For all of my life, I have been influenced by the European traditions in my family. Since I’m 1/4 German and 2/4 Italian and 1/4 Austrian, the biggest influence is the Italian one. I have spent my childhood learning about family, tradition and I have been taught what the role of the man is. From my German and Austrian lineage, the strongest traits I have are the tough ways of two of my grandparents (being that my grandmother by my mother’s side was Austrian and my grandfather by my father’s side was German) which were very hard-working and focused people. They were very diligent about working and hated losing time they could spend advancing work. From the Italian side (the majority) I have got the handcrafting, the cooking and the herb using, as well as a lot of life concepts too.
Now, both these sides suffered horrors when they left Europe. They were promised a temporary work, and if they worked hard enough here, they would be sent back to Europe, receiving lands to live off of. However, once they got here, they realized they were fooled. Their names were registered wrong, they didn’t speak the language, the people who lived here didn’t like their “racial background” and they barely had where to live. The men had to work as slaves. Real slaves. They got beaten and had almost no salary at all. No one cared for them. Their families had to deal with near starving conditions of poverty. That’s something real, something from my family. My mother had hard times as a child and saw her family go through serious periods of hunger.
I don’t have anything like that, because my family worked so hard they almost died (my grandfather actually died from pushing himself too hard). All I can have for them is gratitude, admiration and eternal love. They had to deal with so much emotional suffering. They were taken from their land, fooled, they lost contact with those who stayed, missing them day after day, not knowing of their parents and brothers. How much more did they have to suffer so people would stop saying that being white is being “automatically privileged“?
My family kept in a closed lineage, marrying mostly other Italians and Germans. There is even the story of a great aunt who married a Portuguese man and was expelled from the family. Yet, I am not in Europe -or, at least, not yet. I am so closely related to Europe in terms of blood that I have the right to a dual citizenship, which can bring me back there. I have many fears related to it. I am scared of failing. I am scared of not belonging here nor there. Maybe I don’t fit anywhere. Maybe the Europeans who love Europe as I do are gone. Even if that is the case, the only way of finding out is going back. My heart will never ease if I don’t go back to my roots. My pain has no other relief. We are bound to blood and soil and nothing can change that. Nothing will ever change me.