One Scholar's Solution to Europe's "Muslim Problem": American-Style National Identity - Page 4 - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-24-2006, 06:49 PM   #46
ONE
love, blood, life
 
financeguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ireland
Posts: 10,122
Local Time: 05:22 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
why?

You seem to be making a whole set of assumptions, the principle ones being that a big multicultural melting pot is (1) automatically A Good Thing (2) desired by most Europeans. In my view, it is neither of these things. This is one of the biggest mistake the left are always making.


Re: Trainspotting: haven't read the book I must admit.
__________________

__________________
financeguy is offline  
Old 08-24-2006, 06:52 PM   #47
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,294
Local Time: 11:22 AM
I don't see this happening in Europe.

First of all, Americans have a common language and Europeans don't. The language immediately relates to culture and separates people through borders.

Secondly, you can travel through America and see geographical differences and some cultural ones too. Boston is different than Baton Rouge is different than Reno is different than Seattle. But it is nowhere near as different as say, Coimbra, Glasgow, Gdansk and Athens. There aren't unifying themes in the same way.

I think it would be a shame for Europe to integrate to such levels because then you are going to see erosion of the smaller nations, their identities and cultures as they get swept up.

Globalization is nice, but not every place needs to be a melting pot, IMO.
__________________

__________________
anitram is offline  
Old 08-24-2006, 08:17 PM   #48
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,495
Local Time: 11:22 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by financeguy



You seem to be making a whole set of assumptions, the principle ones being that a big multicultural melting pot is (1) automatically A Good Thing (2) desired by most Europeans. In my view, it is neither of these things. This is one of the biggest mistake the left are always making.



i suppose the assumption i'm making -- and i hope i'm coming across as judgement-free, because i'm not prepared to say that one thing is better than the other -- is that a pan-European identity is inevitable, especially as China and India rise in global prominence.

also -- how do you propose dealing with the assimilation of Muslims in various European countries?

i really don't mean to say that i have suggestions, or at least good suggestions -- i do mean all of this (besides my convictions about Trainspotting) as more conjecture and speculation rather than pronouncements or decrees.

if my tone has come across as anything other than that, i apologize.


Quote:
Re: Trainspotting: haven't read the book I must admit.
i highly recommend it.

(and telling an English Major that they're just "reading too much" into a particular novel is akin to telling a scientist that there's stuff he's never really going to know, so just stop now)
__________________
Irvine511 is online now  
Old 08-24-2006, 08:21 PM   #49
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,495
Local Time: 11:22 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
I don't see this happening in Europe.


i agree it's hard to see, but might it be inevitable? or necessary for survival?


[q]First of all, Americans have a common language and Europeans don't. The language immediately relates to culture and separates people through borders.[/q]

true, but what about the status of English as everyone's official "second language/lingua franca"? how does an Italian speak to a Swede? via English. the younger you go, the more people speak fluent english (with certain cultural idiosyncracies)

and there are some 30m spanish-speakers in the US ... and this does cause some considerable consternation, so who knows.

[q]Secondly, you can travel through America and see geographical differences and some cultural ones too. Boston is different than Baton Rouge is different than Reno is different than Seattle. But it is nowhere near as different as say, Coimbra, Glasgow, Gdansk and Athens. There aren't unifying themes in the same way.[/q]



i'm a bit resistant to this -- i'd say that New Yorkers and Londoners and Parisians are far closer cousins than New Yorkers and Mississippians. i can meet someone from Texas and someone from Spain and have far more in common with the person from Spain. dating someone who is from the very rural, religious South has really opened my eyes to the vast cultural differences that exist between different regions in the US, to the point where visiting his family was as much a cultural experience as visiting a Western European nation.


Quote:
I think it would be a shame for Europe to integrate to such levels because then you are going to see erosion of the smaller nations, their identities and cultures as they get swept up.

