Monday, October 27, 2008

The Never-Ending Arguments About Multiculturalism

Over at the Libertarian Republican blog, Eric Dondero has posted a video where a person playing the role of Thomas Paine lectures Americans about the supposed dangers of multiculturalism, diversity, and multilingualism.

Personally, I think it was a rather ignorant video. The speaker seems utterly confused about American history.

This nation has always been multi-ethnic. There has never been a time where people considered all of its residence as belonging to one culture. Without this diversity, just think about how much would be missing from our nation's history.

Secondly, this business about the English language is just divisive crap. When has this nation ever been English-only? Never. Spanish has been spoken here since before it became the United States of America. Why should we pretend as if it is somehow "foreign"? The English language is just as foreign, if you want to be factual. If folks really want to take it back to the "old school", then English would have to be phased out completely because there are plenty of languages that were being spoken here before English was ever introduced.

I think it's great that many people here choose to acknowledge and celebrate their heritage. We all deserve to be able to retain elements of the cultures that our ancestors came from. It's like colors in a crayon box. Calling a crayon "blue" doesn't change the fact that it's still a crayon. Calling another crayon "pink" doesn't mean we are trying to put the uniqueness of being pink above the uniqueness of being a crayon. I could call stretch out the label and call it "the pink that reminds me of the pepto-bismol that I used to drink when I was sick" and it would still be just as much a crayon as all the non-pink ones.

We don't need to pretend as if we all have the same customs and traditions in order for us to be wholly American. I love to pig out on brats at Oktoberfest. I like to share a few drinks with my friends and fam on St. Patrick's Day. I go out and catch all kinds of goodies during Carnival season and I believe that the Lenten season is a perfect time for spiritual contemplation and sacrifice. I love how Tet gives New Orleanians a second opportunity/excuse to pop firecrackers in between 4th of July celebrations. Isn't all of that a part of being an American? The fact that we are a culture where all of this stuff is a part of who we are is what makes us unique.

Come on, do you folks really want to try and deny that this is the stuff that contributes to what makes it great about being from this country?

By the way, appeals to "common sense" aren't logic-based. Just because a few or even a lot of people think a certain way doesn't mean that belief is logical or even beneficial for the rest of us to adopt. It seems to me that folks often resort to "common sense" appeals when they don't have facts to back up their point. If the creator of the video actually had any valid arguments, he wouldn't need to dress up as some historical figure to try and bolster his claims. That's an attempt to appeal to authority which is, also, not logical.


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Gary said...

Would you consider mentioning my newly-published memoir on your blog? I would be happy to exchange blog feeds as well.

Seven Wheelchairs: A Life beyond Polio was recently released by The University of Iowa Press.

The memoir is a history -- an American tale -- of my fifty year wheelchair journey after being struck by both bulbar and lumbar poliomyelitis after a vaccine accident in 1959. The Press says Seven Wheelchairs gives "readers the unromantic truth about life in a wheelchair, he escapes stereotypes about people with disabilities and moves toward a place where every individual is irreplaceable."

Other reviewers have called Seven Wheelchairs "sardonic and blunt," "a compelling account," and "powerful and poetic."

I hope you can mention Seven Wheelchairs on your blog. We all live different disability stories, I know, but perhaps if you find the memoir worthwhile, you might want to recommend the book to others who are curious about what polio or disability in general.

Of course, the book is also available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Gary Presley
SEVEN WHEELCHAIRS: A Life beyond Polio
Fall 2008 University of Iowa Press

bint alshamsa said...

Absolutely, Gary! Give me a few hours and I'll make a post for it, okay?

Renee said...

What a terrible video. It is full of inaccuracies and racism. It seems to me that the man has huge issues with the Latin@ community. He continually comes back to them as a bid to become more "American". It seems to me that what he is advocating for is whiteness as the universalizing understanding of American. Beneath of all of his rhetoric and passion beats the heart of a true racist.

b said...

i ALWAYS become livid about things like that. if you are not a native american, can you really speak on what is and is not "american"? like for real. it's like me moving into your home, then telling you how shit should be. i just find that sort of arrogance intolerable.

Eric Dondero said...

Bint, what's the difference between what you advocate and the complete abolishment of the United States of America?

Seriously. What you're saying is that America should have no unique culture. We're just one big United Nations. Everyone is welcomed. Every culture is fine with us.

If you Koreans want to have a dog farm in your backyard where you raise canines to butcher and serve as red meat at the local grocery story, fine by us.

If you Arab women want to come over here, and get a drivers licence while wearing a veil over your face, hey, that's cool too.

If Mexicans from the slums of Mexico City who have no skills, want to come here without any criminal background checks, or test to see if they've got TB or AIDS, hey, no problem amigo. And bring an amiga, and her two ninos, as well.

We have to have something that unites us as a country. You seem to advocate just abolishing the United States altogether. But I'm baffled as to why you don't come out and say that?

Trem papers said...

i ALWAYS become livid about things like that. if you are not a native american, can you really speak on what is and is not "american"?