One of Three, But Should Be Many


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar George Turner

    The folks who risked their lives, and their families lives, to work with American forces seem to be great additions to the nation, and far more patriotic than most of the natives. Immigrant doctors, engineers, and regular folks have become esteemed community members in Appalachia. Southern California has a thriving community of Middle Eastern Christian refugees, and other areas have wonderful networks of Hindus, Sikhs, Vietnamese, and even Irish.

    On the other hand, there are some, like certain members of “The Squad”, who seem to hate America and everyone in it, and seem to want us to become like Hamas or Hezbollah. In Ilhan Omar’s case, she almost certainly resorted to fraud to game the system, moving here from England by providing false information (the dark depths of which I’ll not mention), and then proceeding to drive wedges between the Muslim immigrant community and the local Jewish community that had welcomed them.

    Some cities have seen lots of trouble, for example, Somali refugees engaging in attacks on regular basis while turning Minneapolis in a hub of terrorist recruitment. Culture and numbers matter, because where a single refugee will try to fit in, a whole community of them, coming from the wrong place, will sometimes fail to integrate and instead stick to what they know, which apparently is robbery, gang violence, and perhaps piracy. Culture and numbers matter, such that too many at once from a dysfunctional culture can maintain that culture in their adoptive country. This happened during the last century with the waves of Italian immigrants, who settled densely enough in major US urban areas to support mafia activities like numbers running, illegal gambling, prostitution, bootlegging, and shaking down business owners for protection money.

    Amsterdam has recently come out and said that they’re becoming a narco state because they added too many refugees to a city that already had drugs, and putting two-and-two together, the refugees became violent drug lords, conducting assassinations and bomb attacks in what had been a tranquil city. Few communities want to become gang turf, whether the gang is moving in from LA, Chicago, or Mogadishu.

    Ideally, or refugee program selects for those who are fleeing dysfunction, not those who are the dysfunction. Obviously we’ve fallen short of that ideal on more than one occasion. It’s great when a refugee arrives in some small corner of the US and sees our home with new eyes, astonished at the lush and open landscape, the barely touched natural beauty, the friendly and welcoming nature of the locals, and the idea that here a person’s future is unwritten. But we should take more care to avoid admitting those who would see that same community in the most negative terms, in much the same way the European imperialists used to view the peoples and lands they once conquered.

    As a side note, some of the immigrants and refugees in Europe have blamed European multiculturalists for causing many of Europe’s current problems. When immigrants were coming in dribs and drabs, they primarily identified as members of their profession, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, and engineers, working diligently to settle in and become a native. But once those governments started making funds, privileges, and special programs available to particular ethnic groups, those ethnic groups were forced to come together to compete with other ethnic groups for status, recognition, and funds. Suddenly certain members would leap to the fore to represent their community, and those are often the sorts that won’t assimilate. Immigrants who formerly didn’t even bother with their fellow ex-pats get bombarded with messages about “their community”, band together to form a power base, and tribal thinking takes hold where it had not even existed before. The government programs launched to help immigrants and ease assimilation become the biggest obstacle to assimilation.Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels

    There was that line in Moscow On The Hudson where someone asks Robin Williams’ character “What do you think about Americans?” and he answers, “I don’t know, everyone I meet is from somewhere else.”

    As I’ve written before, I live in that world. I spend my days living and working in a world where the majority of people speak English as a second language, or have an ancestry from somewhere other than Europe, or a religious tradition other than Christianity.
    I guess that’s why I find these Ermagerd stories about culture clashes baffling.

    I’m at a meeting where the laborers are explaining the problem in Spanish, then someone stops to translate into English, and the engineer gets on the phone and greets his colleague in Farsi. Someone worries that the interior designer will not be able to get some drawings during the Christmas break but it turns out he is working on the 25th, since he already took off for Tet.

    I mean, all these people likewise live and work in a world that isn’t made for them, a world where their culture is alien and mystifying to others.

    But they don’t whine or snivel about it. They don’t stamp their foot because Starbucks cups don’t say “Blessed Eid” or something.
    A Senator asks Elena Kagen how she celebrates Christmas, and she just chuckles good naturedly and answers “Eating Chinese food.”

    White straight Christian folks are just now learning how to adapt to a world not built for them, a world where everything was written from their point of view.Report

  3. Avatar CJColucci

    A Senator asks Elena Kagen how she celebrates Christmas, and she just chuckles good naturedly and answers “Eating Chinese food.”

    I always wondered what Lindsey Graham was up to with that, though I recall taking a trip to Charleston when Nikki Haley, a Sikh, was running in the Republican gubernatorial primary against someone, whose name I forget, who was Catholic. The Charleston paper thought it necessary to explain not only about Sikhism — can’t have the voters think she’s a damn Mooslim, after all — but also about Catholicism. I have to assume the paper knew its readers, and knew they would find both Sikhs and Catholics exotic enough to require explanation.Report

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