Does Yankee/WASP culture still exist?
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  Does Yankee/WASP culture still exist?
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Author Topic: Does Yankee/WASP culture still exist?  (Read 3387 times)
darklordoftech
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« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2017, 09:10:54 AM »

Both terms are subject to varying definition and both have evolved over time, but I would consider these to be two different groups, though with some overlap. For one thing WASP typically implies someone high end. Yankee is a term derived from the Dutch phrase for "white trash"

Yankees encompass a whole range of incomes, and are defined chiefly as decedents of English Calvinists who first came to America in New England and then spread across the Northern Tier from Maine to Oregon. Now a lot of them are no longer practicing Calvinists. But you can certainly find them in that band of states, typically it is easier to do so in the rural areas of those states.


I would say WASP culture has become more inclusive, and Yankees still exist. A number of them still probably eating the same New England inspired diet and still attending one of a number of Calvinist churches. I would wager such church attendance is higher among the Yankee exodus in the Midwestern states then among those that never left New England.
I was under the impression that "Yankee" and "WASP" both refer to the descendents of the Puritans and the culture rooted in the Puritans.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2017, 10:22:58 AM »

Also the notably more liberal-than-other-Lutherans ECLA is the only Lutheran denomination considered “mainline”, and the aforementioned RCA is pretty liberal too - especially compared to most non-mainline Reformed churches. The more uniformly conservative Lutheran and Reformed denominations are not part of the Republican electoral majority among white mainline Protestants that I had mentioned.

We were Missouri Synod when we lived in Peoria and have been ELCA since we moved to Iowa City ... honestly, I was shocked to hear anyone categorize Missouri Synod as "Evangelical" and not "Mainline," even if it's accurate.  It was more conservative, but it is still Lutheran, and that classification surprised me.
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Crumpets
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« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2017, 07:57:11 PM »

[In Michael Scott voice] YAAAANKEE WASP!

Okay. I got it out of my system.
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Nyvin
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« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2017, 09:21:12 AM »

I read the title as "Does Yankee SWAP culture still exist" and was like...yeah, I did one at work two weeks ago!
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2018, 02:43:17 AM »

Both terms are subject to varying definition and both have evolved over time, but I would consider these to be two different groups, though with some overlap. For one thing WASP typically implies someone high end. Yankee is a term derived from the Dutch phrase for "white trash"

Yankees encompass a whole range of incomes, and are defined chiefly as decedents of English Calvinists who first came to America in New England and then spread across the Northern Tier from Maine to Oregon. Now a lot of them are no longer practicing Calvinists. But you can certainly find them in that band of states, typically it is easier to do so in the rural areas of those states.


I would say WASP culture has become more inclusive, and Yankees still exist. A number of them still probably eating the same New England inspired diet and still attending one of a number of Calvinist churches. I would wager such church attendance is higher among the Yankee exodus in the Midwestern states then among those that never left New England.
I was under the impression that "Yankee" and "WASP" both refer to the descendents of the Puritans and the culture rooted in the Puritans.

Well Puritan culture as it existed in the 1600's hasn't existed probably since the 1600's. It has evolved over time obviously, but Yankee culture was certainly present as late as the early 20th century. To the extent that Yankees have diffused is a product of massive integration of the country in terms of transportation and media, intermarriage with mostly Germans (like my maternal grandparents who married after WWII), and the loss of community based ritual, harmony and self awareness (byproduct of spreading out over the country, a process that actually began in the early 1800's when they spilled into upstate New York, the Midwest and then Oregon).

