A Facebook post by a friend: " I just saw someone get their panties knotted up by being called a Euro American. I do not understand why someone would be upset about it." So I replied, in my typically long winded way...
There is a long and dark chapter of U.S. history when Italians and other Mediterranean people were not considered to be Europeans. That designation was reserved for people from northern Europe. Up until the 1940s or so, Southern Europeans, as well as Jews, were not considered to be white, at least for immigration quota purposes. "Authentic" Europeans were greatly advantaged when it came to such things as immigration, jobs and even access to services. Think "white privilege" minus swarthy Italians and the like. Although it had more to do with their being Roman Catholic than not being "Euro-American", the KKK used to lynch Italians.
Irish Catholics faced similar oppression. In one notable event in history, Fred Trump (Donald's dad) was arrested at a KKK rally in NJ that turned into a riot, They were protesting police violence delivered at the hands of anti-American and anti-god Irish Catholic cops. Back then, Blue Lives mattered only if you were "authentically" white..
Much like the contemporary Gay Pride and Black Pride movements, Italians and Irish had their own pride movements, resulting in Columbus and St. Patrick's Day. These are celebrations of ethnic pride and not an occasion to celebrate being Euro-American, a designation denied to them for so long.
To which she answered " Sucks then, that they would be so angered now." So I ventured a guess about why some folks get offended.
These people might get angry at the attempt, intended or not, to erase their ethnic identity with the term Euro-American. And ethnic identity is important to many people.
In Portland, there is a German American Society. In Seattle there are both the Sons of Norway and the Daughters of Norway. Seattle is the home of the National Hellenic Society. Rochester NY has an Italian American Community Center. We had our wedding reception in a Polish Cultural Center. As far as I know, there is no Euro-American Society, Community or Cultural Center. There are no Sons or Daughters of Europe anywhere in the U.S.
However, there are white supremacist groups who identify as Euro-American as a counter to term African-American.
I'll never identify myself or anyone else as Euro-American. And when asked where my family is from, I say "my family is from Earth. And yours?" If they say their family is also from Earth, I say, "Hey, we might even be related."
For me, that's not erasing my ethnic heritage. It me saying, "no I won't play the game of 'what ethnic stereotype fits you best"" But I'm happy to identify as Italian/Scot and Dutch to people who I want to know. And I just did, :)
I'm awaiting her reply.