Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

For Monday: Assimilation

There’s been a lot of news about immigration over the last decade and, especially, over the last few years. On Monday, we’ll discuss what happens after immigrants arrive. We’ll also discuss some of the blending of our regional differences over time.

  • Should assimilation be encouraged, should distinct cultures, languages, beliefs be encouraged, or should we let the process unfold without any particular encouragement?
    • Who is “we” in this context? Government? Individuals? Social/ethnic/cultural groups?
  • In what ways is increased assimilation good for our nation and society? What adverse effects have been observed or are of future concern?
  • How important are common values to the effective operation of our government and society?

1 Comment

  • Three comments: Cultural assimilation in coastal Maine. Colin Woodard’s LOBSTER COAST is a social history describing the waves of people arriving from away since 1600. Result: about half of each wave of “from aways” bail out after 7 over-long “wintahs.” Those who remain gradually assimilate into the “locals.” Some call themselves, “natives,” but I push back at that. We are in the intermediate “transplant” caste.

    Racial classifications: Trevor Noah’s BORN A CRIME is a terrific description of his youth in South Africa, as a “colored.” At least in 2018, South Africans seemed both more conscious and more relaxed about race than the US. In the US, the movie “Loving” is a great film on the topic of miscegenation/intermarriage.

    Indian Tribes: American Indian culture, politics and law have vacillated between “assimilation and separateness” for several hundred years. The legacies of this ambivalence are found in the personality, culture and landholdings of every Native American and reservation. The National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian) has terrific didactics about this for non-Indians (like me) involved in Indian law and policy.


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