog whistle.

  91. lasius says

    @ Dianne

    Since the conversation was specifically about Yiddish and not all Jews are speakers of the Yiddish-language, what is wrong with calling the ones who are Yiddish-speakers?

  92. PaulBC says

    dianne@96

    Christi Himmelfahrt

    Fox News commentator? Olympic figure skater?

  93. dianne says

    Since the conversation was specifically about Yiddish and not all Jews

    Ding, ding, ding! Plausible deniability enabled. Yeah, I’m sure totally certain that you didn’t mean anything negative by that.

    This wikipedia article must have been written by fucking Nazis, considering how often it uses “Yiddish-speaker” or “Yiddish-speaking”

    Okay, I have no idea how you got from an article that states that Yiddish is a language and gives some description of where it is spoken to “written by Nazis.” It’s almost as though you’re trying to confound the issue and make everyone forget that you just said that you don’t consider, ah, Yiddish speakers (who are–wink, wink, nudge, nudge not all Jews) who are Germans to be “real Germans”.

    Also, stop treating Wiki as a definitive source, it only makes you look ridiculous.

  94. lasius says

    @ Dianne

    Because the article uses “Yiddish-speaker” several times in exactly the same sense I was using. Someone who is able to speak Yiddish. Nothing more, and nothing less.

    “you just said that you don’t consider, ah, Yiddish speakers (who are–wink, wink, nudge, nudge not all Jews) who are Germans to be “real Germans”.

    Show me where I did.

  95. dianne says

    Iasas: You said it outright in #90: “Before the Holocaust most Jews in Germany also considered themselves Germans. But nowadays that has obviously changed a bit. As few Yiddish-speakers now self-identify as Germans most Germans would not necessarily call them as such.”

  96. Rob Grigjanis says

    dianne @101:

    …you just said that you don’t consider, ah, Yiddish speakers (who are–wink, wink, nudge, nudge not all Jews) who are Germans to be “real Germans”.

    lasius said that “not all Jews are speakers of the Yiddish-language”, not “Yiddish speakers are not all Jews”. You got that completely wrong. You’re seeing winks and nudges where there are none.

  97. dianne says

    Come to think of it, the phrasing “most Jews in Germany” is rather telling. Most Jews in Germany in 1930 were Germans, apart from those who were visiting from other countries. You separate them out as a non-German group immediately.

  98. dianne says

    @104: lasius said that “not all Jews are speakers of the Yiddish-language”, not “Yiddish speakers are not all Jews”. You got that completely wrong.

    Nah, I just phrased it shittily. What I meant was that he was saying, “Oh, I only mean Yiddish speakers, not all Jews, of course and ‘Yiddish speaker’ isn’t a euphemism at all. Not in the least.”

  99. lasius says

    @ Dianne

    Now where in that statement am I saying that I don’t consider Yiddish-speakers who are Germans as Germans?

    I said Germans don’t see Yiddish-speakers who don’t self-identify as Germans as Germans.

    In the very next sentence I said that I happily consider Yiddish-speakers who self-identify as Germans as Germans.

    You are turning the words in my mouth and seeing things that aren’t there.

    And what should I have said instead of “most Jews in Germany”? “Most German Jews”? I am not a native speaker of your language, so such subtle nuances that you take exception to are hard for me to understand.

  100. lasius says

    @ Diane the comment was specifically a reply to @87 who asked about Yiddish. That is why was using the term.

  101. dianne says

    Now where in that statement am I saying that I don’t consider Yiddish-speakers who are Germans as Germans?

    Nope. You did the classic, “well, I’M not prejudiced, but many people would say…” thing. It’s well known as a way to avoid responsibility for racist statements.

    In the very next sentence I said that I happily consider Yiddish-speakers who self-identify as Germans as Germans.

    Well, no. Not exactly. What you said was, “But if they wanted to most would accept that.” “Most” would accept that. Most what? Most real Germans?

