Odds and Ends
10 10, 8:36am
"but the differences between American culture vs eastern cultures aren't really comparable"
Yes they are - culture is culture, there is no difference.
US cultural import gave us the hamburger - Middle Eastern cultural import gave us the kebab.
You're letting your prejudices cloud your thinking here - there really isn't a difference.
"And I believe these people are afraid that a culture that is SO DIFFERENT from theirs could EVENTUALLY become as intrusive as American culture as the populations of those people increase. It's the fear of what COULD happen, not necessarily what HAS happened."
People have had the same fears over American culture as well.
As far as I know there's still a rule in French public radio demanding that at least a certain percentage of songs played have to be sung in French. That rule was put in place to stop English from taking over more then the nationalist politicians behind it wanted, and is one of the reasons why Céline Dion is as big as she is in France.
The French are - as far as I know - especially protective, but a more generalized resentment of American cultural influence have existed in Europe all since WWII when it first arose as a phenomenon.
Some people like all American influences, some like some and some like none (rather a small group I think) - but the point is that it's also very much a generational question.
Cultural influences you grow up seeing around you aren't viewed as strange or threatening - they're just part of the fabric of life.
Your family might not celebrate Ramadan or Yom Kippur - but if you have a classmate that does and your parents aren't racist asshole who tell you that family is less worth then yours, you grow up knowing a little more about the rich fabric of the world you live in.
Them celebrating another holiday doesn't hinder you from celebrating what you want.
"The fear of what COULD happen" - yes, that's always it, isn't it?
You live in a country where you're 25 times more likely to be murdered by a gun then a person from any other developed country. Your life could end tomorrow if another mass shooter snaps and you're unlucky enough to be there.
But you're worried about what could possibly one day happen because immigrants move in and bring their culture along?
To me that seems like a very strange way to prioritize the possible threats facing you?
Like when Fox News fearmongers over the "War on Christmas" while Christmas is completely ubiquitous all over the western world.
This very thread is filled with discussion about how ridiculously early the shops fill up with Christmas stuff - earlier for every year.
I have to say I don't see the threat you seem to?
"And I didn't say anyone is forcing them to eat Halal, I'm saying that when you start seeing the foods/cultural things to become more integrated into everyday life, that is when it's becoming more influential. You claimed these things had zero influence on culture, which is wrong."
No, I know - and I never claimed you did. I was just jokingly saying that some people seem to fear being forced to eat Halal.
I've never actually claimed something has zero influence on culture - what I've said is it's always the case that the majority culture chooses what cultural influences it adopts.
Now if immigrant move in they will bring their food culture with them. But no one in the majority culture is ever forced to eat their food. Some will probably like it and if it's successful enough there will be restaurants serving it - but they only survive of people like what they sell.
As always - no one is forced to do anything, it's just a question of individual choices.
If the food is popular enough it might be more or less adopted by the majority culture - albeit often in a new version. Like US style pan pizza which is a monstrosity to any Italian, but a staple food in the US today (and thanks to Pizza Hut all over the world as well). Only then - in that late stage - that immigrant food has actually influenced American culture.
"Well then you are lucky to be someone who doesn't feel their culture is being threatened in anyway. This isn't the case for many people I know. They see their language disappearing as the majority, their foods being replaced by new ones, traditions being practiced less and less as a community. Those are the things they are afraid of regardless of where the new influence is coming from."
There have been those same fears in the US all through it's history.
Wave after wave of immigrants have come and every time there's been resentment and fear against the newcomers.
The Italians, the Irish, the Polish, the Chinese, the Japanese and on and on and on - every single immigrant group after the originally predominantly British settlers have been looked down upon and treated poorly - subjected to all kind of prejudices.
But if it hadn't been for all those immigrant the US wouldn't be what it is today, and each of those groups and individuals from each group have made valuable contributions to the nation you are today.
On one level it's natural that people fear the new and unknown - but if you look at this from a historical point of view it's clear those fears have never ever been born out.
Christ - when JFK ran for president in 1960 as only the second Catholic ever to do so on a major party ticket, he had to hold a speech just to quiet fears he as a Catholic would be controlled by the Pope in Rome! So strong was still the anti-Catholic sentiment in the US at that time.
"See Figure 1 for the population boom I'm referring to - and this is ONLY foreign immigration (keep in mind I was born in the 80's).
If you look at that chart again, you'll see it's graded in absolute numbers on the left hand side.
The huge spike in 1991 is, as is explained in the notes, "a large number of earlier immigrants who were granted lawful permanent residence" all at once because of a change in the laws. So these people didn't come all at once. Knowing this we can discount that artificial peak and compare the over all curve in the past decades with previous decades.
We then see that these last decades compares, in absolute numbers, to the numbers of immigrant that came in the years about 1905-1914 (the sharp drop-off point is likely the start of WWI and the further little drop is likely the US entry into that war in 1917).
