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The Allure of Assimilation

Law Professor Frank Wu ponders the allure of assimilation for Asians in America.

Among the quarrels of immigrant parents and their progeny is whether to assimilate. Neighbors who all share the same birthright under the same roof may not be familiar with the dilemma which exceeds their own experiences. The dutiful child who displays filial piety and otherwise behaves properly, doing extra homework to succeed and make good on the elders’ sacrifices, will not be the cool kid accepted by peers. He cannot be, because he won’t be outdoors playing, corrupted by temptations that could lead to disgraceful outcomes such as an A-minus, or, worse, coming out as gay.

Yet the demand issued by everyone else is: be like us. If you are not, you will be teased and taunted in the common cruelty of childhood. The standard is set by social superiors. You must copy us in your wardrobe and your habits, but you cannot; you are fated to fail. Even if you are an excellent mimic, however, you are obviously “trying too hard.” There might be malice to the mandate, but not necessarily. It is matter of fact.

Good immigrants will feel the lure of assimilation quite strongly. Moving to a foreign land to take advantage of wealth and comfort that you had no hand in creating without assimilating is narcissistic, obnoxious, value-stealing behavior. Period.

More and more I’ve been reading the primary sources regarding the immigration opinions of the Founding Fathers of America. You know, the Founding Father’s, right? They were that group of American leaders who united the Thirteen Colonies and waged a war of independence against Great Britain.

All of my social studies teachers in middle school and high school taught me that the Founding Fathers drempt of a future American melting pot. Apparently, Franklin, Edison, Adams, Hamilton and the rest of the framers of the constitution wanted America to be the world leader in diversity and non-existent borders. Isn’t that what we were all taught?

Well, let’s fact check those lessons against the Founding Father’s own words. The following passage comes via the desk of Alexander Hamilton cira 1802.

The opinion advanced is undoubtedly correct, that foreigners will generally be apt to bring with them attachments to the persons they have left behind; to the country of their nativity, and to its particular customs and manners. They will also entertain opinions on government congenial with those under which they have lived, or if they should be led hither from a preference to ours, how extremely unlikely is it that they will bring with them that temperate love of liberty, so essential to real republicanism?

Yikes! The Founding Fathers were Alt-Right Shit Lords! Burn the libraries!

Seriously, though, if you’d like to quickly discard the notion that modern folks are more enlightened and intelligent than their ancestors, just flip through any book written more than 150 years ago.

Hamilton was right when he wrote those words 218 years ago, and his message is even more true today in the year 2020. The vast majority of the 59 million people that have invaded America since the passing of The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 are anti gun rights, pro big government and they have not brought with them a temperate love of liberty. Also, they generally view the legacy Americans of English and European descent as a nuisance to be ignored or simply tolerated. We’re just in the way!

So, now what?


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