    Wenn man keine Ahnung hat, einfach mal die Fresse halten.

    Laut Dieter Nuhr, FDP mitgleider, Islamophobe, and member of the movement to deny aid to Ukraine.

  102. dianne says

    @108: No one has a problem with the term “Yiddish”. It’s a perfectly good language. It’s the claim that German citizens who speak Yiddish are not “real Germans” that is a problem.

  103. lasius says

    You are a deeply dishonest person as you misrepresent all of my statements.

    What I was saying was:

    Most Germans don’t consider Yiddish-speakers who don’t self-identify as German as Germans.

    Which is true. German Jews nowadays don’t really speak Yiddish. That is more common in Jewish communities in the USA and Israel. And those generally don’t self-identify as German and are thus not seen as German. And I am one of those people. I don’t see any person who does not self-identify as German as German.

    But if they (Yiddish-speaking Jews, and obviously German-speaking Jews too) self-identify as German, most Germans (me included) would accept that.

    Why am I always using “most”? Because not all people are like that. There are bigoted Germans who don’t see any Jews as Germans. If I would not have said “most” you woul have called me out on those assholes.

    I hate the FDP, am not an Islamophobe.

    But to be honest with you, as a pacifist I am reluctant to support the delivery of weapons to Ukraine. But I also do not support the sale of weapons by Germany to any other place and have only ever voted for parties who opposed that.

    And with this I am done justifying myself to you. Good night.

  104. Rob Grigjanis says

    dianne @106:

    Nah, I just phrased it shittily.

    You seem to have a talent for that.

  105. KG says

    Strewth@77, whheydt@80,

    I already mentioned Anglicisation of surnames, but if Germans had come in such huge numbers as to “replace” the British-descended majority of 1850, they would have had little or no motivation to anglicise their names, or switch to English as their primary language (yes, I know there are geographical/cultural pockets where 19th-century immigrants didn’t switch language, or did so considerably later, but the great majority did). As for Irish immigrants, most of their surnames would already have been familiar to those of British descent. Together with actual information about the numbers of immigrants at various times, the surname data make it pretty clear that no such “replacement” as raven claimed took place.

  106. Tethys says

    Wow, this thread has gone even weirder than a German telling people who are descended from German immigrants that they aren’t real Germans.

    Yiddish means Jewish in High German btw.
    It’s very similar, but doesn’t sound quite the same and it’s grammar is slightly different.

    lasius Which is incorrect. High German is a West Germanic Language on the same branch as English, Frisian, Dutch or low German. Old Norse was a North Germanic language (a different branch of the Germanic languages) and the ancestor of the Germanic Scandinavian languages.

    Lol. I can read old Norse, Pleuttduetsch, my horrible genealogy records in High German written in the worst script ever, and Beowulf in the original. I assure you that all of them are Germannic languages and they are mostly mutually intelligible. (Also Frankish, which is Latinized German plus some Gaul, and very wyrdd.)

  107. KG says

    dianne,
    You are just making a bigger and bigger fool of yourself – and a rather nasty fool, at that.

  108. lasius says

    “I assure you that all of them are Germannic languages”

    I never stated anything to the contrary.

    “they are mostly mutually intelligible.”

    If that is easy to you, you are an outlier. But as a native speaker of Standard German and a Missingsch dialect of German, I can assure you that Norwegian or Old English are not mutually intelligible with German.

  109. PaulBC says

    I have no idea where this thread is going, but I am adding “Christi Himmelfahrt” to my list of bad fictional names such as “Scarlet Billows” and “Noah Vale.” Gotta write that novel one of these days.

  110. KG says

    Wow, this thread has gone even weirder than a German telling people who are descended from German immigrants that they aren’t real Germans. – Tethys@114

    Yes indeed. It has people insisting that the descendants of German immigrants who don’t speak German, don’t cook German cuisine, don’t use German etiquette, don’t know anything about German politics, don’t belong to a German religious denomination, and are also descendants of immigrants from half a dozen other countries, are Germans!