Now these number are, in absolute terms, about as big - but as the US population today is many, many times larger then in 1905-1914 the actual impact of this immigration is actually smaller as about the same amount of new immigrants are distributed in a much larger population pool.
And we know that the people that came back then are now fully integrated into the US and that their culture has blended into the American fabric.
Thus, from a historical and sociological perspective this is nothing new to the US and there is no reason to fear this - it will work out, just as it's always done.
American culture won't be lost - it will be enriched with those things the majority wishes to adopt from the immigrants coming now.
While the immigrant coming now will retain more of their old culture for a while, but this will over time fade even in that group.
How many people of Italian or Chinese decent, who's ancestors came to the US in 1905-1914 do you think view themselves more as Italian or Chinese then American today? How much of their cultural ancestry have survived unchanged? How much danger do you think they pose to American culture?
I'd say they're probably just as American as you.
Moving on this link provides a lot of data on migration to Texas specifically and I've learnt a lot from that.
Apparently the state is among those attracting most immigration in the country.
Mostly from other states, but also from foreign sources.
Those foreign sources seem to shifting.
Less Mexicans are coming, but more Indians and to a smaller extent Chinese. Also the international immigrants are coming from a many more different countries in smaller numbers, creating a more diverse society.
This would seem to indicate that there is less threat of large homogeneous immigrant groups forming, which should speed up the rate of integration of these groups into society.
Regarding the second link you posted,
I'd advise you to not trust that source at all as that's a partisan think-tank pushing their own agenda while masquerading as a non-profit research organization.
They've been describe as an organization "that favors far lower immigration numbers and produces research to further those views" - which is of course not unbiased research at all.
"Several reports published by the CIS have been disputed by scholars on immigration; a wide range of think tanks; fact-checkers such as PolitiFact, FactCheck.Org, Washington Post, Snopes, CNN and NBC News; and by immigration-research organizations. Critics have accused the CIS of extremist nativist views and for ties to white supremacy groups, which the CIS rejects."
The third link,
Isn't really possible to interpret or evaluate properly as I can't see what the numbers on each side denotes and I don't know the source or full context.
But I'll take your word for it that it shows your city and it's population increase.
Even so this still doesn't say anything about who the people are that increases it's population. How much is immigration and from where and how much is birth rate?
And lastly the fourth link:
From that we glean some facts about immigration to Texas. The first link does this far better, so not much to say here.
But you also wrote:
"From other states that have very different cultures than Texas"
And I have to say regarding that firstly that you can't really do much about domestic migration - people are free to move where they find work and can make a living after all - and secondly that I have to question the "very different cultures" in other states?
I mean sure there are slight differences, but you're all citizens of the same nation, all speak the same language, all eat the same food and grew up seeing the same movies and TV-shows and so on an so forth.
I've never heard anyone have a problem with domestic immigration before and from a cultural standpoint I can't really think there are any huge differences between Americans from different states?
It sound like you (and maybe Texans in general then, if you say other feel like you?) are more touchy about the slight differences that exist between the population of different states?
"I already touched on this in my previous post, that due to all of the movement from other parts of the country into my state, and foreign countries as well, the culture of my state has changed greatly. It makes me sad because this is and always has been my home. If it changes to the point that I hardly recognize my community anymore, where do I have to go to find "home"? Nowhere."
"So as I said, I don't have an issue with WHICH cultures are moving here. It's the sheer amount that have flooded our borders over the last few decades and have had significant effects on the state as I knew it. This is what people fear."
How exactly has the culture of your state "changed greatly"?
How exactly has this had a "significant effect on the state" as you knew it?
I get that you see other people around and that they might eat other food or wear other clothes, but you don't have to do that - right?
Have the laws changed? Have anyone stopped you from doing anything you did before and if so what?
Or is this just that you feel it's somehow a negative change that there are other people around you that eat different food or wear different cloths?
I'm not really sure what you mean?
And I'm lifting over this from the other post you made, streamlining two discussions into one:
"like I said before, this was something I personally experienced as a child growing up. I grew up in a region that had certain traditions that we always did every year regarding Christmas. A person from up north - that was not a Christian - threw such a fit over us continuing our traditions, they stopped holding them to avoid further conflict. This was extremely upsetting for me and my friends as children. This single family put an end to our community's traditions."
Can you tell me what happened more specifically?
I get that you got upset, and it sounds weird, but I can't really say for sure until I know.
I mean for all I know this Christmas tradition of yours might have been highly offensive in some way - some old traditions are.
In the Netherlands they have a traditional Christmas character made up in blackface - an old relic from their colonial past. I could understand why such a thing would offend people.
Also, if this persons protest was accepted by a community in Texas (which is not known for being a bleeding-heart-liberal kind of state) I feel the "person from up north" must have had a convincing argument?
Any newspaper articles from this incident you could link too?
It sounds like the kind of thing media would love to cover?