Globalization is nice, but not every place needs to be a melting pot, IMO.
agreed that something would be lost, no question.

i just wonder about the inevitability of it all, and i also wonder what is lost when national identities are fiercely clung to.
__________________
Irvine511 is online now  
Old 08-25-2006, 01:44 AM   #50
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 05:22 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
what about the status of English as everyone's official "second language/lingua franca"?
A lingua franca is very different from a national language, though, and doesn't necessarily "immediately relate to culture" as anitram put it. If the increase in Europeans who speak English had come about primarily as an expression of pan-Europeanism, then maybe you could call it cultural expression, but my impression is it's pretty much entirely due to economic factors. Of course this isn't to say that multilingualism and a sturdy national identity are incompatible; obviously they aren't, but the collective self-understanding as a nation has to be there first.

I believe it's the case--someone please correct me if I'm wrong--that even most official EU business is conducted in multiple languages and with the aid of translators, rather than relying on English. And that the EU encourages multilingualism (or at least, the retention of Europe's major languages by their home countries) as a general policy stance.
Quote:
i'd say that New Yorkers and Londoners and Parisians are far closer cousins than New Yorkers and Mississippians. i can meet someone from Texas and someone from Spain and have far more in common with the person from Spain. dating someone who is from the very rural, religious South has really opened my eyes to the vast cultural differences that exist between different regions in the US, to the point where visiting his family was as much a cultural experience as visiting a Western European nation.
I understand what you're saying, but you have to keep in mind that you're approaching all the above situations as an American, with all the blindnesses to the other person's experience of the encounter that entails. You might personally feel very much like An Addled American Adrift In Spain when in a village in Galicia, then much more like A Confident Citizen Of The World when in Barcelona (I know that's true for me), but I'm not sure an "average" Barcelonin would see it that way, or consider themselves to have more in common with a New Yorker than a Galician. Both places are still Spain, and both have their place in the story of what it means to be Spanish.

Same thing here really--I can feel at home in rural Mississippi in a way you probably never could, but at the end of the day we're both Americans, and not likely to be in strong disagreement about what that means...which is of course more than just life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or McDonald's, Wal-Mart and Snapple); it's also the Pilgrims, the Boston Tea Party, Manifest Destiny, the Gold Rush, Tammany Hall, "War is Hell!", the Roaring 20s, the Harlem Renaissance, Little House on the Prairie, Pearl Harbor, Watergate and so on. In this sense American national identity is perhaps not so different from other varieties...what is (relatively) unique is the overall sense that the "people" at the center of this story are not and never have been a "people" by virtue of blood.

As for the the North-South divide, that really is a uniquely profound one by American standards, because those differences, albeit in an earlier form, actually led outright to war. Which tends to be remembered from a Northern POV as a question of having defended, and bettered, a "We" that was meant to be...whereas among white Southerners, broadly speaking--especially rural ones, and especially in the Deep South--there remains a good deal of lasting bitterness, particularly over Reconstruction, which of course black Southerners have in turn paid a high price for...economically, politically, socially. Yes, there's also the religious identity differences and so forth, but these are so intertwined with that sense of alienation, and the insularity it nurtures, that it's impossible to fully disentangle them.

It's not an obstacle to feeling American, though...more a defensiveness about having come down on the wrong side of history about what that should mean, coupled with a disaffected resentment about the aftermath, especially economically. Same narrative...different dialect.
Quote:
i suppose the assumption i'm making -- and i hope i'm coming across as judgement-free, because i'm not prepared to say that one thing is better than the other -- is that a pan-European identity is inevitable, especially as China and India rise in global prominence.
I agree that ever-closer political and economic ties are probably inevitable...just not sure about the social and cultural ones. Yeah you can go to pretty much any major Western European city now and figure out without assistance how to use the metro, where to buy a coffee-and-pastry versus a full meal, where to find a kiosk that sells phone cards, etc., but I'm not sure how significant these similarities are in the big picture. I'd also question whether the rise of the US to superpower status isn't an even more powerful incentive towards unity than the rise of India and China. And in any case, I'd hate to see a European unity grounded primarily in an Us Against The World mentality--as I've said before, I fear that Israeli identity for one is grounded far too heavily in precisely that, and it makes for volatile stuff.
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline  
Old 08-25-2006, 10:54 AM   #51
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,495
Local Time: 11:22 AM
[q]A lingua franca is very different from a national language, though, and doesn't necessarily "immediately relate to culture" as anitram put it. If the increase in Europeans who speak English had come about primarily as an expression of pan-Europeanism, then maybe you could call it cultural expression, but my impression is it's pretty much entirely due to economic factors. Of course this isn't to say that multilingualism and a sturdy national identity are incompatible; obviously they aren't, but the collective self-understanding as a nation has to be there first.[/q]

But why couldn’t the use of “Euro English” be related to what might be known as European Culture? surely we can speak French to demonstrate our Frenchness – in the same manner that we have regional accents that speak to where we’re from in North America, I noticed Memphis’s accent returned with a vengeance the closer we got to Memphis itself – but when we speak with other Europeans, the default language is Euro-English? Also, couldn’t bi-tri-linguality (or however many languages … I remember the Belgians being particularly brilliant linguists) also be part of an understanding of European culture?



[q]I believe it's the case--someone please correct me if I'm wrong--that even most official EU business is conducted in multiple languages and with the aid of translators, rather than relying on English. And that the EU encourages multilingualism (or at least, the retention of Europe's major languages by their home countries) as a general policy stance.[/q]

I’m not sure – I remember, specifically, a Belgian telling me how insulting he thought it was that his son’s business affairs were conducted in English when the room was filled with people who weren’t native English speakers. At the time, this struck me as a provincial francophone attitude, but who knows if that one experience was isolated or if it is the norm.



[q]I understand what you're saying, but you have to keep in mind that you're approaching all the above situations as an American, with all the blindnesses to the other person's experience of the encounter that entails. You might personally feel very much like An Addled American Adrift In Spain when in a village in Galicia, then much more like A Confident Citizen Of The World when in Barcelona (I know that's true for me), but I'm not sure an "average" Barcelonin would see it that way, or consider themselves to have more in common with a New Yorker than a Galician. Both places are still Spain, and both have their place in the story of what it means to be Spanish.[/q]




I think that’s interesting, but perhaps this bolsters my point – one can still be Spanish as well as a Confident Citizen of the World. It’s those who grow up in the midst of contemporary cosmopolitanism who might share a culture analogous to a sort of supra-national state – precisely what Welsh is talking about. Sure, you have roots, but contemporary identity isn’t grounded in history, blood, soil, language, and religion in the way that it once was, and Welsh would view this as A Good Thing. To be less anarchist than Welsh, I think we can say that being Spanish and being a Confident Citizen of the World are not mutually exclusive. The Barcelonan can speak to his Galician cousins in one manner, the Londoners in town conducting business in another, and feel different connections to both, one neither better nor worse than the other.

I take your point about the mutual understanding of Spanishness, but I wonder just how deep that goes and if we don’t overestimate it’s importance and value, particularly to our Barcelonan Citizen of the World.

It’s interesting … let’s take a look a hyphenated American cultures. I could meet a gay boy from Oklahoma and have plenty in common. We both understand what it means to be gay, to have an understanding and a bond that transcends geography (like the geography between Galicia and Barcelona). The same way a Jew from Itta Bene is going to have immediate connections and commonalities to Jews in Brooklyn. But how far does this take us? Likewise, how far does it take the Barcelonan and the Galacian? Are these commonalities only apparent when faced with immediate, obvious difference – say, the presence of a Canadian makes the Barcelonan more Spanish and thus increase his bonds with the Galacian – and they break down over time? Ultimately, the gay boy from OK and I are going to run out of gay things to talk about, and what are we then left with? He’s rural, I’m urban, and that, to me, seems a bigger divide that shared gayness isn’t going to overcome.



[q]Same thing here really--I can feel at home in rural Mississippi in a way you probably never could, but at the end of the day we're both Americans, and not likely to be in strong disagreement about what that means...which is of course more than just life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or McDonald's, Wal-Mart and Snapple); it's also the Pilgrims, the Boston Tea Party, Manifest Destiny, the Gold Rush, Tammany Hall, "War is Hell!", the Roaring 20s, the Harlem Renaissance, Little House on the Prairie, Pearl Harbor, Watergate and so on. In this sense American national identity is perhaps not so different from other varieties...what is (relatively) unique is the overall sense that the "people" at the center of this story are not and never have been a "people" by virtue of blood. [/q]

True, but I wonder how strong these ties really are. I’ve heard it said that American-style flag-on-you-sleeve style patriotism – how we cheer after the national anthem at a ball game, how it’s perfectly fine to be so “rah-rah” about the US, all this satirized in Team America, World Police with the song “America, Fuck Yeah!” – is actually necessary for any sense of cultural unity, that we need these overt displays of patriotism, and fidelity to national myths, in order to keep what is actually a very, very fragmented country together. One of the reasons why mass culture is so successful in the US is because the average American needs such a mass culture precisely to assist in the creation of a national identity since there really hasn’t been one created by history. Just as American citizenship is participatory by nature, so is the creation of a broadly understood American identity – what we’re purchasing is a placement of ourselves in a national story that doesn’t implicitly include us. We have to actively place ourselves in that narrative.


[q]As for the the North-South divide, that really is a uniquely profound one by American standards, because those differences, albeit in an earlier form, actually led outright to war. Which tends to be remembered from a Northern POV as a question of having defended, and bettered, a "We" that was meant to be...whereas among white Southerners, broadly speaking--especially rural ones, and especially in the Deep South--there remains a good deal of lasting bitterness, particularly over Reconstruction, which of course black Southerners have in turn paid a high price for...economically, politically, socially. Yes, there's also the religious identity differences and so forth, but these are so intertwined with that sense of alienation, and the insularity it nurtures, that it's impossible to fully disentangle them.[/q]

Very interesting – I might forward this paragraph to Memphis.



[q]I agree that ever-closer political and economic ties are probably inevitable...just not sure about the social and cultural ones. Yeah you can go to pretty much any major Western European city now and figure out without assistance how to use the metro, where to buy a coffee-and-pastry versus a full meal, where to find a kiosk that sells phone cards, etc., but I'm not sure how significant these similarities are in the big picture. I'd also question whether the rise of the US to superpower status isn't an even more powerful incentive towards unity than the rise of India and China. And in any case, I'd hate to see a European unity grounded primarily in an Us Against The World mentality--as I've said before, I fear that Israeli identity for one is grounded far too heavily in precisely that, and it makes for volatile stuff.[/q]


Yes, agreed about the US – I sort of assume that US-as-sole-superpower has been the driving force for European unification for years now, and I think China and India are simply going to augment this as Europe is going to have to compete with these economies of billions.

Well, in the current absence of any European voices, let me refer to an article I read years ago in the NYT Magazine from years ago – from 10/13/2002, titled “What is a European.” It said the same thing you have (and I agree) about how you could drop me off in nearly any European city and I could get myself a coffee, bread, a newspaper and a train ticket without much of a problem. I think some of it warrants reposting right now – it’s subscription only, so I’ve dug it up on Nexis, but here’s some interesting quotes:


[q] The French, on the whole, make more assertive claims to a European identity. My French publisher said, when asked: "Naturally, I am first a European. And within that, I am French." I live in southern France in the summer. A lady I meet regularly on a mountainside, tending a goat and some chickens, said: "Of course I feel myself European. With all these agreements we now have." When I pressed her on what that meant, she said, "Je suis du type Europeen." She spread her arms toward the four corners of the globe. "You have Africa, and Asia -- and over there you have America -- and here, we are European." It was interesting that she saw Americans as a single -- non-European -- "type." [/q]

[q] From another point of view, Italy feels very distant from the centers of European power. I was discussing the increasing split between the north and south of that (in European terms) recently unified country, on a boat crossing from Capri to Naples. I said to the group of Italian journalists and university teachers I was with that perhaps Europe would provide a place in which intense local identities could co-exist more easily than in nation-states. I mentioned British hopes for separate parliaments in Scotland and Northern Ireland, co-existing within a European economy and community. I mentioned the new confidence of the once-oppressed Catalans in Spain. The Italians smiled into the Mediterranean sunlight at my naivete. "The people here know and care nothing about Europe," they said. "They hate the people in the next village. Europe is nothing." [/q]

[q] I asked Norwegians whether they felt they were Europeans. Their answers varied. No, said some; we are on the geographical edge; we are separate and independent and different. One said passionately that after hearing George Bush's speech -- those who are not with us are against us -- she was sure for the first time that Norway should join the E.U., in order to oppose such dangerous and belligerent ideas. Another said that he had traveled last summer across the battlefields of the First World War, and having seen the devastation knew that Norway should join the union in order to prevent such a horror from ever happening again. All, without exception, said thoughtfully that they did not really feel European but that they did feel Scandinavian. They belonged with other Scandinavians. The Danes said the same -- they felt that the European Union was necessary and useful, but their extended identity was Scandinavian. [/q]

