All this talk of Catholics, recovering or otherwise, coincided with a question Tessa asked tonight: namely, is WASP – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – a redundancy? More specifically, are there any White Protestants who aren’t already Anglo-Saxon? If you take “Anglo-Saxon” to mean any Germanic tribes that invaded the Celtic island of Britain and thus became “the English,” you’ve got precious few white people left to work with.
I came up with a semi-lame answer, and Tessa thought of a semi-good one. I seem to recall that the French Huguenots were Lutherans (or Calvinists) at a time when the rest of 16th-century France were all Catholic. They were accepted at first, but by the time Louis XIV came around in the 1680s, they were all getting their ass kicked and fled to various places, including America.
Thus, any descendents of the French Huguenots that landed in America – notably New Paltz, NY and parts of South Carolina, would not technically be WASPs, they’d be WFNPs (White Franco-Norman Protestants). Yes, I know the Normans conquered the Anglos and Saxons and messes that up, but you gotta give me some props for getting that far, dontchya think?
Tessa’s idea centered around the Scandinavians who settled the Midwest part of America, folks like Kent’s wife (my sister-in-law) Melissa, who has lived in Iowa her whole life and comes from Norwegian stock. The Norse were polytheists with an extensive mythology until Christianity came around in the 1100s to make them thoroughly boring (no more raids, pillagin’ – nothing!)
Since they are primarily Lutheran, that would mean that Melissa is no WASP – she’d be a WVP (White Viking Protestant) – along with all her friends in North Dakota and Minnesota.
Look, I know the term WASP was invented to describe preppies and monied families who send their kids to Exeter and Dartmouth, as well as a way to differentiate between themselves and other White People like Catholics and Jews, but if we’re going to use a term, why can’t we just call them White Protestants? It seems like a weird way to set yourself apart from a couple of Huguenots in Charleston and my sister-in-law. Or am I missing something?