Saturday, May 20, 2006

Not Mutually Exclusive

A recent study--Scottish Social Attitudes Survey of 1,500+ Scots--shows that Scottish people identify other Scots by accent rather than race. The survey found that "most believed that having the right accent made you Scottish - not the colour of your skin." Amen to that.

Since moving to the US I cannot count the number of times people have said things like, "Wow--Scottish AND Jewish! How does that happen?," have wondered why my childhood photos have Black kids in them, or are incredulous to hear that a few of my Scottish friends from University are not white.

Well, DUH!!

Point One: Judaism is a religion. It's also an ethnicity, I suppose. But if you can convert to it, then obviously you can be any nationality AND Jewish. There are Chinese Jews for heaven's sake. Born in China for several generations. Why so hard to believe that there are Jewish Scottish people if it's not hard to believe that there are Catholic, Protestant and Sikh Scottish people?

Point Two: Many of the doctors at my local hospital growing up came from African nations. If their children were born in Scotland, they were Scottish. And Black. It's not that odd. The major newscaster when I was growing up (our version of Tom Brokaw, if you will) was Black. Born in Scotland, with an accent as thick as my mom's. Totally Scottish. No big deal.

Point Three: Same as point two, I suppose. Although, the key piece of additional information from the survey is this: "Nine out of 10 people surveyed said a non-white person who spoke with a local accent could claim to be Scottish. But fewer than half said they would view someone born in England as a Scot, even if they had a Scottish accent."

Now THAT is quintessentially Scottish, my friends! Born in Kenya? Scottish. Born in Mongolia? Scottish. Born in Tasmania? Scottish. Born in England? Not a freakin' chance.

1 comment:

Joe Tornatore said...

Great Scott!