Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One Way to Divide America: Ethnicity

I promised posts on the balkanized North America trope, and damn it, I am going to do it.  So let us consider the one issue that makes it hard to divide America: ethnicity.  One thing the United States lack are large concentrations of ethnic minorities.  Below is a map of self-reported ethnic groups by county from the year 2000:


Now do not let yourself be confused by this map.  The coloring each country received represents the largest single ethnic group in the country.  It does not mean, however, that the group is the majority of the population.  Still it could be fun to speculate what would a balkanized United States look like if it was divided along ethnic lines...


The map above was made by Ben Carnehl.  Is it plausible?  Probably not, though there have been ethnic-centric secessionist groups in American history like the Republic of Lakotah, the Raza Unida Party, Voz de Aztlan and the Republic of New Afrika.  The map does represent the great imagination an alternate historian can possess.  Do you have your own maps showing a balkanized North America?  Send them to ahwupdate@gmail.com and I will post the best on this blog.

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Mitro is founder, editor and contributor of Alternate History Weekly Update. When he is not busy writing about his passion for alternate history, he spends his time working as a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois and dreams of being a published author himself one day.

13 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I wish we could see something similar working with the mandala theory of socio-political organization, or else charts that could examine the rate of influence of home countries. I.E. Germans may have a major zone, but are they well-liked and able to access resources/goods from Germany or would they be considered rogues who have to find a way to balance preserving their culture but trade with others, perhaps even historic rivals?

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    1. Don't quote me on this, but the German zone of America is not that German. I am sure there are ethnic Germans out there who do their best to preserve the culture, but most German-Americans are old families who have been here for a long time. They are probably more American then the people who list their ethnicity as "American". Why do you think hot dogs are a popular American cuisine?

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    2. As a German descendant, I've done a little reading on the topic. German-Americans' status as a "visible ethnic group" disintegrated quickly after the US entered World War I.

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    3. My family too. It just wasn't okay to be German after 1911. But of course in THIS alternate timeline, who knows how New World German ethnicity would be conceptualized.

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  2. Sorry for the bump, but for example my parents put German on the census, but tracing my ancestry back I am more of a mutt. I wouldn't be surprised if there was an African-American and/or Native American ancestor somewhere in there, be we haven't found either of them.

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  3. Go back far enough and EVERYONE is a mutt! I'm an average English male and yet I reckon even I have English, Scottish, Irish, German and/or Dutch ancestors, also including Roman Catholic, Baptist, 'Wee Free' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Church_of_Scotland_%281843%E2%80%931900%29) and Jewish in terms of religion.

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  5. Louisiana was founded by french speaking people from canada, and should go to quebec

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    1. You mean the Acadians and while it is true they were originally from Canada and lived there until the Great Expulsion of 1755–1763, I think it is safe to assume that after 200+ of being separated from Quebec they would have developed their own distinct culture. Granted you could argue why didn't Ben give those counties in the northeast to France, but I think it is also safe to assume that since they are isolated from the sea by Canada, they would most likely go to Quebec if they went anywhere.

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  6. Not surprised to see that every immigrant group is acknowledged except Asians. Then again, at least it accurately reflects the mindset of most Americans today.

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    1. First, Ben's map is based off the map above it which shows "self-reported ethnic groups by county from the year 2000" as mentioned in the article. If no counties came up Asian, its because they are not in the majority of any county on the continental US. Second, "Asian" is a term used to describe race, not ethnicity. Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Indians, etc. are examples of an ethnicity from Asia. Third, this map reflects no mindset, only actual reported census data.

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    2. Thank you for replying to the whiner

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  7. Having been born in the U.S ,I am of course an American. Ethnically however I am Irish as both parents came from there and I wonder if I could find out if I have any other ethnicity as all the ancestors that I am aware of are Irish///

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