  111. lasius says

    “Yiddish means Jewish in High German btw.”

    Erm, no?

    Jewish in High German is “Jüdisch”

    Yiddish in High German is “Jiddisch”

  112. KG says

    PaulBC@119,
    Well certainly, if descent is the only criterion, everyone is African! And for that matter, everyone is a fish.

  113. macallan says

    @113

    I already mentioned Anglicisation of surnames, but if Germans had come in such huge numbers as to “replace” the British-descended majority of 1850, they would have had little or no motivation to anglicise their names, or switch to English as their primary language

    Well, one big anglicising started around the first world war, when a lot of them got tired of being asked about their opinions on the Kaiser.

  114. says

    This thread is crying out for Venn diagrams.

    By the way, in case anyone’s interested – DW (a year ago) – “Germany lifts restrictions for descendants of Nazi victims to get citizenship”:

    Early Friday morning the German federal parliament passed a bill with support from all parties except the far-right Alternative for Germany. It grants German citizenship to descendants of Jews, Roma and Sinti, and political opponents whom the Nazis had stripped of citizenship or prevented from acquiring it.

    Article 116 of Germany’s post-war constitution, or Basic Law, states: “Former German citizens who, between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945, were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds and their descendants shall, on application, have their citizenship restored.”

    But for over six decades obstacles kept many descendants of German-born ancestors from claiming that right. 

    The new bill that was brought into parliament in March and has now been passed, makes it possible for a large number of descendants of Nazi victims to obtain German citizenship. This affects descendants of those who were stripped of their citizenship or lost it when they took on the nationality of their new home, or who were denied citizenship arbitrarily by the Nazis. It removes deadlines and abolishes previous restrictions. Under the new rules, German citizenship is now also available to descendants of German mothers and to children born out of wedlock.

    British lawyer Felix Couchman was one of the people who had been lobbying for years for a change in legislation.

    “It is a milestone that the law has passed. It has taken a long time for people to get where we are today” he told DW on Friday after the bill had passed.

    One of the lives the campaign affected was that of 31-year old Londoner Danny Harries.

    Harries’ grandfather had grown up near what is today’s German parliament in a neighborhood later destroyed by Hitler for a never-completed vision of Berlin. His grandfather was sent to Britain on a Kindertransport in 1939. 

    Some seventy years later Harries traveled to Berlin and worked near where his grandfather once lived. “I felt a connection to the place. A home I had never been to,” he said. “The whole experience was reconnecting to that German side of me. My grandfather actually passed away whilst I was there.”

    When Harries returned to London he and his sister began to work on their German citizenship applications. But they learned that because their parents never married they didn’t qualify. That was when they turned to the group. 

    “I think it’s wonderful news. I truly believe that justice has been done for my family and the other members of the group. I think my grandfather, who suffered so much, would be proud of what’s been achieved today,” Harries told DW after the vote. “It’s a real sign of reconciliation. And an example of what Germany can be going forward, open, progressive with a greater understanding of its past than many comparable countries. It’s a historic moment of reconciliation.”

    One of the individuals who has now become eligible for German citizenship is Robert Swieca of Sydney, Australia. Swieca’s mother was born in Berlin in 1921 but she did not become a German citizen at birth because of Germany’s lack of birthright citizenship. She would have been able to become a naturalized German citizen but she and her family fled to France in 1933 as the situation for Jews worsened in Germany and then emigrated to Australia after the war. 

    Swieca himself went to the German consulate and was told he didn’t qualify for German citizenship. This has now changed.

    “I am very happy,” he said upon hearing the news of the legislative changes. “You can’t change history but you can try and make amends.”

    “This is not just about putting things right, it is about apologizing in profound shame,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had said about the bill back in May. ”It is a huge fortune for our country if people want to become German, despite the fact that we took everything from their ancestors.”

