Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Some Perspective on Assimilation

1850-1930 Saw a large influx of immigrants into this country. They were Irish, Greek, Italian etc. The population of immigrants that was already here shunned them as isolationist who refused to learn English and adapt to "American" customs and traditions. They were oppressed and brutalized. They lived in specific areas named after their home lands. Little Italy, Little Odessa, China Town. They are now part of the American Icon. Can you imagine a town without an Italian restaurant? Pizza shop? Chinese buffet? At one time these where thought to be products of immigrant devils sent to undermine our great country.

I was overhearing a conversation yesterday about Somali's in Minneapolis. (We have a large Somali refugee population in the Minneapolis) The talk was rather racist and I would not wish to repeat it, if I was a better man I would have intervened.

But at least I can speak on the defense of the Somali's in some fashion. Assimilation is a generational concept. The first wave of immigrants is always going to face oppression because of language barriers to job entry, community events etc. But their children will go to school learn English, make friends, learn customs and form a hybrid culture and branch out into the community. Eventually generation after generation those branch's grow, take root and one day there may be a Somali restaurant in every city. This is a good thing. It enriches us all gives us different perspective. It just takes time.....I hope we are able to give them the generations of time they need to make this home....just like someone gave us.

Think about that next time you order pizza.

7 comments:

Mags said...

Good post Brian. I think it's easy for people to forget that none of us would be here if it weren't for people migrating into America, and even easier for them to shoo those away that are different.

You're a good man because you wrote this post, and believe the things you do. Butting in may have just caused a fight and then your beautiful face may have been hurt.

Rocketstar said...

Great point, right on.

the108 said...

I'm all for butting in! What's a little black eye in comparison to standing up for what you believe in???

That would be one sexy black eye :-)

Ma said...

Hmmm makes me want to try some Somalian food!

terri said...

Great post! I almost hate to tarnish it with this fluff, but I gave you something pretty and pink: http://territerri.com/?p=778

Colette, aka Lil Sis said...

Great post, and dead on. I know I surely wouldn't be here! Somolian restaurants..hmmm makes me wanna go look up recipes.. ;-)

dawnmarie said...

The only assimilation I'd like the Somali community to follow is to remember that no, you don't get to cross the street wherever you want. Holding out your hand as you cross in front of 45 mph traffic does not make it all right to completely stop traffic so you don't have to walk the 5 feet to the nearest crosswalk.