May 28, 2006

Another Winner By Crosby(not the singer)

I took a little time out today to catch up on some reading, and ran across one of Greg Crosby’s always welcome columns, this one really hitting home as both my maternal grandparents were immigrants, he from the Ukraine, she from Poland.

When they arrived here in the late 1920s and early 1930s, respectively, the first thing they did was become Americans in every sense of the word. My grandmother already spoke English along with several other languages, my grandfather made going to school and learning English a top priority, and, this accomplished, they both made the language of America their language. They assimilated themselves into American culture and traditions with great enthusiasm.

Today, largely thanks to the multiculturalism and PC promoted by the liberal sector of our society, this assimilation has become more the exception than the rule among immigrants, and as Mr. Crosby points out in this great column, it is dividing the country into pronounced ethnic subdivisions rather than providing any kind of continuum for unity among Americans. In fact, this phenomenon may well be the death knell for American traditions, culture and even national identity.

Our culture is in jeopardy because immigrants to America are not assimilating into society like they once did. My grandparents came here to be Americans, to bring up their children with American ideals and American values. It wasn’t easy, but they went to night school to learn English. They dressed American. They listened to American radio stations in English, watched American television, and attended American movies. They embraced American music, ate American food, and learned American history.

Lack of assimilation is not purely the fault of the immigrant; much of the blame is with our politically correct multiculturalism, which has been taught throughout our public schools and universities for about three decades. The teaching of traditional American history is, at worst totally revisionist, at best given short shrift. In its place, the focus is now on minorities and looking at history through the prism of our contemporary views on race, women’s rights and other hot button topics. The celebration of multiculturalism is laced through almost all subjects in our public schools … well, maybe not algebra, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Our society today makes accommodations which, if anything, discourage assimilation. Voting ballots printed in a dozen different languages, ATMs and payphones with instructions in Spanish, bilingual packaging on consumer goods, and billboards all over town in one language — Spanish — all say to the immigrant, “Hey, it’s okay, you don’t have to speak English here.”

Truer words were never written.

Read the entire column here.

by @ 10:56 am. Filed under Great Commentary
Trackback URL for this post:

2 Responses to “Another Winner By Crosby(not the singer)”

  1. jpe Says:

    That’d be nice if it were true, but it isn’t. Mexicans are assimilating at either the same rate or slightly faster than previous waves of immigrants.

  2. Seth Says:

    JPE — It’s not nice, and it is true. I don’t know where you live or how many Mexicans you come into contact with on any kind of regular basis, but until the start of this year, I lived in San Francisco for some time, in the SOMA and adjacent to the Mission District, which is almost entirely Mexican and of other Latino origins. I happen to love Mexico (I’ve been all over down there), like Mexicans and enjoy Mexican cuisine, and for the latter reason, I used to frequent restaurants and taquerias and do a lot of my grocery shopping there. I came into contact with dozens of the same Mexican immigrants (probably a lot of illegals as well as documented ones) for years, and a great many of them never seemed to pick up any English at all. Most of those I saw in social mode, including virtually all my Mexican neighbors, neither learned English nor did they socialize with anyone except other Mexicans. The few I did meet that spoke English were either second generation or had come here with their parents when they were children.

    It’s not only Mexican and many other Latino immigrants, try Asians. Go to Chinatown in, say, New York, and see how many streets you can walk down where there is no English on any shop signs, where you can walk into the shops or eateries and find that not only don’t the people working in them speak English, but they regard you with thinly veiled hostility, letting you know you’re not welcome. Again, it’s the second generation or those who came over as children who speak English.

    Hell, my ex mother-in-law is from the Dominican Republic, and she was here for over thirty years, working most of that time, and still hadn’t bothered to learn English.