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Immigration and America's Core Culture

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If one spontaneously were to mention a couple of prominent American figures in the 21st century, names such as Oprah Winfrey, George W. Bush, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Spielberg and the recently elected president Barack Hussein Obama, would usually come to mind. They do all have different religious backgrounds, ethnicities and to some extent culture, but to identify one of them as being "more American" than the others would occur as being weird for most people. Because it's indeed the high degree of diversity, seen in iconic, grand cities such as New York or Los Angeles, that is representative of the American people today, and therefore the country has become to be known as a nation of immigrants.

However, in his book, who are we?(2004), Samuel P. Huntington, argues that this high level of cultural diversity prevalent in the USA can disintegrate the country, as it's experiencing a growing cultural gap between the adherents of the Anglo-protestant culture and the immigrants, who have not yet assimilated into this culture. Key features of the Anglo-protestant culture include; "Christian religion with emphasize on the protestant values and morals, a work ethic, the English language, British traditions, justice and the limits of government power, and a legacy of European art, literature, philosophy, and music" . As a consequence hereof the American people can lose their national identity and unity, as ideology alone is a weak glue to hold people together otherwise lacking racial, ethnic, and cultural sources of community. The solution is therefore, for Americans to recommit themselves to the Anglo-Protestant culture, traditions and values. Phrased differently, America should quit embracing the idea of a multicultural society and work towards becoming a mono-cultural one.

While it is questionable, why ideology alone shouldn't be able to hold a nation together, the bigger issue in question, is whether the cultural gap in America really is as dramatic as described in Who are We? More specifically, the claim that immigrants, particularly Latino Americans, aren't integrating into the core culture is simply not convincing due to many reasons.

First of all, the two main arguments used to describe the barriers to their integration, is language and religion, given that according to Huntington, they are the most important aspect of the Anglo-protestant culture.

An article published by The Economist, called The Americano Dream (2008), states the following:

"America seems in no danger of becoming a society divided by language. In 2002, a survey by the Pew Hispanic Centre and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that over 90% of second-generation Hispanics were either bilingual or mainly English-speaking, split equally between the two. In the third generation, more than three-quarters were mainly English-speaking. "

These numbers not only demonstrate that most Hispanics speak English, but they will use it increasingly as their main language in the future. This is not only due to the fact that immigrants typically integrate more and more over time, but also because inter-marriages are becoming more popular among Latinos and almost a third of all marriages involving a Hispanic or Asian partner cross racial lines.



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