RS McCain makes a welcome point about discrimination and racism as it pertains to the American experiment:
People tend to discriminate against whatever groups are available. I’m sure Alaskans have epithets for Eskimos that no one in the lower 48 ever heard of. Black inner-city residents do not hesitate to employ racial language against Asian merchants in their communities. And people who live in relatively homogeneous communities often think of themselves as free from etnocentrism — until the homogeneity is threatened by some sudden influx of outsiders (e.g., the Hmong in Wisconsin and Minnesota, Arabs in Michigan, Somalis in Maine).
The biggest reason that America nowadays has as much ethnic friction as it does is that there are so many incentives against assimilation.
Forty or 50 years ago, the newly-landed immigrant encountered a mainstream American culture that was almost triumphantly self-assured, so that to become an American was certainly a step upward. Now, we’re so busy celebrating “diversity” that it’s more rewarding to stay outside the mainstream, to form your own particular identity-group, to play the victimhood card and demand recognition in terms of “civil rights.”
Immigration was once a means of rapidly adding those people to our citizenry who were looking for opportunities that they did not have in the nations from which they came. The particular reasons they immigrated were as numerous as their last names–but the bottom line was that they saw inclusion in this thing called The United States of America as a way to move beyond, to get a fresh start in an environment where they could achieve through diligence and application to labor.
There are still immigrants who look at the United States this way, but there are many others who simply want to show up to the buffet and eat without concerning themselves with the fact that they have contributed nothing to the meal, nor do they plan to. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the place from which one (or one’s forebears) came, but that celebration should be handled within the context of where one is now. Nor is there anything necessarily wrong with celebrating one’s subgroup identity (left-handedness, Jets fan, etc). However, such celebrations should fit into the picture, not become it.