[q] There was only one thing all the Europeans I talked to had in common. They would all say, "When I am in America, I know I am European." In Europe they notice local differences, but seen from the distance of the States, it is suddenly the whole state of being European that grips them. One person said to me, "I thought I knew from books and television what the American way of life was, but when you are in it you realize you don't understand it at all." This feeling isn't necessarily, or even mostly, antagonistic. America has the fascination of the Other. I don't think European perceptions of America are helped by the ubiquitous presence of dubbed American soaps and B movies on European television. American mouths moving in American shapes and producing French sounds in French voices are cultural zombies, and misleading.

An American recently said to me at a German reception that she hadn't even noticed that she had a "nationality" until she came to Europe. There are two (at least) ways of looking at that. One is that for most Americans the natural way to be is to be American, and they are surprised to find Europeans are different, and have complex ways of looking at their own identities. The other is that in the United States family origins -- Italian, Irish, Jewish, Hispanic -- are subsumed in a deliberately chosen new identity, without being lost. I don't think the Europeans, any of them, even the most enthusiastic for political union, will ever subsume their origins in a new national identity as Americans naturally do. [/q]

[q] I asked him if it was easier for members of smaller countries to feel "European," and he answered that he thought this was so. "Smaller nations have much less difficulty with the 'high politics' aspects of Europe and have less identity bound up with foreign policy, defense and even the currency." He then made what he said was the "basic point." "Being European is a supplementary identity, which does not aspire to be the dominant identity for anybody. This is the whole point and attractiveness of it in a world where identity politics not to mention ethno-politics have done and are doing enormous harm." [/q]




if you can't tell, i do find Europe fascinating -- every once in a while, i get consumed by a desire to live there again ...
__________________
Irvine511 is online now  
Old 08-25-2006, 01:36 PM   #52
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
TheQuiet1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: N.Yorkshire UK
Posts: 3,816
Local Time: 05:22 PM
Sorry to go back a few pages but I was just wondering how prominent Asians are in American public life? Because although the UK does have problems in some places with a lack of integration between communities (and I really can't emphasise that enough. Some places in the UK have problems, even within Bradford there are places where communities mix happily. Plus don't forget that everyone's experience is very different. One person might have hated the USA and loved the UK, for another it might be the other way round. OK, I'll stop stating the obvious now ) there are many Asians who are in the public eye- MPs, sports stars, newspaper columnists, actors, writers, comedians, police chief constables etc etc etc ...but when I think of the USA I can't think of any famous American Asians. It's probably just that famous American Asians aren't internationally famous, if I named famous Brits like Sanjeev Basker or Amir Khan you'd most likely go "Who?" .
__________________
TheQuiet1 is offline  
Old 08-25-2006, 02:10 PM   #53
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,294
Local Time: 11:22 AM
I'm not sure you could compare the two directly, because you seem to be talking about Asians from the Indian subcontinent and area and in terms of numbers there are many more of them in the UK because India was a former colony, and there are other places like East African countries with large Asian populations which were also British colonies at some point. Therefore immigration to England was obviously easier and done in greater numbers.

Proportionally, the US doesn't have that many Asians from that area, understandably so. Maybe if you compared the Asians in public life in England with African Americans in public life in the US it would be more apt, I don't know?
__________________
anitram is offline  
Old 08-25-2006, 02:20 PM   #54
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,495
Local Time: 11:22 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Proportionally, the US doesn't have that many Asians from that area, understandably so. Maybe if you compared the Asians in public life in England with African Americans in public life in the US it would be more apt, I don't know?


i think this is very true -- or, another group you could use, would be Latinos.

generally speaking, south asian indian americans tend to be very successful, if you look at traditional measures such as income and education, particularly the children of recent immigrants:

