Skip to main content

Multiculturalism: Lessons for Latinos from London

The misunderstanding of what is multiculturalism is becoming a growing problem, both economically and culturally. Allow me to explain.

I started thinking about this when I read the quote by Tony Blair on the problems they have faced with homeland terrorism in London. He says:
You can have your own religion and your own culture but still feel integrated into the mainstream of a community....when you've got people who may be here sometimes 20 years or more and who still don't speak English, that worries me because there's a separateness there that may be unhealthy.
Here is the important lesson for Latinos. We need to stay faithful to our value and faith, but it is imperative that all immigrants seek to integrate into the mainstream community. I do believe this must start with learning the language. Immigrant children should, first and foremost, learn English. Blair's quote is worth repeating again:
...when you've got people who may be here sometimes 20 years or more and who still don't speak English, that worries me because there's a separateness there that may be unhealthy.
I am not saying to abandon our native language, but to make sure to learn English. It's unhealthy to the culture at large, and it is economically impoverishing, both to the society at large and to immigrants specifically, to live for extended periods of time in America without learning English.

States should be concerned with helping immigrant children, and their parents, transition as quickly as possible into the new language, into our civic duties, and into our cultural mores. Immigrants who become naturalized should learn our political processes and learn to use them in petitioning their governing officers, addressing grievances and seeking economic prosperity.

So, while it is clear and evident that Latinos that do not adjust and integrate do not become terrorists (its a different story altogether), some of the basic problems of integration are still relevant and important. Perhaps, better integration would reduce gang involvement among Latino kids, or perhaps it would result in an improved overall economic condition for Latinos. I think better integration would make a huge difference in reducing racist attitudes towards Latinos among those that are simply ignorant.

Most importantly, I think better integration with Latinos would do wonders in allowing this country, Anglos, black, Asians and others, to learn more and better understand the Latino culture. If others in this nation do not understand the Latino immigration problem, and the Latino culture, it is only because Latino's in general have done a bad job connecting and communicating with the American culture.

Why should a nation accept immigrants, if these immigrants do not care enough to learn the language and mores? From what I have experienced, having learned the language and culture, integration makes life a lot easier.


Popular posts from this blog

Communism: Good Money for the "El Viejo"

I guess Fidel Castro is doing ok. Forbes lists Castro as one of the richest in the world, right up there with the Queen of England. I bet he didn't like the attention. It was hard to figure it out, but it seems they managed to throw some numbers together.
In the past, we have relied on a percentage of Cuba's gross domestic product to estimate Fidel Castro's fortune. This year we have used more traditional valuation methods, comparing state-owned assets Castro is assumed to control with comparable publicly traded companies. A reasonable discount was then applied to compensate for the obvious disclosure issues.

Hispanic Trending: Leave your name at the border

Most people miss the fact that Hispanics do not consist of a single ethnic group. Besides that, the heritage that each one of the many nationalities represented in our immigrant population is diverse in itself. As I read Manuel Muñoz's post on his assimilation experience, I can tell you mine was nothing like his. But I can relate to this paragraph. My niece's name is Katie Belle (Sierra). It's intriguing to watch "American" names begin to dominate among my nieces and nephews and second cousins, as well as with the children of my hometown friends. I am not surprised to meet 5-year-old Brandon or Kaitlyn. Hardly anyone questions the incongruity of matching these names with last names like Trujillo or Zepeda. The English-only way of life partly explains the quiet erasure of cultural difference that assimilation has attempted to accomplish. A name like Kaitlyn Zepeda doesn't completely obscure her ethnicity, but the half-step of her nam…

Podcast: Talking GOP Debate and No Child Left Behind

Click here to listen to the MP3 audio of the discussion between Michel Martin, Stephen Henderson and myself on the GOP debate, and Bush's push for No Child Left Behind. The segment on the new gospel music competition reality show is a great segment -- check it out as well. Tell Me More, October 12, 2007 · This week, GOP presidential contenders met for a debate in Dearborn, Michigan. Meanwhile, President Bush was stumping for reauthorization of the education bill, "No Child Left Behind." In this week's Political Chat, hear insights from political blogger Josue Sierra and Stephen Henderson, Deputy Editorial Page Editor at the Detroit Free Press.

You can listen on the NPR website right here.

Related Posts:
- On Air: Talking GOP Debate and No Child Left Behind
- GOP Economy Debate

Other Posts of Interest:
- Conference for Minority Journalists of Faith Cross posted at: