I don't have time to read all of Arthur Schlesinger's book, The Disuniting of America (1991); I have been able to skim over the lines of the his book and skip around like a kid with textual ADHD. The reason I don't really have to read Schlesinger's book (although he widely published and an old hickory sort of professor at Harvard?) is because his arguments are still being touted by Americans.
Schlesinger's argument is really not too hard to grasp. It goes something like this: immigrants have always had to put a premium on their larger identity as Americans than on their ethnic and sovereign pasts. What this means is that even though the U.S. is a country of immigrants, the immigrants that have come here have always striven to learn English and become more American because of that. The recent crop of immigrants to the U.S. are different because they are being allowed to quagmire in their past ethnic, political, and national allegiances; the current ethos of multiculturalism encourages immigrants to entrench themselves in enclaves and not have to either amp-up their Americanness by learning English, or become a productive, visible, and empirical member of assimilated American society.
And because Schlesinger's argument comes from the coffers of Harvard's elitist yet liberal scholarship, and because Schlesinger has had a storied past in politics, specifically with his tenure in the Kennedy administration, his argument has been picked up and disseminated and has become a thorn in the side of multiculturalism. It begs multiculturalism to ask itself if there is a marked difference between the immigrants that have come in the last 20 years, and the immigrants that have always been coming to our shores (including Africans that were sold as slaves here and other forms of slavery or indentured labor, i.e. Chinese and railroads?--well according to Schlesinger, those probably wouldn't qualify as Americans).
What are the fundamental difference between the immigrants that have been coming to this country forever and the latest batch. What are the characteristics of these new, staunch immigrants, the ones that refuse to meld into the tapestry? What have the newest batch of immigrants done to deserve the spotlight? How are they different from the immigrants that came here during the last large migration in the late fifty years of the 20th Century?
A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.