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Amanda Moores

Ethnicity
When learning about ethnicity it is important to know that it is a collaboration
of self- identification and the identification that a broader society imposes upon a
person. Ethnicity can be further defined, in an online dictionary, as identity with or
membership in a particular racial, national, or cultural group and observance of that
group's customs, beliefs, and language. An example of Irish ethnicity was observed
by sociologist, John Steckley, at a seniors dinner and dance in Orangeville, Ontario.
This small town is ironically named after the Orange Lodge, which is deeply rooted
in Northern Ireland. In the late 1960s until 1998 there were what is known as the
Troubles in Northern Ireland. The Troubles saw both ethnicities of Irish (Catholic) and
Northern Irish (usually Protestant and British) engage in a series of horrible fights in
which 3,500 people between both ethnicities were killed. Presently there is
suggested peace between the two parties, but these times have left many who
experienced the fighting or grew up with the stories, with memories and embedded
feelings of hate towards the opposing side. The example of imposed ethnicity John
Steckley observed was when a good friend of his wifes from Northern Ireland, who
has been living in Canada a long time, had cousins along with them at the dance
from Northern Ireland. When the one-man-band was made aware of the cousins
visit from across the sea he began to play a set with typical Irish music. The friends
cousin quickly became hurt and upset by hearing this music. The reason for this is
because the music being played was from Ireland and not Northern Ireland. To a
person in Canada who is not aware of the Troubles, it would be difficult to
understand why someone would be offended by music from Ireland. The reason the
man is offended is probably because the musician may have thought that everyone
from Ireland would have the same ethnicity and appreciate the same music. The

Amanda Moores

musician imposed this ethnicity on the man from Northern Ireland who was aware of
and probably affected greatly by the Troubles. The cousin from Northern Ireland
does not identify ethnically with the people from Ireland, he had his association
denied and was associated with people who may have killed members of his family
or those close to him. If I were the one-man-band and a situation like this arises
again, before I played any music from a certain region, I would first speak with the
person and ask them if they had any requests for songs. If the exact same situation
occurred and it was someone from Ireland, I would then ask them about their
background and find out exactly where they are from in Ireland before I began to
play. The friend blamed herself for the unfortunate situation that occurred because
she was the person who introduced the cousin from Ireland. She blamed herself
incorrectly because she has lived in Canada for so long that the Troubles did not
have the same impact or effect on her. She left Northern Ireland before the Troubles
began, and she has both Catholics and Protestants in her family. This story is a
good example of why we should not judge a book by its cover and also not
presume people are from a certain ethnicity based solely on the country or region of
the world they come from.