Assimilating to the Us
We all feel the need to be accepted somewhere - Assimilating to the Us introduction. We all want to feel loved. We want to know that people want to spend time with us; we want to be accepted. Sometimes we will do anything to reach that. Some people will change everything about themselves just to fit in. This trying to fit in can be seen in every school, in every city, in every state, in every country, all around the world. No one wants to feel lonely and left out. No one wants to be rejected. But, what happens when trying to fit in means letting go of things you love and things you are familiar with?
This is what happens for many immigrants who come to the United States and decide to assimilate. They have to try to fit in, and in doing so they tend to lose some of their own culture. But is this a good thing? Should they try and fit into this new culture? The simple answer is yes. Immigrants should assimilate and become a part of the United States economically, culturally, and civically. While expecting immigrants to assimilate may seem harsh, one must understand what assimilation is before jumping to any conclusions. “… “assimilation” implies a forced conformity.
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They feel that it would require them to give up what makes them special, and they dread being reduced to what they see as the lowest common denominator of what it means to be American. ”(Jacoby 571). But is that really what assimilating means? What does assimilation actually mean for immigrants? “Assimilation is a term referring to another part of the adaptation process initially proposed by Jean Piaget. Through assimilation, we take in new information or experiences and incorporate them into our existing ideas. ” (Ehrenhalt 9).
It means coming to a new culture, understanding how to function there, keeping some old idea, and adding and modifying others. It is about respecting the new place you moved to and understanding how it works. Changing everything about one’s self is not what assimilation is. It is not about losing yourself and the things you love completely. Letting one’s self be open to new things is something assimilation involves. A counter argument to assimilating is that multiculturalism is good for America. It makes us diverse and unique, and it lets us learn from other cultures.
In assimilation’s defense, nowhere does it say that assimilation means that one can’t be unique and different. It does not claim that we can’t accept and learn from other cultures. It does mean that there are certain aspects of a culture that one should adjust to, but an assimilated country does not mean a country that rejects all types of uniqueness and diversity. So now the question is, how should an immigrant appropriately assimilate? The first way an immigrant should assimilate is economically. Now one must ask what that means specifically.
First and foremost, it means immigrants getting involved in the United State’s economy. By immigrating the immigrant is declaring that they want to be a part of this new country. Being part of this country means contributing economically. It means finding a job, learning how to buy things, learning how to sell things, investing in assets, paying taxes, ect. Why should one learn how to do these things? During an interview, Ayo Ayoola said that, “My Mom said that we need to learn how to shop and buy things here; we need to support this country because this is now our home. It is not only for the good of the country, but also it will positively impact the immigrant as well. If one does not understand how the economic culture works here, they will be utterly lost.
To be able to thrive one must immerse themself and understand the economic culture they are a part of. How can one expect to thrive in a country if money or investing is a mystery to them? Also, many employers are much more interested in hiring those who understand the United State’s economy. (Hayworth). Getting a job is not only helpful to the immigrant, but also to the United States as a whole.
Assimilating economically is a matter of respect for the country. If one comes to this country and does not contribute economically they are hurting their new home. In an article about assimilation it was stated that there are two ways to immigrate in regards to the economy. The first way is to assimilate and advance, or they can not assimilate and go downward to poverty. (Portes and Zhou). By not assimilating economically, the immigrant will end up costing the country more by using many resources and returning them.
In an article about assimilation it was stated that there are two ways to immigrate in regards to the economy. Another way that an immigrant should properly assimilate is by adapting culturally. (Ehrenhalt 9). This doesn’t mean that an immigrant should lose all the thing that they enjoy about their old culture, but in the United State, and in every place you go, there are cultural tendencies that need to be learned and understood. You wouldn’t want to go to someone’s house and impose on their way of doing things. Similarly, by immigrating there are certain thing that are done in order to ot impose on an entire culture. Immigrating means making this place your new home. If one doesn’t accept certain cultural aspects how will this place ever feel like home?
“As presented in innumerable academic and journalistic writings, the expectation is that foreign born and their offspring will acculturate and seek acceptance among the native born as a prerequisite for social advancement. ”(Portes and Zhou). Without assimilation many people won’t accept you. Home is a place where one should be accepted the most. By assimilating culturally the immigrant will be able to feel at home. Hayworth). An immigrant should assimilate culturally by first learning how to communicate. Learn the language. This doesn’t mean completely forgetting one’s own language, but it does mean that one should be able to interact with their new community. Once the language has been learned, one should then proceed to understand how to go about everyday life. (Ehrenhalt). “…how to say hello, how to use transportation, how to speak naturally, how to dress, and many more, should all be things that that immigrants understand. ” (Ayoola).
Furthermore, similar cultural practices helps the United States be more united. In The New Immigrants and the Issue of Assimilation, Tamar Jacoby writes, “The attacks of September 11, 2001, have sparked new patriotism and a new confidence in what brings us together as Americans. ” (571). We need a community; we need people who will support us. This is the culture they live in now, the United States is their new home, and to be able to be accepted in this place they need to assimilate culturally. Finally, immigrants should assimilate civically. What does that mean? It means being a part of the community.
It means participating in things that everyday citizens of the United States participate in. Whether it be volunteering, doing yard work, getting involved in different clubs, going to jury duty, joining the army, attending school, making friends, all of this should be part of an immigrants life. Jacoby even claims that getting an education is the most important part of assimilating and involving one’s self. (571). They should be a part of their new country. This shouldn’t just be a place for them to reside while practicing all their new old ways of doing things. They need to learn about the world around them.
While they may not agree with everything, they may find many good things too. They moved here to make a new start, to make a new home. So, if they have this new life, shouldn’t they learn new things too, and not just rely on the old ways. Just like everyone around them, immigrants should become a part of their communities; they should assimilate civically. “Together, immigrants and their children account for more than 60 million people or a fifth of all U. S. residents. ” (Jacoby 570). What if one fifth of the United States didn’t want anything to do with the United States?
What if one fifth of the United States didn’t speak English? What if one fifth of the United States didn’t assimilate at all? Without any assimilation the United States would be missing the community, respect, and many other wonderful attributes that it has now. Assimilation doesn’t mean losing all of one’s self, but it does mean understanding and adjusting to the culture of their new home. Immigrants need to assimilate economically, culturally, and civically. Without doing so, the United States would not be a strong, united, and devoted country.