Ghettos, Assimilation and the Melting Pot

In my previous post, I discussed how futile it is to expect foreign born/ raised kids to be culturally pure and observant. The degree of purity depends on the definitions set by the parents, how they themselves were raised and their values. But the whole idea of pushing the young generation to follow on the path of their ancestors and ignore their surrounding culture is troubling.

We are born into a culture, religion and values set. Parents, relatives and the community shape us, but ultimately it is us- an individual who decides what to pick and what to ignore. In certain societies parents and elders do push youngsters to confirm, even then the individual decision counts.

To push a young person to follow their parents’ culture, while living amongst an entirely different culture creates “cultural and ethnic ghettos”. They live in an almost parallel universe and the clash between civilizations and cultures makes it’s difficult for them to integrate into their new homeland.

It also confuses them because here they are living in a country where personal freedom and valued, but at home and within their community their voice is ignored. How are they supposed to reconcile the difference and work so that they grow up to be responsible citizen of their new homeland rather then just being a good (insert ethnicity or religion here)?

You see this rift widening in Europe and parts of America. Ethnicities banding together and living in insular communities fractures a nation and crates parallel societies. Integration is difficult and the clash creates a permanent class of “outsiders”- and feeds alienation.

Instead of accepting these parallel societies, effort has to be made to truly integrate new comers and their families. Culture is important part of identity and diversity is good for a country but at a certain point different cultures have to come together and be one nation.

Nepali, Chinese , Hindi schools and culture lessons are welcomed and encouraged, but similar efforts are needed to make sure that the children and the immigrants know that they don’t have to feel like an outsider. An effort to integrate.

Most of us are descendants of immigrants/migrants. My ancestors moved to Nepal 3 or 4 hundred years ago, most definitely from north India. Over time they embraced Nepal and it’s culture and became part of the society. They did retain part of their culture and heritage, but embraced the new too.

Integration and assimilation over time is only natural. Resistance gives rise to fractured societies and ghettoes.

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