[q]Asian Indians have outperformed all other minority groups in most measures of socioeconomic achievement[2]. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution on April 26, 2005, (House Resolution 227) to honor the Indian American community and Indian Institutes of Technology graduates [3]. Many individuals, particularly those in the fields of medicine and technology, consider Indian Americans the epitome of the model minority. According to the 2000 U.S. Census Indian Americans have the highest median income of any national origin group in the U.S. ($60,093), and Merrill Lynch recently revealed that there are nearly 200,000 Indian American millionaires. One in every nine Indians in the US is a millionaire, comprising 10% of US millionaires. (Source: 2003 Merrill Lynch SA Market Study). This affluence has been matched by a high degree of educational attainment. Indians have the highest educational qualifications of all national origin groups in the US. According to the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, there are close to 41,000 Indian American doctors. According to the 2000 census, about 64% of Asian Indians in the U.S. have attained a Bachelor's degree or more.[4](compared to 28% nationally). Almost 40% of all Indians have a master’s, doctorate or other professional degree, which is five times the national average. (Source: The Indian American Centre for Political Awareness.) These high levels of education have enabled Indian Americans to become a productive segment of the American population, with 72.3% participating in the U.S. work force, of which 57.7% are employed in managerial and professional specialties[5]. Indians own 50% of all economy lodges and 35% of all hotels in the US, which have a combined market value of almost $40 billion. (Source: Little India Magazine). A University of California, Berkeley, study reported that one-third of the engineers in Silicon Valley are of Indian descent, while 7% of valley hi-tech firms are led by Indian CEOs. (Source: Silicon India Readership Survey)

[/q]

link



my guess is that it's similar in Canada?

as for famous "public" south asian indian americans?



Dr. Sanjay Gupta comes to mind ... and there was that Harold and Kumar ... movie and Jess from ...like Beckham has a gig on ER. but, no, there is clearly more of an Indian influence on UK public/cultural life than on public life/culture in the US.
__________________
Irvine511 is online now  
Old 08-25-2006, 02:36 PM   #55
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,294
Local Time: 11:22 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511



my guess is that it's similar in Canada?
Yeah, it sounds very similar to the situation here. My simply anecdotal experience, and I have quite a number of South Asian friends, is that as a cohort, they place a very high value on education, and the pursuit of professional programs. Things like medicine, engineering, MBA programs always have very good representation from the various groups.

Where are the major areas of South Asian populations in the US? I know a lot of my Indian friends ended up either dating or married to guys from the New Jersey area (close to NYC) so I always assumed that was one of the biggest centres. And when I look back to what type of people their fiances were - usually doctors, accountants, dentists, etc.
__________________
anitram is offline  
Old 08-25-2006, 02:40 PM   #56
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 05:22 PM
Quote:
But why couldn’t the use of “Euro English” be related to what might be known as European Culture? surely we can speak French to demonstrate our Frenchness – in the same manner that we have regional accents that speak to where we’re from in North America, I noticed Memphis’s accent returned with a vengeance the closer we got to Memphis itself – but when we speak with other Europeans, the default language is Euro-English? Also, couldn’t bi-tri-linguality (or however many languages … I remember the Belgians being particularly brilliant linguists) also be part of an understanding of European culture?
Oh sure, Euro-English could be related to that (kind of like the way Indian English conveys Indian-ness, to some extent)--I'm just not sure that accounts for its current "popularity." And yes, definitely I'd expect multilingualism to be part of the idea of "Europeanness"--I think it already is really.

And my accent gets stronger when I visit Mississippi too, I think that's pretty much a universal effect. Sort of a way of mutually affirming (or re-establishing?) that you belong, I guess--that you recognize the people you're speaking to, and they in turn recognize you.