    ABC (Australia) – “Home of the Holocaust becomes a haven for young Israeli migrants”:

    It’s one of the strangest migrations of the 21st century — Israelis moving en masse to the former Nazi capital Berlin.

    Foreign Correspondent’s Eric Campbell met some of the young Jews making a new home in a city their grandparents fled.

    Ori Halevy

    It’s Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel and Ori Halevy is pondering how to work it into his stand-up comedy routine in Berlin.

    “What else do you do on Holocaust Day?” he quips.

    He’s one of an estimated 13,000 Israelis who have moved to a city once synonymous with anti-Semitic terror.

    But Berlin is now determinedly welcoming and so international that even the comedy scene is in English.

    That’s a rich comedic mine for Mr Halevy, who enjoys making politically correct audiences squirm.

    “I don’t feel I should be paying for stuff here,” he says at the start of his routine.

    “Like a waiter comes up to me, ‘that’ll be 10 Euros, sir,’ and I’m like, ‘Really? Really? You’re not aware of the history?’ ‘This is a Vietnamese restaurant.’ ‘Yes, but still, still’.”

    The foreigners in the audience guffaw while the Berliners smile uncomfortably.

    “Germans don’t laugh at that,” he continues….

    Some interesting stuff in the article about identity in relation to age, politics, etc.

  115. Tethys says

    We covered ‘what is German’ upthread. The original tribes didn’t seem to notice or care about ethnicity, and their notions of family and relatedness were vastly different. Interchange between various tribes was the norm. We only know that they were loosely affiliated by a common language.

    Swiss, Austrian, Prussian,Tyrolian? There are many people who qualify as Germanic, without being native to the modern bit of land known as Germany.

    I was 12 before I discovered that the French make chocolate mōōs. I do have distant cousins who are still living in Germany, and collections of old family cookbooks and recipes written in German. The Christmas cookies and baked goods are particularly amazing, though I’m not under any impression that baking pfefferneuse recipes that call for hartshorn makes me a citizen of Germany. My Paternal family name is Volk so I’m not going to start claiming I’m anything other than German when asked about my genetic ethnicity. I’m certainly not Native American, which is what people in the USA mean when they identify themselves as their European country of origin.

  116. StevoR says

    @ 93. whheydt & Rob Grigjanis v=#91 & various :

    Re: Rob Grigjanis @ #91…
    And probably the most famous one… ‘bee-wolf’ for bear.

    The practice is actually much, much older. The actual word for ‘bear’ from proto-indo-european is unknown because every word for bear that has come down to us is a kenning.

    Thanks, I had no idea of that & hadn’t heard about those or the other one’s mentioned here. All news to me & interesting, cheers.

    @ 90. lasius : Thanks.

    Oddly (or maybe not so much?) the place I most associate with Yiddish is New York City in the USA because of its Diaspora community and strong cultural influence. Maybe that’s just me?

    @99. PaulBC : Wikipedia (sorry but I quite like Wikipedia at least as an initial checking up on “what’s that?” source though admit it has its flaws.) :

    https://de-m-wikipedia-org.translate.goog/wiki/Christi_Himmelfahrt?_x_tr_sl=de&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc

    @ 89 macallan :

    In Germany, by legal definition, a german is anyone with german citizenship. That’s it.

    Yet then you have other non-legal definitions that focus on culture and ancestry and language and other factors so, yeah. It becomes fuzzier and more depends on what you define as German or mean by the term rather than as clear-cut and a big part of it is self-identifying.

    My apologies for sparking the subsequent imbroglio here.

  117. PaulBC says

    StevoR@125 Yes I know (or could half guess with my limited German–Christ Heaven Trip–and then looked it up). I was trying to be funny, perhaps unsuccessfully. I still think Christi Himmelfahrt could be an Olympic figure skater.

