Sunday, August 19, 2018
Elaboration on Multiculturalism
A while ago I tweeted this:
It was in response to a thread by Huffington Post Asian Voices editor Kimberly Yam. In the thread she detailed the many indignities she suffered growing up in America. She talks about "not wanting to be Chinese," because people made fun of the way her father talked and made racially insensitive jokes. She talks about how she hardened herself to fit in but then rediscovered her Chinese identity in college and came to greatly appreciate her heritage once she found a clique of Asian friends as a young woman. It's one of those cheesy emotional self-congratulatory Twitter threads meant to bypass the intellect and appeal to emotion, somewhat evocative of the classic liberal professor copypasta.
I reacted to it by pointing out that her thread is a powerful argument against multiculturalism. I will elaborate a bit on what I meant.
The essence of Yam's post is this: The melting pot is bullshit. She tried to assimilate and adapt, and absolutely hated it. She rejected her identity and was miserable. It wasn't until she discovered her ethnic tribe as a young adult that she felt whole as a person. In other words, she endorses the alt-right position on white identitarianism.
This sentiment has become common and it contradicts the most common defense of mass immigration. On the one hand Americans are told not to worry about immigrants because they will assimilate. Then on the other hand Americans are lectured about how racist they are for not understanding the norms and nuances of immigrant cultures. So, "don't worry, the immigrants will assimilate," but also, "you're racist if you actually expect them to do so."
This is precisely why Japan does not want to accept too many Chinese immigrants, why China doesn't want many African immigrants, and why any sensible country carefully limits the number of foreigners it imports. They don't want ghettos of disaffected foreigners complaining that the majority culture doesn't cater enough to minorities. Multiculturalism inevitably creates endless tribal tension. Even in western countries that bend over backwards to be inclusive and make a god of diversity, those foreigners will be loathe to abandon their ethnic tribal loyalties. It is a fundamental part of their self-concept and identity. Unless they are strongly self-motivated to assimilate into the new culture, it cannot be taken for granted that they will.
Numerous other Chinese kids went through Yam's experiences. Many of them responded by fully embracing their American identity. They love grilled cheese, don't speak a word of Chinese, love movies with all white casts, and maybe even vote republican. They are Americans through and through, not hyphenated malcontents.
However it is important not to dismiss Yam's feelings. They represent the default given our species' evolved tribal nature. Taken seriously, the only way for someone like Yam to grow up without resentment would be for all of the other white kids she grew up with to abandon their own ethnic identity. In order for those white kids to feel that there was nothing unusual about Yam's father's accent, or Yam's racial appearance, or the behavior of Asian tourists, those white American kids would have to have no unique majority identity of their own to which to compare their experiences.
This is precisely the goal of progressvism - the deconstruction and replacement of traditional white European American identity with a void to be filled by every other ethnic gang and their various demands. Yam's piece implies that this is the only thing that would have made her happy.
Are we at all surprised the vast majority of Americans wish to greatly restrict legal immigration as well as illegal?