Accommodation and Cultural Assimilation

One of the sincerest issues we face as a nation is how best to deal with and understand immigration (both legal and illegal) within the framework of the current development of life in the United States. This certainly is not a new or particularly more complex issue than in times past however what is different is the way America is handling the influx of culturally divergent peoples and how America as a cultural and ideological mind is dealing with the issue. The problem is not primarily one of race, language, or cultural heritage (as America has always seen its immigrants as beneath the cultural median) but it is a problem in how we are assimilating and accommodating the new immigrants.  There has always been a wide plethora of opinion on the age-old question of how best to align the exceedingly diverse nature of the new immigration into the already established culture of the American mind. It is the thesis of this author that the problems with the above mentioned question begin at its base with the fundamental flaw that the American mind is in anyway united around any sense of cohesive thought.

Beyond merely regional differences the American milieu has never been in any sense cohesive. From the early days of Anglican and Catholic war in Virginia and Maryland to Congregational and Baptists in the New England colonies all the way to African-Americans and Klansman in the Midwest and South at no time has their been a interrelatedness to the way we as a nation have operated in the deliberative process of thought.  What some have referred to as the “Melting Pot” of American Society has in my mind developed less like an amalgamation of cultural differences into one gargantuan bowl of violently nasty pudding but has much more in common with a mixed salad with ingredients never meant to associate. We have much pretension towards cultural assimilation and parade our differences as if they were symbols of a bygone era when such things mattered. We have deluded ourselves into orchestrating a blind and fancy parlor game where the participants while all differently dressed and brought in under variant circumstances are thought to inhabit the same reasonable concoction of a game with different rules and different purported outcomes. The only thing keeping them in the room is that each participant believes that they are the ones setting the example for the others to follow.

What does this all have to do with accommodation and assimilation? Through the history of the United States at different moments, some longer than others, each participant in the American experiment have at different times actually been in control of the assimilation process and in fact still believe they are regardless if they actually still have any role whatsoever in directing the movement of ideas and what exactly the pattern of the mixing. The blind have led the blind into this parlor game of assimilation to the point now where the room, which before contained but a few expressions of cultural and linguistic extremes, to now be at the point where the participants have outgrown the room and have yet still believe they are all in control of the process leading to a point where assimilation (if it ever was possible) to be an impossibility.


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