Assimilation v. Multiculturalism
“This multicultural approach has failed, utterly failed.”
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, October 17, 2010
Good national public policy fosters assimilation, not multiculturalism, for immigrants. People often confuse assimilation and multiculturalism.
Assimilation would be defined by most Americans as the country’s acceptance of hard-working immigrants who want to bring their cultural experiences to the table while simultaneously picking up essential American values. Assimilation is beneficial to society.
Multiculturalism, on the other hand, is proving destructive to society. As taken from recent comments of British Prime Minister David Cameron, today’s multiculturalism has become a “weakening of a national collective identity” through a gradual overhaul of centuries-old American traditions in order to capitulate to every demand of every culture of immigrant in the United States. Recent widespread European critique of multiculturalism, as publicly stated by the chief leaders of France, Great Britain, and Germany, has implications for the United States and provides lessons from which to learn.
An example of such an overhaul of American tradition is the movement that opposes acknowledging English as the United States’ common, founding language and establishing it as the one official language of the nation.
- Official English laws and legislation proposing an end to taxpayer-funded multilingual government services are consistent with fostering a strong, common-ground national identity, where no one culture or foreign tongue is favored over the English language.
- Such laws and policies are critically important in helping new immigrants become integrated into the new national community in which they have chosen to live.
- Confusing, inconsistent, quasi-multilingualism that differs from state-to-state weakens a cohesive national identity and actually disadvantages immigrants rather than helping them to grasp and understand what their new community expects of them.
- Official English legislation does not send an “unwelcoming” message to immigrants, rather, it conveys what their new community expects of them: Assimilation into American culture and instruction to become fully functional, participating members of the larger society.
An August 2010 Rasmussen survey found that 83% of likely voters felt that teaching immigrants English should be a higher priority rather than encouraging immigrants to retain their native culture. All immigrants should understand that learning English is essential to their hope of pursuing the American dream and that learning English enables them to improve their skills and earning power. Just like earlier immigrants, they have a responsibility to learn our nation’s language and assimilate. Lacking fluency in English traps immigrants in low-skilled, low-wage jobs. At the turn of the 21st century, the number of English learner families living in poverty, at 26.3%, was more than twice the rate nationally.
The multiculturalism lobby masks itself as the “pro-immigrant lobby” and works hard to defeat official English and related bills with their decades-long misinformation campaign.
- A common tactic used by the opposition to intimidate and threaten the voting legislators is to claim that limiting driver’s license exams to only one language, English, violates existing federal law and therefore jeopardizes all federal funds received by the states’ Departments of Safety. This claim, which is routinely made by multiculturalists and opponents of official English laws in every state or locality where such laws are proposed, is FALSE.
- When Congress debated and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, language (or the impact of English fluency) was never discussed or included in the meaning of “national origin” discrimination, and rightfully so. The law simply states: “Sec. 601. No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
- It is self-evident that a person can choose to learn a new language, but they can never change their national origin, and as we all know, a person’s inability to speak English does not always mean that person was not born in the United States. The courts have regularly upheld that national origin and language are not the same and cannot be treated as if they are. Except for narrow requirements in education, the Supreme Court inSandoval v. Alexander (2001) rejected attempts to equate the failure to provide services in languages other than English with national origin discrimination.
In conclusion, continued, patchy, government-sponsored (but taxpayer-funded) multilingualism is a recipe for the failure of assimilation, and therefore, the eventual demise of the American culture.
“If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community.
And if you don’t want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France.”
Nicolas Sarkozy, French President, February 10, 2011