In previous two posts I focused on what failure to honestly and fully integrate immigrants/migrants from certain parts of the world could foster. From insular ethnic ghettos to sex selective abortions and gender discrimination, the issues are deep with wide ranging repercussions.
Forget the passionate pleas for “separate yet equal” model for immigrants where ethnic customs and rituals- even when they stand against local values and norms, are accepted as part of diversity. Social fractures emerging in the UK and elsewhere in Europe prove that this model encourages parallel societies and stands in the way of building a diverse community. Allowing the separation gives a sense of “outsider” and the gap only fuels alienation and frustration among youngsters. They grow up not feeling part of their country of birth and upbringing.
Bridging the gap and encouraging immigrants to accept new ways while keeping their cultural identity alive is necessary if Europe and America are to survive and thrive.
It would be a great start to drop this “western idea” tag. Freedom, valuing and honoring life, gender equality, free speech and pursuit of excellence- these values are in fact universal and should be promoted as such.
True, in many parts of the world these values have been overshadowed and erased from public memory but no surviving and thriving culture in today’s world exists without these values.
Instead of pushing immigrants to be ” westernized”, how about encouraging them to follow their cultural interpretation of these values? For instance, sex selective abortion is practiced by some within the Indian American community. But equality is not an alien concept for an Indian. Hinduism( I am referencing a Hindu family here because of my cultural familiarity) although has many inconsistencies, honors the female and says that where women are honored there the Gods reside.
In immigrant communities, some see going “western” as great taboo. If they see gender equality, free choice as western, they will resist to avoid being labeled a sell out. But if they understand that these values are their own, the resistance could soften.
And through these shared values communities are built and a nation strengthened.