  118. PaulBC says

    @125

    Oddly (or maybe not so much?) the place I most associate with Yiddish is New York City in the USA because of its Diaspora community and strong cultural influence. Maybe that’s just me?

    Well, it was certainly popularized by Borscht Belt comedians, and has made its way into American speech: “schmaltz” (sentimental entertainment, literally chicken fat), “kvetch” (complain), “schmuck”, etc.

    Schmuck is an interesting one. I remember seeing the word “Weihnachtsschmuck” while living in Zürich. I wondered what the heck is a Christmas Schmuck? Never mind. It’s just Christmas ornaments*.

    “Schmuck” is “penis” in Yiddish (so it’s like calling someone a dick, so far so good.) Wikipedia says there is no connection to the German term (though I thought somewhere I read that it did; it’s kind of an ornament, right?).

    *Not to be confused with Schmutzli, a Swiss Christmas tradition.

  119. dianne says

    Christihimmelfahrt is supposed to be the day that Christ rose into heaven. Don’t ask me how they determined it. It’s a holiday in Baden. See also Mariahimmelfahrt. I believe it comes under the heading of “any excuse to party” rather than a religious belief. Contrary to the US stereotype, Germans are party animals and love their holidays no matter how silly they may think their origins. One of my favorite memories is asking a German what Pfingsten was and having him stare at me for a minute and then say, “It’s a holiday. That’s a day you would normally work but you take off and spend time relaxing instead.” I was so stunned at the idea that he thought that I needed to have holiday defined that I didn’t clear up the misconception and never did learn what Pfinsgeten was. (Though at this point it’s a deliberate ignorance strictly for the punch line, so don’t bother telling me what it is.)

  120. dianne says

    Most Germans don’t consider Yiddish-speakers who don’t self-identify as German as Germans.

    Who are these people? If you’re talking about Yiddish speaking New Yorkers, then by all means, they’re not German. If you’re talking about Yiddish speaking Germans, then please provide some evidence, any evidence, that there is a Yiddish speaking German community that doesn’t consider itself German despite having German passports or identity cards.

    I don’t see any person who does not self-identify as German as German.

    How do you know that they don’t self-identify as German? Do you go up and ask every person you meet on the street, “Hej, mensch, sind Sie Deutsch?” or what? If they have German passports are you willing to say that they are indeed German? You were just calling out USians for identifying as German even though they lack a connection to Germany and a passport/state ID seems like a pretty big connection, more important than language or whether they eat Saumagen three times a day.

    I think the schools in Germany may be falling down on the job in teaching about the Holocaust if you don’t realize that categorization of Jews (and Romani, etc) as non-German was an early move in the road to genocide. Check out the Wannsee Protokoll if you don’t know it already. It talks about removing Jews from German land. They’re talking about Nth generation German Jews. See the problem? You may mean it as a way of supporting a self-identification, but it can be and is used to justify genocide. If you don’t care for that example, the US can provide others, including examples of people being deported to Mexico despite being US citizens because they spoke Spanish. Would these people have self-identified as USian? Probably not if you ask them “who are you?” but they certainly would if you asked them what their citizenship was. Once you start separating out a minority group and claiming it isn’t really a part of the larger society, there’s going to be a problem.

    That being said, if you meant that non-German Yiddish speakers don’t identify as German then I apologize for misunderstanding you and agree that they are not. They’re USian or Israeli or whatever else.

  121. lasius says

    @ dianne

    “I think the schools in Germany may be falling down on the job in teaching about the Holocaust if you don’t realize that categorization of Jews (and Romani, etc) as non-German was an early move in the road to genocide. ”

    I said the same thing in the post you objected too. My school quite comprehensively taught me about the Holocaust. Please read what I write carefully and don’t jump to conclusions the next time.

    “That being said, if you meant that non-German Yiddish speakers don’t identify as German then I apologize for misunderstanding you and agree that they are not. They’re USian or Israeli or whatever else.”

