Re: Being half Greek in America

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Posted by Chris on February 03, 2002 at 12:15:02:

In Reply to: Re: Being half Greek in America posted by Vicky on February 02, 2002 at 14:53:27:

: Hi Amy

: I too am only half-Greek, and I have also noticed that this can present some problems. For one thing I live with my mom who is not greek and not orthodox, but catholic. as such, i was born and raised as a catholic and im proud of my faith. I am somewhat involved in the greek community, and i have often hard a time from many other people. i was not allowed to join a greek youth group, because it is exclusively for greek orthodox kids, regardless of the fact my dad is of this religion. in addition i was told that i was not christian. you can look at it one way, and be hurt that your own people will not accept u to be one of them... or you can look on the other side like i did and laugh it off.. only someone narrow-minded and set in their ways still holds a grudge against catholics after the schism so many years ago, and does not recognize them as christians! so Amy dont worry about your relatives who may think this or that about you, or that you are not greek enough for them.. just know yourself and be proud of that person, and if they dont like it, thats their loss. the greek culture is truly amazing, i love the music and dancing, the people in general, but sometimes, for my own good, i have learned to turn my head to some comments and things they do, and simply be proud of who i am, for its not worth your worrying about it!
: Vicky

: : 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.

Re: Half Greek, I am Polish and married into a Greek family. I am not treated differently or poorly by my Greek in-laws, and my children were baptized in the Greek Orthodox church and are treated equally in both family and church. Actually, I converted to the Orthodox Church from the Catholic so that we could all go to church as a family. I also felt as someone previously mentioned, that the Orthodox Church is very similar to the Catholic in its beliefs and practices; the few differences they have didn't affect my worship of God. I will agree with you though, that the Greeks are very strong in their ethnic pride (I have one relative who gets on my nerves, always saying how great Greeks are!) I do enjoy a lot about the Greek heritage, namely the food and the music and dance. I am also very proud to be Polish and thank my parents for bringing me up with a knowledge and practice of Polish-Catholic heritage.
Chris, mother of two half-Greek children

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