Friday, April 26, 2019

expecting assimilation

If you come to my country to live there long-term, you will:
- learn to speak, read, and write—at a passable level—the language spoken by the majority,
- accept or at least understand and tolerate my country's core values,
- abide by my country's laws and jurisprudence, and
- never seek to impose your morality or cultural sensibilities on my country as a whole.

You have the right to complain about perceived injustices and things that appear nonsensical in my country. You have the right to work constructively toward the reparation of those injustices. If, however, you lose your basic gratitude for what my country provides you (food, clothing, money, shelter) and proceed to attack my country in a sustained manner, then you are free to leave. I'll happily pack your bags.

With all that in mind:

Those who want to immigrate to France must adjust themselves to French society, and not the other way around. To the chagrin of our supposedly liberal media, this should also hold true for the rest of Europe and Israel as well.
—from here

America’s most important politico-cultural virtue, though, has been the insistence to its current—and especially potential—citizens that they assimilate to a certain view of justice embodied in the Declaration of Independence and safeguarded by our state and national political institutions, first and foremost the U.S. Constitution. E pluribus unum (“out of many, one”), America’s motto, means that assimilation has always been in our national DNA.
—found here


John Mac said...

Interesting. In this Jack Ryan TV series I'm slogging through, Jack and company were tracking a terrorist in Paris with the assistance of the French police. So as Jack is reviewing the dossier on the target (an immigrant from Lebanon) he is surprised to discover that the guy has a masters degree from a French university. "Why would someone who has successfully assimilated into French society turn to terrorism?" Jack muses. The French cop responds "It is different in America. There you can be an African-American, an Asian-American, a Mexican-American. Here, you are either French or you are not."

America's diversity of cultures has always been it's strength, but it was the fact that these different cultures had been blended in the American melting pot into something unique and wonderful. Nowadays the left seeks to divide that unity with silly claims of "cultural appropriation". It is really disgusting to watch them attempt to undermine the very foundation of our nation.

To your other point, I guess I qualify as an immigrant to the Philippines. I'm not really making the effort to learn the local dialects, but English is one of two official languages here. Learning to "accept the Filipino way" can certainly try one's patience, but I'm getting better at that. I go out of my way to abide by the laws of my adopted nation--I NEVER EVER want to see the inside of a Filipino jail! Your last point is perhaps the most important one here. Filipinos despise what they perceive as arrogant foreigners. And pretty much any criticism of the way things are here by a foreigner is viewed as arrogant. I keep my mouth shut and my head down and treat everyone I meet respectfully. The folks I encounter in the squatter villes are all greeted with a smile and called "sir or ma'am". Being seen as the friendly white guy makes you much less of a target.

Charles said...

I'm with you on this, although I do think the idea of "core values" can get a little fuzzy (and that these values can and do change over time).

Kevin Kim said...


Fair point, although to be clear, I'd personally err on the side of gradual, careful change as opposed to quick, radical change. The US Constitution, especially in its Bill of Rights, articulates many of those core values both explicitly and implicitly. There's room for interpretation, of course, and I think it's important for there to be an ongoing conversation about the whole Who We Are question. I'm a bit alarmed, though, by the "living document" school of thought that has arisen in recent years, and that seeks to impose some rather extreme interpretations on the Constitution (e.g., with regard to the right to bear arms). Hence my support for gradual, careful change.


You're lucky, I think, to get a pass on English, given that it is an official language of the PI. But seeing as you've plunged into the local life in a way you didn't do while in Korea, what with your charity work and all, I'd say you're doin' it right. (Not that my opinion matters, of course! You do you, as the kids say.)