Aspects of the culture exist on a massive scale as a result of the appropriation by other groups, meanwhile its culture still exists in small towns that have not changed much in population over the last fifty to sixty years.
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ExtremeRepublican
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« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2018, 12:19:16 AM »

I wonder if we could say that Southern suburbs now resemble it, provided WASP can still mean evangelical, not just mainline?
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darklordoftech
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« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2018, 04:00:00 AM »

I wonder if we could say that Southern suburbs now resemble it, provided WASP can still mean evangelical, not just mainline?
Southern evangelicalism has always been distinct from WASP and Puritan moralizing. WASP culture supported abolishionism, women's suffrage, and public education while southern evangelicalism opposed those things.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2018, 08:52:32 PM »

WASP seems to be mainly used in the Northeast and maybe some Midwestern pockets like Chicago, where there's a lot of "ethnic whites"; in the South the term is redundant given that the vast majority of whites in the South are Anglo Saxon and Protestant.
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All Along The Watchtower
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« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2018, 01:24:32 PM »

Anyway, (many on) this forum's obsession with "Yankee/WASP culture" is telling.
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darklordoftech
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« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2018, 01:46:18 AM »

Anyway, (many on) this forum's obsession with "Yankee/WASP culture" is telling.
For me, it's because they were arguably the primary force influencing American culture and politics from the 1600s until 1964.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2018, 12:07:55 AM »

The "W" originally stood for Wealthy, and referred to the ascendant economic class, who might attribute their financial success to the rectitude and diligence associated with their faith, as well as the innate superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2024, 12:28:19 AM »

Came across this interesting quote from the late Christopher Hitchens: "somewhere in the subtext of all this is the ticklish question of race and the awkward matter of class.  Ethnic hierarchy actually confuses the two things in a revealingly minor way since the word WASP, which denotes a racial and religious group, is only ever applied to a certain social layer of it (George Bush is a WASP.  George Wallace may have been a white Protestant of Anglo-Saxon descent, and even rather vocal on all three points, but a WASP he was not.)"
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Bismarck
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« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2024, 09:55:45 AM »

Most of the”WASP” affluent communities are today either Jewish or half Protestant half Catholic. We basically had a demographic replacement of our elite in the past 50 years.
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Spectator
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« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2024, 01:46:36 PM »

What little of that culture that still exists doesn't vote Republican at all anymore, and largely stopped doing so once Trump came on the scene. Towns like New Canaan and Darien in Connecticut are probably the most famous examples. The Upper East Side of Manhattan stopped voting for any Republican not named Mike Bloomberg in the early 2000s. Westchester County GOP strength has gone extinct in the Trump era.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2024, 04:23:27 PM »

The term is mostly used in the Northeast, where there were strong ethnic distinctions among whites.  In Beyond the Melting Pot (written in the 1960s), Glazer and Moynihan define WASPs as follows:

Quote
Even in New York they bear the prestige of representing the "majority," whatever that might be, and, more significantly, they dominate the large banks, the large insurance companies, the large corporations that make their headquarters in the city. Young people flock to the city to work in its communications industries, advertising industries, in the corporate office buildings, and they discover they have become WASPs. This odd term includes descendants of early Dutch settlers (there are still a few), of early English and Scottish settlers (there are some of those, too) immigrants and descendants of immigrants from Great Britain, and migrants to the city from parts of the country which have had substantial proportions of British, English-speaking background. Merged into this mix may be persons of German background who no longer feel ethnically identified as German Americans.

In other words, what they're saying is "WASP" was kind of an imposed term to give the "majority American" group an ethnic identity in a city where ethnic identity was salient.  In Indianapolis or Kansas City, say, where a majority were white Protestants the term wouldn't really be used.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2024, 04:34:23 PM »

It's really in New York and Boston where you have both a significant "establishmentarian" element and ethnic distinctions among whites where the term is most commonly used. 

Top white ethnicities in the 2020 census:

New York MSA

Italian 2,327,027 11.6%
Irish 2,044,867 10.2%
German 1,422,698 7.1%
English 948,060 4.7%

Boston MSA

Irish  1,128,954  22.8%
English  672,777  13.6%
Italian  614,914  12.4%

Hardly any WASPs in the NYC region at all.   It deviates greatly from the US norm - Italian is the most common white ancestry group and Italian Americans and Jews combined make up about half of the NHW population.  So they don't really "dominate" any geography.

Boston still has a lot of English ancestry, much more so than NYC.  But Irish are really dominant and they've caught up with WASPs long ago.



