19.11.15

ASSIMILATION

On travel, I have remarked to primarily Europeans but occasionally people from other continents that we have a secret weapon that transforms Chinese, or Africans, or anyone else, into Americans. Today, Betsy Newmark compares and contrasts European attempts either at assimilation or at cosmopolitanism with the way things are in the Research Triangle.
I would like to think that things are going better for us in the U.S., but we are still seeing radicalized Muslims such as the Boston bombers and all the people who have left or tried to leave to fight with ISIS. I know that I have many Muslim students who are assimilated, but still hold their faith very closely. Some of them have been my very favorite students and I've been impressed with their intellectual curiosity and enjoyment about American government, politics, and history. I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and having them as students. I don't know what made the difference between their experiences and those of others. Perhaps it all came down to different parents and circumstances, but I really have no idea.
It's possible that a shot at an information technology job or an academic vocation at one of the local basketball schools matters, but, to repeat myself, buying into America is about buying into an idea, something that countries based on tribal boundaries, no matter how welcoming those tribes might claim to be, cannot do.  And that idea is, to repeat myself, one that the boutique multiculturalists have attempted to deconstruct, but it's still an idea that resonates.

No comments: