Being half Greek in America

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Posted by Amy on February 01, 2002 at 11:17:21:

I have read through some of these posts and one of them mentioned how a lot of Greek families get offended if a child marries a non-Greek. This is so true. Both of my parents are half Greek. My (mom's side)grandpa was Greek, but would not marry my grandma as she was non-Greek, and never would admit that my mom was his daughter! Then, my (dad's) mom is full Greek, but married a non-Greek. She was ostracized for it and I only just met my other Greek relatives. Because of the Greeks in my family behaving so strangely, I was not raised with much Greek culture of my own, was not raised Orthodox, etc. My parents weren't either. I only met some Greek relatives recently, and they are becoming more flexible because they are Americanized more.

So, in college, I studied history and theology and decided on my own to be Catholic. My great uncle (who I just met) is not happy about this, but Catholics and Orthodox are not even that much different! I can understand a Greek being upset to hear of a Greek Moslem (anyone who knows ANY Greek history would immediately understand how that would be very upsetting for most Greeks to hear...I mean, come on...a little cultural sensitivity!), but a Greek Catholic is not that revolutionary. I find it amazing how they will be so critical of me after I was really not raised Greek at all.

For me, it is just hard, because I was simply born into this strange situation. I am kind wedged between two cultures. I do not know Greek, so if I say I am Greek, some other Greek will say "No your not". Do you know how that hurts?

I think a lot of the customs are the way they are because Greeks want to preserve their culture and not be thrown in a melting pot, which is fine, but when it comes to halfbreeds like me...we sometimes wonder if these considerations come before genuine family. Being a halfie, Greeks do not always seem to take care for their own at all. You have to meet qualifications to merit being treated like genuine family (be purebred, Orthodox, married to a Greek, etc).

I do not mean to upset anyone at all. I am just offering a perspective as someone who was born half Greek. The consequences can be hard to handle.

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