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RINO Tom
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« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2024, 04:39:27 PM »

What little of that culture that still exists doesn't vote Republican at all anymore, and largely stopped doing so once Trump came on the scene. Towns like New Canaan and Darien in Connecticut are probably the most famous examples. The Upper East Side of Manhattan stopped voting for any Republican not named Mike Bloomberg in the early 2000s. Westchester County GOP strength has gone extinct in the Trump era.

I would not say "at all," but yes they have shifted far to the left of their ancestors.  With that said, this is nearly impossible to judge ... the country clubs of Connecticut were likely 90% Protestant in 1960 ... what do you think they are today?  Certainly more than 10% Jewish, Catholic or unaffiliated - and yes, the (Mainline) PROTESTANT part of WASP culture is quite simply not something that can now be disregarded because the country is more secular.  Unless there is a study done at a SUPER granular level that attempts to identify wealthy areas where English (or Scottish) surnames are especially prominent, the simple fact is that these people will not be "visible" in most statistics you would try to use to prove how they vote.  They're minorities pretty much everywhere.

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King of Kensington
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« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2024, 06:45:41 PM »

Speaking of Connecticut, here's the ancestry for Fairfield County:

Fairfield County, 2020 Census:

Irish  150,558  15.7%
Italian  145,841  15.2%
English  99,876  10.4%
German  93,632  9.8%

Jewish population  60,400  6.3% (via 2020 Brandeis Jewish Population Project)

10% is on the high end for English ancestry in the New York area, but WASPs are very much in the minority in Fairfield.  

Of course it includes far more than the very upper crust towns like Darien and New Canaan.  It's a county of nearly 1 million.  It has a significant urban component and further out it's more middle income exurbia.  
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2024, 06:52:49 PM »

And Westchester in spite of its "establishmentarian" image isn't very WASP at all and has demographics very typical of the NYC metro area.

Westchester County, 2020 Census:

Italian  152,507  15.2%
Irish  123,715  12.3%
German  71,252  7.1%
English  56,724  5.6%

Jewish population (Brandeis)  110,900  11%
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leecannon
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« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2024, 07:42:48 PM »

As a southerner, you’re all Yankees to me
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2024, 09:40:49 PM »

Also I'm glad that the 2020 Census has fixed the "bug" which suggested that greatly underestimated English ancestry and suggested that the US was mostly German lol 
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2024, 06:41:48 PM »

Also I'm glad that the 2020 Census has fixed the "bug" which suggested that greatly underestimated English ancestry and suggested that the US was mostly German lol 

As a Midwesterner, though, I will actually defend that our region IS mostly German.  I grew up with German and Scandinavian surnames all around me and thinking it was totally normal, and I kind of laughed as I got older and traveled more that even though I considered a name like "Peterson" or "Schneider" to be almost as stereotypical as "Smith," they certainly are not in other areas of the country.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2024, 07:48:17 PM »

I don't think it's a matter of the German numbers being too high, it's a matter of an undercount of English.  In Pennsylvania and the Midwest German is more common even with the English "issue" fixed.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2024, 08:21:13 PM »

I don't think it's a matter of the German numbers being too high, it's a matter of an undercount of English.  In Pennsylvania and the Midwest German is more common even with the English "issue" fixed.

Discrepancy is largely in the South where most are of English ancestry but just identify as American.  Many have been in the US since colonial times so I suspect that is a big part of it.  I suspect in earlier census a lot who identified as English were those whose families came to US in last 150 years while those who identify as American but now English probably further back. 

In Western US, I suspect most are mix of multiple ancestries as there really isn't a dominate ethnic group and most came from other parts of US too.  Utah one exception due to large Mormon community and you also have the Portuguese in Hawaii who came there before statehood.  However in somewhere like California, those identifying as German probably from Midwest, English more South or New England while Italian most likely Northeast.
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King of Kensington
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« Reply #49 on: February 14, 2024, 09:23:37 PM »
« Edited: February 14, 2024, 09:32:06 PM by King of Kensington »

There were a lot of "missing English" in the Midwest as well:

https://talkelections.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=578588.msg9386252#msg9386252

Still, German (16.3 million) outnumbered English (10.2 million) in the Midwest in the 2020 census.
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