Have you ever read Friel's play Translations? It's short and brilliant and easy to read (and where I borrowed the name "yolland" from), and it's all about language and identity and the limits of "imagined communities," both the tribal and the cosmopolitan kind--I recommend it highly.
Quote:
I take your point about the mutual understanding of Spanishness, but I wonder just how deep that goes and if we don’t overestimate it’s importance and value, particularly to our Barcelonan Citizen of the World.
Well, I'm certainly not advocating reflexive glorification of national identity or anything...I was really more thinking of it in the context of assimiliation; how easy it is(n't) to claim a space for yourself in a culture you weren't born into, which kinds of potential "ins" help and which kinds don't, and how that might vary with context for an "outsider" to a degree it wouldn't necessarily for an "insider."
Quote:
The same way a Jew from Itta Bene is going to have immediate connections and commonalities to Jews in Brooklyn. But how far does this take us?
Well OK, you got me now. Not very far! 'Bout to the corner of New Utrecht and 65th, maybe? I did learn to like bagels...and I can do some impersonations too un-PC to describe...Seriously though, while I often felt like the klotz from another planet, it never occurred to me to think of it in terms of being inadequately American, or even inadequately urban (though admittedly there were some shocks of that type). More of a Mason-Dixon line thing...and a Well excuuuuuse me for not giving a crap about your Rebbe's ancient and illustrious dynastic pedigree thing. I think I would've had a much easier time in, say, Atlanta.
Quote:
He’s rural, I’m urban, and that, to me, seems a bigger divide that shared gayness isn’t going to overcome.
I agree the rural/urban divide can be a profound one...again, though, from the standpoint of assimilation and which potential "ins" matter most, I'm not sure this is always the trump card.
Quote:
I’ve heard it said that American-style flag-on-you-sleeve style patriotism – how we cheer after the national anthem at a ball game, how it’s perfectly fine to be so “rah-rah” about the US, all this satirized in Team America, World Police with the song “America, Fuck Yeah!” – is actually necessary for any sense of cultural unity, that we need these overt displays of patriotism, and fidelity to national myths, in order to keep what is actually a very, very fragmented country together. One of the reasons why mass culture is so successful in the US is because the average American needs such a mass culture precisely to assist in the creation of a national identity since there really hasn’t been one created by history. Just as American citizenship is participatory by nature, so is the creation of a broadly understood American identity – what we’re purchasing is a placement of ourselves in a national story that doesn’t implicitly include us. We have to actively place ourselves in that narrative.
I find the last two sentences agreeable enough as one description of how the process works--disagree pretty strongly with the rest, though. I appreciate how bizarre a lot of the flag/anthem/rah-rah pageantry looks from many--I'd hesitate to say any--other nationals' perspectives, but I think American identity, at the level of individual experience, is for most much sturdier and more "natural"-seeming than you apparently think it is. Collectively perhaps, there is more of a "need" for these affirmations. I certainly don't think we're a "very, very fragmented" country.

I'm afraid I missed Team America, World Police but I may have to go looking for it now--the "America, Fuck Yeah!" thing sounds hilarious.
Quote:
...let me refer to an article I read years ago in the NYT Magazine from years ago – from 10/13/2002, titled “What is a European.”
It sounds fascinating, I will have to look it up.
Quote:
"The French, on the whole, make more assertive claims to a European identity."
Erm. I'm tempted to say, "Well, no big shocker there"--is this wrong? Although, I haven't personally found the French people I've talked to--if anything, especially Parisians--to be all that warm towards the EU.
Quote:
The Italians smiled into the Mediterranean sunlight at my naivete. "The people here know and care nothing about Europe," they said. "They hate the people in the next village. Europe is nothing."
Again, doesn't seem like much of a shocker.
Quote:
"I asked Norwegians whether they felt they were Europeans. Their answers varied. No, said some; we are on the geographical edge; we are separate and independent and different. One said passionately that after hearing George Bush's speech -- those who are not with us are against us -- she was sure for the first time that Norway should join the E.U., in order to oppose such dangerous and belligerent ideas...All, without exception, said thoughtfully that they did not really feel European but that they did feel Scandinavian. They belonged with other Scandinavians. The Danes said the same -- they felt that the European Union was necessary and useful, but their extended identity was Scandinavian."
Well, that's interesting. I don't think I've ever really known any Scandinavians. (What happened to silja?) I wonder how relevant the fact that none of these countries were major world powers during the colonial era is.
Quote:
"There was only one thing all the Europeans I talked to had in common. They would all say, 'When I am in America, I know I am European'...

