Monday, May 14, 2007

Immigration

Browsing through some of my favorite news sites today, I stumbled upon this snippet from The Guardian, a British Newspaper:

“Many British Asians see a society that hardly inspires them to integrate. Indeed, they see aspects of modern Britain which are a threat to the values they hold dear. Not for the first time, I found myself thinking that it is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the British Asian way of life, not the other way around.”

As an immigrant myself, I think I’m qualified to say this:

This kind of thinking has to stop. Not just in England or America, but in every country around the world.

Here’s the thing. I try to be open minded and not prejudiced towards any race, religion or social group, but I’m tired of people jumping on the bandwagon and demanding that natural born citizens from any country need to change their ways to make immigrants feel more at home.

Look, I’m British and I moved to America. What right do I have to demand that Americans change their own customs and culture to make me feel better?

Put it this way, I personally despise country music, but I live in the South. Should I be calling radio stations demanding they play more Beatles and less Garth Brooks? It’d probably piss off every American Citizen in the state, but it would sure make me feel more at home…and I’m an immigrant minority, right? According to ‘Politically Correct’ thinking, doesn’t that make me noble and downtrodden and more important than everyone else?

Can I just make that clear? The idea is that we should piss off an entire country by putting an end to that country’s customs in order to please the tiny immigrant minorities…minorities who most of the time don’t care one way or another.

I’m a Brit living in a country where on July 4th they celebrate winning a war and gaining their independence from my country. Do I find this offensive? Do I think that Americans should be politically correct and not celebrate Independence Day, or rename it to something like “Misunderstanding with the Brits who we think are just Super!” Day?

No, I don’t. The truth is, if America made me that uncomfortable and I really wanted to feel ‘at home’, there’s a place I can go. It’s called England.

This is the part where I have to be totally clear before I get branded a racist.

I’m not suggesting taking away any of the freedoms that natural-born citizens have from immigrants. I’m not demanding that the specific culture and customs of an immigrant should be suppressed. In America and England we have this wonderful thing called freedom…and that freedom is for everybody.

I’m talking about way of life and customs. If an immigrant is openly made a target for harassment, racial slurs or is singled out and mistreated in any way…that’s just plain wrong.

However, when it becomes the norm for any country to start suppressing their own way of life to make immigrants feel ‘comfortable’ (which is what’s slowly happening), something is very, very wrong.

If I want to wish someone Merry Christmas, I’m going to wish them Merry Christmas, not ‘Happy Holidays’ or (shudder) “Happy Chirstmahannukwanzakah”. I also think that other cultures should be free to wish people a happy Kwanza, Hanukah or whatever.

Personally, I blame most ill feeling on Political Correctness. It’s being jammed down our throats that we’re all ‘the same’, when quite frankly, we’re all extremely different. We look different, we act different and we have different religions and customs.

The only time ‘difference’ actually becomes a problem is when we judge one group to be better than another. Stand me next to a black guy, and asian guy and an arab guy, and I could spend all day pointing out our differences. Sure, we’ll probably also have lots of things in common…my point is we’re not the same…but that doesn’t mean I judge myself to be any better or worse than them.

My overall point is that if you’re an immigrant to a particular country, it’s completely wrong and unfair to expect that country to change in order to suit you. If you find a particular country’s way of life and customs to be offensive, why move there in the first place?

When you emigrate somewhere, you’re essentially a guest of that country. When you go to a friend’s house for dinner, you don’t demand they change their décor, put on music you like and only serve your favorite foods. Why is moving to a new country any different?

As the above article said: “…they see aspects of modern Britain which are a threat to the values they hold dear.” The problem is that those ‘aspects of modern Britain’ are probably values that natural born British Citizens hold dear.

In other words, “Our values are more important than your values.” And “You should change to suit us.”

You can’t move to a whole new country with a whole different culture and expect it to be exactly like your country of origin, and you can’t expect every citizen of that country to change their own way of life and traditions in order to make you feel more at home.

4 comments:

OzzyC said...

A message to non-assimilating immigrants everywhere... GTFU or GTFU (Grow the fuck up, or get the fuck out)

Saffyre said...

I agree with every word you said. Every last one..and I don't have any sarcasm on this (for once).

Recently I encountered a situation where a company I deal with has decided that they are only going to employ polish people to work in their warehouse. They are actually going to bring them to England to fill the jobs. If you are British - you need not apply. It really fucking pisses me off. It's racism against Brits in Britain!

Oh and "Happy Chirstmahannukwanzakah" LMFAO!!

Kato said...

I tend to agree with you. If you move to a country (or a "place") you really don't have a lot of right to demand that the residents of that place change their customs, etc. to fit your needs. Now, that doesn't mean that the locals should be intolerant toward you (that's an issues that simply speaks to the idea that we should all be civil to one another) but they shouldn't have to change because they do things differently than you are accustomed.

In the U.S. at least it gets a little muddled because we sort of have a hard time with our identity. We have a history of our own as a nation, but it is relatively short compared to European and Asian countries. America was founded by immigrants from all over, and so on the one hand we want to protect our "American" heritage, but on the other hand we feel bad about excluding future immigrants because we feel that would be doing a disservice to those that came before.

Paulius said...

Well, that's entirely my point.

I'm the last person to preach intolerance towards immigrants, I am one!

The problem is that we're currently shifting over to the idea that immigrants rights and customs are somehow more important that natural citizens.

Basically the politicians like to speak for the poor downtrodden immigrants because it makes them feel good. Then it's the actual immigrants that get the backlash because the public at large assumes these ideas and 'rules' are coming from us.

My main point, however, is you simply can't move to a country and expect that country to significantly change to suit you.