Marissa Lang, The Diamondback (University of Maryland), February 25, 2009
More than 400 students from universities across the Washington metropolitan area converged at American University Tuesday night in a peaceful protest, waving signs festooned with a simple message written and occasionally shouted in more than five different languages: “America is multicultural.”
Students from this university, American, George Washington and Georgetown sat in forced silence at American University last night, as American University police officers encircled the room, to oppose former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo’s (R) stand against immigration and America’s “cult of diversity.”
The trip was organized by the Latino Student Union’s advocacy committee, though other students attended. They said they heard about the protest via an announcement sent out by the D.C. Latino Student Partnership, an umbrella organization that organizes and increases communication between Latino groups in the area.
Tancredo was invited to speak at American University by the newly established national organization Youth for Western Civilization–a national right-wing organization that aims to reverse policies perceived as being anti-American–which YWC President Kevin DeAnna said will likely attempt to establish a chapter at this university in the near future.
“We need to announce ourselves as a force,” DeAnna said. “[The turnout] shows that people have been waiting for this kind of a message: that people of the West should get off of their knees.”
Though Tancredo denied being prejudiced against any group, students characterized much of the former congressman’s ideologies as being “ignorant” and “racist.”
Tancredo, who ran for president in 2008, dubbed immigrants’ tendencies to hold on to their own cultures as a destructive force in the “American fabric” that he said needs to change to preserve the union.
“Throughout history, people who are not white Anglo-Saxon have become American by adopting a white Anglo-Saxon culture,” Tancredo said. “Today, this cult of multiculturality emphasizes our differences–things that pull us apart instead of bringing us together.”
Tancredo’s speech singled out both Latinos and Muslims as “problem” cultures that are contributing to the fragmentation of American society.
“We are forcing children to participate in a world that promotes Muslim sensitivities,” he said. “We are losing the relevance of citizenship. Being an American used to mean something. We have every right to be proud of who we are. And this is not something I think we can survive.”