    This was all I ever meant to say. I did not expect an apology from you, but I take it.

  122. dianne says

    @lasius: I would have thought that my persistently referring to Yiddish speakers who are German citizens would have given you some clue of what I was talking about, but sure, you totally never met Yiddish speaking Germans. You just missed that point in half a dozen of my comments.

  123. dianne says

    So how about a simple question: Do you consider all German citizens to be German? Even if their last name is Sahin or Tuereci?

  124. dianne says

    Eh, I’m being unnecessarily pedantic about this. Let’s just say that I have reasons to feel worried and defensive when people of the majority religion/ethnic group/whatever start discussing why Jews or a subset of Jews are not part of the country and leave it at that.

  125. lasius says

    @ dianne

    “Do you consider all German citizens to be German? Even if their last name is Sahin or Tuereci?”

    By nationality, obviously yes. By ethnicity, not necessarily, but that has nothing to do with their last name.

    A US-citizen for example can also be a German citizen if they can prove unbroken citizenship of their ancestors, even if they have no clue about German language or culture. I would not consider those people ethnically German even though they may be German citizens.

  126. dianne says

    “I don’t feel I should be paying for stuff here,” he says at the start of his routine.

    “Like a waiter comes up to me, ‘that’ll be 10 Euros, sir,’ and I’m like, ‘Really? Really? You’re not aware of the history?’ ‘This is a Vietnamese restaurant.’ ‘Yes, but still, still’.”

    I think I’d be part of the crowd that just sat there looking uncomfortable. Not because of the not paying in Berlin part, but because there is other history besides the Holocaust. A good 20, 25 years later, the dear friend of the comedian’s home (former?) country did some things in Vietnam that make a probably white English speaking dude demanding free stuff from a Vietnamese establishment a bit wince worthy. At least it wasn’t a Lebanese restaurant.

  127. John Morales says

    Germans are Europeans and Nigerians are African.
    Notable how Africans are usually lumped together, but Europeans are not likewise.

    These are these minutiae about affiliation, ancestry, ethnicity, culture and whatnot at a national level.

    Clans, tribes, states, nations, such important groupings!

    Anyway, this “replacement theory” seems silly to me. Babies are babies.
    They will grow up acculturated within whatever milieu they inhabit.

    Replacing people with people, what a worry!

  128. PaulBC says

    dianne@129 It’s not just in Germany. Catholics observe Ascension Thursday (term in English) as a holy day of obligation. I don’t think it is “determined” as the actual day. That’s just the observance (and usually no parties, just mass). The other one sounds like the feast of the Assumption (let me check) (yes), which is the doctrine that “the immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever virgin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.” I guess each qualify as a Himmelfahrt though the English terms distinguish between the manner of travel.

    The Ascension is depicted in art with the disciples watching. I am not sure if there is as specific a description of the Assumption.

  129. rorschach says

    This thread has come a long way from addressing the replacement theory BS! Like all the other irrational, illogical, invented christofascist Q crap, I don’t think addressing it with the tools of science and empiricism is the way to go. It just has to be laughed at and be made fun of.
    Whether I identify as German because I am born there, or because I follow Bayern Munich and drink beer from one litre mugs is entirely irrelevant. Enough people identify as Jewish because they like weird looking chandeliers and snipping little boys’ foreskins off. Genes are only one category with which people commonly try to define ethnicity or descent or (gasp) race, as mistaken and scientifically inaccurate as this may be.
    The whole replacement theory shit can be answered with one of Australia’s current(hopefully only for another 2 days)Prime Minister’s favourite quips when he doesn’t want to answer a question, “I reject the premise”.

  130. Tethys says

    I don’t agree that you can’t equate genes with descent. Jewish people have distinct genetic profiles, no matter where in the world they lived after 70 AD because they are insular, and generally married and had families with other Jewish people.

    My DNA test results may as well be a map of the dividing line between High German and Middle German dialects. Weiss/wurst (I cannot write Weiss correctly, as English lacks a curly G.)

