Thursday, August 16, 2018
Thoughts on immigration from an inter-racial romance writer
People are often surprised at my stance on immigration. After all, I'm an older white woman. Why should I welcome immigrants who are different colors from me, or who speak other languages? Because we're a nation of immigrants and that's our strength. Each new wave of folks brings their customs and traditions, and eventually they're assimilated into the polyglot that's the USA, and we're the richer for it. For example, my tutoring job is at a franchise center that's owned by a woman who emigrated with her husband from India. Most of the kiddoes I tutor there were born here, but their parents are from India. And I'm teaching them English reading and writing using a curriculum developed in South Korea. Only in America, right?
I recently read that the fastest-growing group of converts to Islam in this country are Hispanics. They're raised with a structured version of Catholic Christianity, so it isn't that far of a leap to the strict lifestyle encouraged by Islam. But they want to have their own mosques, where Spanish would be allowed, not just Urdu or Arabic. I checked with a friend who teaches religious education at a mosque and she said she wasn't surprised, since she has had a few Hispanic students in her classes each year for a long time. Isn't that the quintessential American experience? I think so. And for those of you who fear Muslims, don't. I have many friends who are Muslim, and they're a gentle and loving, family-oriented people. Quite frankly, as a substitute high school teacher, if I need someone to run an errand of a sensitive or timely nature, down to the principal or Dean's office, I'll first look for a girl wearing a hijab, because I know I can trust her not to dawdle, stall, or forget to do the errand entirely.
Our future lies in not closing our borders. My mom's parents were immigrants from Poland; my Busia lived here for over 50 years and never learned English, because she lived in a Polish neighborhood in Chicago. Dad came from Scotland. And he sponsored in his brother and his wife and their two daughters. Go back two generations and there's no sign of me here. Yet I'm proud to be an American. I think everyone who wants to, should be allowed to join the grand experiment of our fairly young country that is made up of people from all over the world. I taught my kids to feel comfortable with having friends and neighbors who are totally different: who speak another language, eat different foods, and have different customs. I'll watch their house when they go on vacation, and they'll do the same for me. Their freedom ends when they walk into my yard and tell me I have to live like them. So does mine...and that's the part most often forgotten.
Most of my romances are inter-racial because that's the world I want to live in. Just because our ancestors walked in different directions heading north or south from the equator, and evolved protective coloring to live in areas separated by great distances, doesn't mean we aren't all one people. Love knows no colors.
Final note: I read a joke recently. A man is standing behind a woman in a grocery store line and she's on the phone speaking a different language. He waits until she's done then rudely tells her, "We're in America, you know. You need to speak English." "Pardon me?" she replies in confusion. "If you want to speak Mexican, go back to Mexico. This is America and we speak English." She regards him gravely, "I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English, go back to England."
Find my romances at: http://www.fionamcgier.com