At the end of 2006, John Rocker, the controversial former major league baseball pitcher known for his racist remarks years before, created a campaign to promote foreigners to assimilate in our country. His reasons and intentions may seem understandable and even agreeable however many argue that his message--Speak English--stems from a racist standpoint and those who argue against him have continued to label Rocker as a racist bigot. But how do most of us truly view immigrants who choose not to adapt to our American culture and customs?
“When in Rome, do as the Romans,” says Rocker on a televised Fox news interview. “When people vote with their feet--move into my country--just please assimilate yourself to my customs and my culture.”
Fair enough statement. It is important that we do all that we can to contribute and to promote diversity so that we can avoid building walls within our nation and to avoid making other ethnic groups feel withdrawn. As a multicultural society, there is the necessity for dialogue because there needs to be a way for all of us to communicate with each other in order to coexist. If we can’t have this communication, then our society will crumble from our own ignorance; without diversity, society will be filled with nests ostracizing each other because of the lack of acceptance for each other’s cultures and customs, thus, creating separatism and re-segregation.
Tom Tancredo, former Republican member of the US House of Representatives and author of Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security, felt similar in the importance for assimilation and was strongly against illegal immigrants and even campaigned against it. One of his biggest concerns is that the problem with immigration today, is not to dispute whether an immigrant is illegal or not--although that is a very important issue--but more about the lack of immigrants letting themselves adapt to our American customs. This concern stems from the belief that if we continue to let immigrants move into our country without learning our language or without accepting our politics or our morals, then we’ll lose the American identity in the midst of the growing foreign population.
“Today we are noticing a different kind of immigration pattern. A lot of people come here--again, for the purpose of being economically advantaged; certainly, absolutely true--but not with the desire to disconnect with the past; not desiring to disconnect linguistically, familially, culturally or even sometimes, politically. This is a problem, I think.”
An argument that opposes this belief is that no immigrant should adhere to our culture and customs; that because of our laws and the liberties they grant us, those who live in our country have the right to choose if they wish to assimilate or not. What makes our country so great is that everyone is given the right to live how they wish; politically, familially, linguistically and culturally. To disconnect yourself from where you originated so that you can ‘fit in’ does no justice for the individual.
David Abalos, a Princeton professor, is highly known in the world of scholars to hold beliefs against the idea of assimilation, fearing that the individual will lose self-heritage and the reminder of where they came from. Abalos believes that there is no difference between an immigrant assimilating one self and someone who wants to fit in, a constant argument he brings up, especially when referring to ‘elitists.’ Furthermore, his argument continues on, reminding us that there lies no problem with keeping your heritage and cultural customs intact, even living in a foreign country amongst natives.
“Assimilation is a deadly issue. Be in Princeton, but not of Princeton. If you become elitist you will abandon your own community. Don’t forget what your parents went through.”
Funny enough, both sides strongly fear the loss of what makes up the ideals of the individual and its society. He has a point, however, that in assimilating one self, there is a loss of heritage. To disconnect one self from their origins does the country itself no justice at all since there will be no way for Americans to learn from foreign customs.
I open this to our readers and ask you to share; what do you all feel about the philosophy of assimilation? Is there a wrong in believing that foreigners should adapt to our cultures and live differently than how they used to, without the customs of their origins? Should foreigners choose not to assimilate and thus, live amongst those like themselves in a sub-group that strays from the American society? Or does it really depend on the circumstance?
written by Lou Dobbs., August 24, 2009
written by Corolla Win , August 28, 2009