An American recently said to me at a German reception that she hadn't even noticed that she had a 'nationality' until she came to Europe. There are two (at least) ways of looking at that. One is that for most Americans the natural way to be is to be American, and they are surprised to find Europeans are different, and have complex ways of looking at their own identities. The other is that in the United States family origins -- Italian, Irish, Jewish, Hispanic -- are subsumed in a deliberately chosen new identity, without being lost."
This makes sense both ways. To the extent that I've spent much time contemplating what it means to be American and how un-obvious that meaning really is(n't), it's mostly been occasioned by travel.
Quote:
"I don't think the Europeans, any of them, even the most enthusiastic for political union, will ever subsume their origins in a new national identity as Americans naturally do."
Well, this is pretty much what I'm thinking at this point, I guess. I don't think you agree though?
Quote:
" 'Being European is a supplementary identity, which does not aspire to be the dominant identity for anybody.' "
Sounds about right to me, but if this is correct...what does it suggest about future assimilation of non-Europeans?

I don't think you could describe American identity in this way.
Quote:
if you can't tell, i do find Europe fascinating -- every once in a while, i get consumed by a desire to live there again ...
I think contemporary Americans, in general, are prone to obsession with these sorts of questions...it's fascinating and unsettling and affirming all at once to consider the possibility that something as seemingly basic and natural as experiencing oneself, and I guess one's compatriots, as an --------ian could vary so much in timbre.
Quote:
generally speaking, south asian indian americans tend to be very successful
.....
as for famous "public" south asian indian americans?
Don't forget Deepak Chopra.

I do think there are some mild negative stereotypes about Indians in the US (which is different from an assimilation problem, though).

For a long time it was a running bleak national joke in India that Indians are successful pretty much everywhere but here--nowadays that's changing for the better of course...though how long it will take to bring the country as a whole to a robust economic status remains a thorny question.
Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Where are the major areas of South Asian populations in the US?
Indian Americans are fairly evenly distributed in the US compared to many other minorities, but the big centers are NY, NJ and CA--especially the NYC and SF "greater metro" areas. But generally speaking, almost any major city is going to have a substantial Indian community.
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline  
Old 08-25-2006, 02:51 PM   #57
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,495
Local Time: 11:22 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Where are the major areas of South Asian populations in the US? I know a lot of my Indian friends ended up either dating or married to guys from the New Jersey area (close to NYC) so I always assumed that was one of the biggest centres. And when I look back to what type of people their fiances were - usually doctors, accountants, dentists, etc.


there's an ongoing joke amongst my Indian-American friends that all Indians somehow have relatives in New Jersey, which was also, i think, an in-joke in Harold and Kumar .... i do know that my friend who's getting married Labor Day weekend ( ) got many of her wedding accoutrements from either India itself, or New Jersey.

i would initially guess that the largest Indian communities in Canada would be in Toronto, but something tells me that i've heard that it's much more centered in Vancouver? is that correct?
__________________
Irvine511 is online now  
Old 08-25-2006, 03:36 PM   #58
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
TheQuiet1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: N.Yorkshire UK
Posts: 3,816
Local Time: 05:22 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by anitram

Proportionally, the US doesn't have that many Asians from that area, understandably so. Maybe if you compared the Asians in public life in England with African Americans in public life in the US it would be more apt, I don't know?
It probably would be actually. It's what I've often heard said anyway, that it's better to compare the circumstances of British Asians in the UK to that of African Americans in the USA than to compare Asian with Asian as it were. But on the other hand many people in this thread have tried to compare the circumstances of American Asians to that of British Asians.

Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
generally speaking, south asian indian americans tend to be very successful, if you look at traditional measures such as income and education, particularly the children of recent immigrants:
It's pretty much the same story here. British Indians tend to be very successful (they tend to be the most successful out of all ethnic groups actually)- it's the Pakistani and Bangladeshi Brits who seem to have more problems.
__________________
TheQuiet1 is offline  
Old 08-25-2006, 03:45 PM   #59
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,294
Local Time: 11:22 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

i would initially guess that the largest Indian communities in Canada would be in Toronto, but something tells me that i've heard that it's much more centered in Vancouver? is that correct?
What do you mean by it exactly?

The ones here are really centred as well. Particularly some of the suburbs around Toronto, and one in the west in particular. I don't really get the sense Vancouver is more centred with respect to South Asians, but maybe it is with East Asians?
__________________
anitram is offline  
Old 08-25-2006, 03:54 PM   #60
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 05:22 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
or, another group you could use, would be Latinos.
Since the thread topic is assimilation, not discrimination per se, I think this comparison makes a lot more sense.
__________________

__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:22 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com