Thursday, October 27, 2016

Assimilation Asymmetry

The United States has been called a "nation of immigrants."

Most of us trace our American heritage back to immigrants who made their way to America at some point.

For many who have made the trek to the United States it is a challenging ordeal. Moving into a new culture with new customs is not easy and is only made more difficult if a new language is involved.

The first generation immigrant often leads a difficult existence requiring hard work often toiling at jobs that native Americans do not want. In the late 1800's it meant mining coal, working in dirty steel mills or in agriculture. Today it might mean construction labor, working in the hospitality industry or doing migrant labor.

The occasional first generation immigrant makes a big impact in their new country but more likely it is the second generation of that immigrant who builds on the foundation that was established by their parents and becomes an integral part of America. Over the years those children have assimilated into the American culture and are comfortable with the language having grown up and been educated in American schools. In fact, when asked why they took the risk and immigrated to the United States, most will say, " I did it so my children could have a better life."


Here are a few examples of second generation immigrants who have had major impacts on America. There are undoubtedly millions and millions more who are not household names but who are helping to make America work every day nonetheless.

Sergey Brin---co-founder of Google

Jerry Yang---co-founder or Yahoo!

Thomas Edison---Inventor

Andrew Carnegie---Industrialist

Bob Hope ---Entertainer

Walt Disney---Cartoonist and Imagineer

Marco Rubio---Senator from Florida

Ted Cruz---Senator from Texas

Colin Powell---former Secretary of Defense

Nikki Haley---Governor of South Carolina

Bobby Jindal---Governor of Louisiana

There is one other name I should mention---Donald J. Trump. His mother immigrated to the United States at the age of 18 from Scotland in order to find work as a maid.

Donald Trump with his father and mother while a cadet at New York Military Academy
Credit: Instagram/realdonaldtrump

Looking at this list, I wonder whether the influx of the Muslim immigration we have experienced over the last decade or so will follow this pattern? Will they assimilate and embrace the culture and customs of the United States as easily and as well as prior immigrants?

It is an important question. Why? If a nation does not have its citizens adhering to a core culture and beliefs it is ripe for dissension, division and conflict. Despite the melting pot that America has always been, this has never been a significant obstacle for our country because of the assimilation of the second generation that has occurred consistently in our society.

Will Muslims be the same?

I hope that will be the case.  However, there are troubling signals that are difficult to understand.

Consider the four highest profile terrorist acts that have occurred on our soil in recent years.

Fort Hood Murders

San Bernardino Government Office

Orlando Gay Nightclub

New York City and New Jersey Bombings

Fort Hood

This terrorist attack (which the Obama Administration referred to as "workplace violence") was carried out by Major Nidal Hassan who was born, raised and educated in the United States to Muslim parents who had immigrated from Palestine. Nidal joined the U.S. Army right after graduating from high school and had both his college education and his medical training paid for by the U.S. Army. Nevertheless, he killed 13 fellow soldiers and wounded over 30 in the worst shooting ever at a U.S. military base.

San Bernardino

Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik  (a Pakistani native who had recently immigrated to the United States) carried out this terrorist attack at a state government office in San Bernardino, California where Farook worked. They killed 14 and wounded 22. Farook was born in Chicago to Pakistani Muslim parents and was totally raised and educated in the United States, including a degree from California State University in San Bernardino.


The Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando was specifically targeted because of its LGBT clientele earlier this year by Omar Mir Mateen. Mateen had been born in New York to Afghan Muslim parents and was totally raised and educated in America. He killed 49 people and wounded 53 others that were at the gay nightclub that night.

New York City and New Jersey Bombings

Less than six weeks ago, a pipe bomb exploded in New Jersey along the path of a U.S. Marine Corps
charity run with no injuries. That same night a pressure cook bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan injuring 31 civilians. A second pressure cooker bomb in Manhattan and additional bombs were found in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the aftermath of the Manhattan bombing. Ahmad Khan Rahimi was arrested and charged with the bombings. Rahimi was born in Afghanistan to Muslim parents but immigrated to the U.S. at age 2 meaning he was entirely raised and educated in this country including two years of junior college. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2011.

All of these terrorist acts were not committed by foreigners, recent refugee or immigrants. They were perpetrated by 2nd generation U.S. citizens who were raised and educated in the United States.

Donald Trump has famously said "There's something is going on" when confronted with issues like this that don't seem to add up. The media and establishment elite has enjoyed deriding him when he says this.

However, in looking at these facts and thinking about this, don't you have to agree with him?

When have we ever seen anything like this in the long history of the United States of America?

We are not accustomed to seeing 2nd generation immigrants who have grown up and been educated in this country turn around and try to tear it down and kill their fellow citizens. Traditionally, these have been the people doing the most to build, bolster and benefit our nation.

How do we explain this assimilation asymmetry when it comes to Muslims?

I wish I knew.

However, it should not be brushed off and laughed off as Hillary Clinton would like us to do while telling us that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.  All of these men had this is common---they were Radical Islamists who committed acts of terrorism against their fellow citizens of the United States.

What is going on?

It is a serious question and it needs a serious answer.

In fact, it might be a question of life and death based on what we have seen before.

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