Immigration and the E Pluribus Unum Issue
Grace Wong, Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2017
In “The Immigration Dodge” (Review, March 25) Mark Krikorian discusses the possibility of American culture being overwhelmed by an increase in immigration. He describes the evolving self-identification of second-generation teenagers from simply American to foreign-national identity or pan-racial identity, blaming the American education system’s teaching of civic education and multiculturalism for this change in identification as well as the social distrust found in diverse communities.
As an 18-year-old born and raised in America by immigrants, I am proud to identify myself as Asian and Chinese-American. I do this because despite my 18 years in this country, and the 30-plus years of my parents’ being here, I will never belong in the undeniably white normative culture of America. Our political system, popular culture and definition of national culture constantly reflect the whiteness of our country.
Insulating our country against multicultural acceptance through immigration reform won’t foster stronger communities. Rather, the rhetoric needs to change to allow for those already in this country to better assimilate and feel a sense of belonging. That starts with accepting our changing demographics and reshaping the narrative of this nation to encompass the experiences of ethnic minorities. By propagating a stricter immigration policy laced with nativist rhetoric, the social dysfunction and lack of belonging for the diverse populations that already exist in this country is magnified as immigrants feel less and less that they can belong here. As a nation built by immigrants, we must not protect against difference, but rather re-envision what America could accomplish when we work together.