As an immigrant myself, I was keenly interested in Jennifer’s grade 8 Social Studies assignment, “Immigration Unit – Whose America Is It”.
Part of the assignment was to define the following terms, and provide “examples from your own experience, literature or the news that best pertains to immigration.”
I thought I’d take a crack at this.
Xenophobia n. fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign
One of the reasons that I found America so desirable as a place to immigrate to is that, unlike much of the world, including , at some time, Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and China, its values, laws and culture seem to discourage xenophobia. Indeed we are so divorced from actual xenophobia that, like Nazism, the word has lost real meaning and is used as slang to mean anything “bad” or “different”.
Assimilation n. the process of adapting to a new place and people by learning, understanding, respecting their values and customs and incorporating them into daily life so as to be better able to communicate
The American assimilation process was slow and subtle for me, consisting mostly of people treating me with respect and dignity, exhibiting the personal characteristics of optimism, honesty, hard work and faith, and extending me the honor of inviting me into their houses and institutions.
Pluralism n. a condition in which numerous distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural groups are present and tolerated within a society
A unique quality of American cultural and legal respect for individual liberty is the side effect that pluralism is achieved without the polarizing effect of European style legislated multiculturalism.
Alienation n. emotional isolation or dissociation
It wasn’t until mandated diversity training that I personally experienced the feeling of alienation that was all too common during many hours of liberal socialist propaganda that I experienced growing up in Canada.