The demand for hyphenated citizenship is a curious part… of 21st century American life.  Too many Americans feel incomplete without qualifying their nationality with an arbitrary link to some other part of the world.  Cultural relativism brainwashes people into believing that America is simply a place- like a loosely governed boarding house.   Thomas Jefferson gave us our creed in 1776- a belief that unites us all.  The modern world carries on as if these ideals were never truly American.

Teddy_Roosevelt_portrait

Theodore Roosevelt said it best:

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all."

 

What is wrong with declaring yourself and American first?   If you are fascinated with your ancestry, there are websites for that now….  Assimilation to the American creed should not be an objectionable expectation.

4 thoughts on “Teddy Roosevelt Explains Immigration

  1. Depends on what is meant by assimilation. If a requirement to be called an American means giving up or forgetting your past, your culture, your language, then that’s just plain wrong. America is not a culture of ‘whiteness’ …in fact, I contend that there is no such thing as white culture. You are a part of wherever your ancestors came from, whether that be the UK, Germany, Estonia, or Indonesia. All of the diverse cultures that have made it to America’s shores make America what it is.

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    1. I contend that you need to better explain “culture.” If your culture involves treating women as second -class citizens, well then, this might not be a good fit for you.

      Your comment is noted, but not well thought out. I never mentioned race, America’s identity is not tribal or ethnic.

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      1. My reply was geared more towards the idea of white supremacy.. sorry I did not make that clear enough. I do agree that our laws take primacy over one’s cultural values…though I’m hesitant to absolve Christianity in the regard to the treatment of women.

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  2. TR had it right. Of course people can maintain some of their customs and foods and such, but those things should subsume themselves into the American Creed of the Declaration, and any practices fundamentally at odds with our system should be checked or modified as best as possible. The “hyphenated-America” phenomenon undermines our nation, as it inherently encourages identity politics and divided loyalties, as TR presciently observed and implied.

    As for there being no “culture of ‘whiteness,'” try telling that to the people that led the D-Day Invasion, built the Notre Dame Cathedral, put men on the moon, started the Renaissance, produced Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, etc. That’s not to say only people with white skin could achieve those things, but there’s certainly a Western/white culture of some kind. Further, why does every _other_ race get some kind of distinct cultural expression, but white people are… blank? The brief list of cultural achievements listed above suggests this interpretation is incomplete and incorrect.

    Again, i’m not suggesting that _only_ white people could have produced symphonic orchestras (or play in them, for that matter). But that is a distinctly European (at a time when that meant, overwhelmingly, “people who happened to have white skin”) achievement.

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