|Nan DeVincent-Hayes, Ph.D [ Back ] [ Home ] [ Next ]|
COLUMN “Here’s a Thought.”
Double Edged, Double “Tongued”
that an American theme park wanting to open in another
country had to essentially dispense with its American features for
that country’s culture. Fine, but why build an American park?
Before I go even farther here, know that I am not opposed to
immigrants, minorities, alternative groups, or
cultural/religious/politically differences, but that I am disturbed
at how we’re made to be “politically correct” to every group
in existence when we are first Americans!
father emigrated from Italy at eleven.
He did it properly, he did it legally. He rode a boat that
today would challenge even today’s strongest. Landing at Ellis
Island, the clerk, who didn’t understand Italian, bestowed his own
version of my dad’s last name upon him and all my father’s
future generations; he accepted it. He found himself
attending school at the same time working menial jobs to help his
parents who didn’t speak English. After fulfilling the strict
Naturalization rules of the 1930s, he became a proud American.
seldom found schoolmates, co-workers, grocerers, or doctors who
spoke Italian. He didn’t have the luxury of picking up directions
for, say, assembling a coffee table for my mother, sleds for my
brother and me; no literature was written in both English and
Italian, or English and any other language, for that matter. He
never demanded to be accommodated as a foreigner during his school
years, or in any minority situation. He attended school daily,
earned his high school diploma (GRE while in the Army), and served
his country as a medal-earning Merrill’s Marauder. He understood
that he was desiring to live in a country that wasn’t his
by birth, and so it was his responsibility to learn the country’s
language, get a job and respect that job, assimilate into the
culture and adopt the mores, rules, and values of the new land. He
expected nothing from his neighbors, his employers, the government.
this assimilation was attempting to not stick out as a guest in
the New World but rather to embrace the people and their ways. He never expected special treatment, or attention to his
beliefs, his culture, or inclusion in American activities, textbooks,
or films, or theme parks. I can’t imagine him getting together a
group of Italians–Americans or immigrants–to protest an American
parade as a way of dictating that his culture be featured.
In fact, he mastered English so well that you had to listen
hard to detect an accent. Yet he was taunted
for being a foreigner, slammed for being “different.” His
goal of wanting to become one of them-- not make them become
him--never wavered. He
and my mother and relatives never taught our generation the beauty of
the Romance language lest it “mark” us; it wasn’t considered
beneficial for American-born children to be bilingual; uniformity
brought opportunities in the land where anyone of anyplace at anytime
could become anything they wanted with honesty and sweat.
we’re worrying about offending anyone with backgrounds different
from ours. We feel compelled to provide literature in multiple
languages; to provide special consideration
in hospitals, churches, even theme parks for those not of our
soil. When we Americans are told that we cannot create something
strictly “American,” that it has to take in other worlds,
something’s wrong. We are rapidly losing our identity, culture,
sovereignty in attempt to please everyone.
here’s a thought. Let’s start by making English the national
language. Let’s do embrace visitors and citizens-to-be to our
country while making them understand that they are not entitled
to our native-born rights and privileges until they meet regulations
after living here a good long time. Let’s take a serious look at
hiring foreigners when Americans can do the same job, and let’s
review the visas of those who have been in this country too long on a
work or school permit. Let’s bury the sins of our fathers’
fathers–those who treated others so sinfully--and start anew without
the past always hanging over our heads and preventing solid, trusting
co-existence. Let’s stop catering to every single minority and
alternative group just to please them. We are built on
democracy...majority is supposed to rule. Giving up the Lord’s
prayer in school because one woman complained isn’t majority rule.
And most of all, those who come to our country should be made to
understand in the most tactfully way that they are, after all, bound
to fit into our country and not visa versa.
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