Letter to the editor: I am American
Posted March 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm in Opinion
My parents, who emigrated from India, raised me to respect the myriad of cultures that make up the distinct flavor of this country. They raised me to value American opportunities.
For 21 years I never doubted whether I belong. I never doubted my right to call America my home â until recently â when Andrew Breitbartâs calculated assault on multiculturalism at the USC College Republicans meeting [Feb. 16] left me in tears, feeling like my family and anyone like us is unwanted. He called multiculturalism a conspiracy, a fake American value.
He is wrong. Breitbartâs problem stems from the debate between pluralism and multiculturalism when in reality, multiculturalism is pluralism.
Pluralism represents that American assumption that immigrants would eventually disappear into âthe melting potâ of American ideas. Multiculturalism, on the other hand, is often misrepresented as the notion that immigrant groups refuse to be part of the wider community. Â Breitbartâs hostility stems from this misconception. His resentment dates back to the wartime refugees who were fleeing death during World War II.
What Breitbart does not understand is that the immigrants back then, as well as the others that followed throughout the last century, wholeheartedly embraced their new land, working hard to be accepted and to achieve their American dreams, even at great costs. Yet, they also retained important parts of their culture that they then shared. Thus, the American people naturally adapted and expanded their horizons. I am proud of the rich perspectives and understanding that multiculturalism provides.
It took some time to fully recover from the shock of Breitbartâs words and repulsion in his face as he looked at me. But I am comforted by the Americans before me who were willing to accept and foster diversity as a quintessential American value.
We are America. Tell Mr. Breitbart I wonât be packing my bags anytime soon.
Senior, environmental studies