    In any case, it’s simply presumptuous for anyone to think they get to tell others they do not qualify as an ethnicity unless they physically live in any particular spot. It’s equally presumptuous for Europeans to call themselves American, because it’s offensive to the Natives of the
    America’s.

    As far as lasius and their strange claims @120 Me “Yiddish means Jewish in High German btw.”
    Erm, no?
    Jewish in High German is “Jüdisch”
    Yiddish in High German is “Jiddisch”

    Are you German? Can you read what you just wrote? How did you not notice that J is pronounced Y in German? The Jewish people come from Judea and Jerusalem and their everyday language is Yidditsch. Ancient Germanic J/Y is pronounced yera, and means year, harvest. Also see the words fjord, and Bjorn.

    The English speak English, in Spain it’s Spanish.
    Duetsch? The suffix changes spelling quite a bit, and obviously means the spoken language of X group.

  131. whheydt says

    Re: Tethys @ #142…
    You mean the German double S character that looks like a lower case Greek beta, eszett? “ss” (as you used it) is a perfectly acceptable transliteration.

  132. PaulBC says

    whheydt@143 I am milking my year in Zürich for all it’s worth but they don’t use it in Switzerland, so you see spellings like “massstab”. I remember that specifically on a sign or outdoor ad, though I am not sure for what.

  133. lasius says

    @Tethys

    Yes I am a native German speaker. And I have to unfortunately tell you that whenever you say anything about linguics in these threads you are making some errors.

    Yiddish is (or was) the language of the Ashkenazi, the Jews that can trace their culture back to the Upper Rhine Valley Jewish communities of the early Middle Ages. Other parts of the Jewish diaspora speak and spoke different languages.

    Yiddish does simply not mean Jewish in German.

    The German word “jiddisch” refers to the Yiddish language, the German word “jüdisch” means Jewish.

  134. Tethys says

    @whhedyt

    Thanks, I’m never sure how to spell things in German according to modern standards.
    I’m thinking it would be better as weisz/wurst, as weiss could also be white. Now I am hungry for Weinershnitzel. ;)

  135. Tethys says

    @lasius

    German is made of phonemes, jah. Just like Latin and Greek. The suffix -itsch is very consistently stuck on the ethnonym to form the word for the language. Why are you arguing about it?

  136. lasius says

    This is another example:

    “My DNA test results may as well be a map of the dividing line between High German and Middle German dialects.”

    This makes no sense. First, if by Middle German you mean Central German, then that’s a subgroup of High German.

    High German = Central German + Upper German.

    Second, no ancestry test can give you a resolution like that in a species as mobile as humans.

    “In any case, it’s simply presumptuous for anyone to think they get to tell others they do not qualify as an ethnicity unless they physically live in any particular spot. It’s equally presumptuous for Europeans to call themselves American, because it’s offensive to the Natives of the America’s.”

    I am not talking about living in a particular spot, I am talking of being part of a particular culture.

    So if you say it’s presumptuous to tell other people they can’t be part of an ethnicity even if they have no cultural connection to it, can I call myself a native American and any that object are just presumptuous?

  137. lasius says

    I am arguing that the word Yiddish (or Jiddisch) does not mean Jewish in German as you claimed. Easy as that.

  138. lasius says

    Also “-isch” (as it would be in German) is not a phoneme but a suffix.

  139. Tethys says

    I prefer spelling it properly, with all the letters, you silly wooden-headed troll.

    Standardized spelling is a recent phenomenon. It isn’t rare to find the same word spelled in multiple ways within the same paragraph.

    Xiutheasu is the oldest example I can find (written in Germanic) of the word Judeans. It’s in Runic, and uses the letter G=X. The next line says THERUruulim = Jerusalem in the Latin alphabet. You might notice the lack of a Letter called J in either spelling, because it did not exist yet.

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