America’s Not as Divided as the Media Thinks

 

If you’ve flipped by the news any time in the past century, you’ve heard over and over and over again that America is a fetid cesspool filled with institutional racism, violent bigotry, and everyday intolerance. Multimillionaires protest the oppression of their race, silver spoon sophomores yank down statues, and media elites damn America for not being enlightened like our continental betters.

Yes, racism exists. Yes, slavery scars our history. Yes, Americans are imperfect. And yet…

America, both historically and currently, welcomes more cultures, nationalities, religions, and ethnicities than any nation anywhere at any time. It’s not even close. But focusing on the United States doesn’t profit those who would rather see us divided.

Published in General, Immigration

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  1. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    I’m afraid I have to question the validity of a survey like this, given the likely personal and career destruction that could follow answering ‘worse’.  This question strikes me as ripe for the Bradley Effect.

    • #1
  2. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Thank you, Jon. I agree, and it’s nice to hear it said.

    And, contrary to your previous respondent, I have no problem at all believing the survey results. I’ve long believed that Europeans are, in general, more temperamentally conservative than Americans. The reason they seem otherwise, I believe, is because they didn’t start from the strong foundation of individualism from which we did, and so we look at what they have and imagine it the product of ongoing radicalism.

    I think the way Europe is responding to immigration is an expression of their conservatism: rather than blending their immigrants into their culture, they circle their cultural wagons, protecting their traditional way of life by partitioning their societies. This has the unfortunate, and ultimately destructive, effect of isolating their immigrant populations in impoverished, radicalizing communities.

     

    • #2
  3. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    It’s not only not even close, as you well put it: it’s the premise individual rights in action.

    • #3
  4. blood thirsty neocon Inactive
    blood thirsty neocon
    @bloodthirstyneocon

    I’ve only spent more than a couple of weeks in two foreign countries:  Spain and China. I’m not sure if these two countries are representative of racism world-wide, but if they are then we are the paragon of racial harmony and peaceful coexistence. The Spanish treat their ghettoized North African minority like an invading horde, which it kind of is. But the Chinese take the cake. I remember there was a black teacher at one of the private English schools where I taught kids. He was a really nice guy. Any way, the first day he walked into class and the kids just started screaming.

    • #4
  5. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Smells like social acceptability bias

    • #5
  6. blood thirsty neocon Inactive
    blood thirsty neocon
    @bloodthirstyneocon

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    Smells like social acceptability bias

    I would never answer one of those. The funny thing is that when Muslims are polled about their acceptance of sharia insanity, social acceptability bias in their communities skews the results toward sharia. Would you side against sharia in a Muslim country?

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    Smells like social acceptability bias

    I would never answer one of those. The funny thing is that when Muslims are polled about their acceptance of sharia insanity, social acceptability bias in their communities skews the results toward sharia. Would you side against sharia in a Muslim country?

    I hang up as soon as I find out that I’m talking to a pollster.

    I’m a consultant. Want my opinion? Pay me.

    • #7
  8. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Yes, racism exists… And yet…

    This post conflates racism with skepticism about the value ethnic diversity within a nation state. These are two quite different things yet the second is being treated as a proxy for the first. Even a bowing acquaintance with history and current events reveals some pitfalls of ethnic and language diversity (e.g., former Yugoslavia, Belgium, Spain) that might cause Europeans to be skeptical, not to mention centuries of war between the nations of Europe.

    • #8
  9. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I’ve told my anxious depressed patients to turn off the news, now more than ever.

    • #9
  10. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Yes, racism exists… And yet…

    This post conflates racism with skepticism about the value ethnic diversity within a nation state. These are two quite different things yet the second is being treated as a proxy for the first. Even a bowing acquaintance with history and current events reveals some pitfalls of ethnic and language diversity (e.g., former Yugoslavia, Belgium, Spain) that might cause Europeans to be skeptical, not to mention centuries of war between the nations of Europe.

    I read it as more about diversity and our respective enthusiasm for it, and less about the reasons for our antipathy toward diversity, whether because of racism or unfortunate historical experience.

    I’m willing to accept the evidence and the implication: for whatever reason, we Americans are a tolerant people — contrary to the too-frequently repeated narrative that ours is a racist, intolerant country.

    • #10
  11. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    The disconnect between the way America is described and the way America actually is is pretty huge. Americans have created a common culture that is strong enough but adaptable enough that immigrants can get the gist fairly quickly, and adapt themselves to it—baseball, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, CHristmas/Hannukah, Easter/Spring, Memorial Day…all of these can be tweaked, and the variations in how Thanksgiving is done at the Chang household versus how its done at the Spinellis keeps things interesting.

    I think Europe doesn’t actually know anymore what and why to conserve. Douglas Murray is right-it is difficult to find a comfortable historical place to stand and say “yep, right here. This is what France is. This is what you will become if you immigrate into France.”

    Between actual historical unpleasantness (the horrible French Revolution, colonialism, being conquered so easily by the Germans, Vichy, collaboration, having to be rescued by the Yanks and Brits and no longer being anything like a world power) and the usual list of perceived -ism sins, it would be hard to persuade newcomers to assimilate.  We might fantasize about living in Paris, but what positive reason could anyone offer for wanting to actually be French (let alone German!).

    • #11
  12. JcTPatriot Inactive
    JcTPatriot
    @JcTPatriot

    The big lie is that we’re “anti-immigrant” which is a lie that was made up entirely out of whole cloth by the Leftists seeking to destroy the America the Constitution created, and re-create it into the Socialist paradise the Left dreams can one day happen. You see, they know that we, and we alone, have the money to do it. You can’t “spread the wealth” if you run out of other people’s money too quickly. America has a near-endless supply of the dead presidents, and that is the only way, as they have learned, to make it work for any length of time.

    The truth is that what we are, of course, is we’re “anti-immigrant-flood” here in America. We see Germany beginning to fall apart after their flood. Greece already did and Italy is next. The big surprise (for anyone not paying close attention) is Sweden. They were pretty stable, since they have a relatively rich population, and they forced everyone to work. The bum population there is near zero. Excuse me, WAS near zero. The flood is turning it all around; taxes are already being raised to support the masses of non-working people and to lock up the criminal element of that flood.

    All we want to do is stop the flood, not stop the immigrants. America is a better place with lots of different kinds of people. America will not be a better place if we do not stop this wholesale invasion of our way of life. In two short generations, Germany will no longer be the country it is today, and we do not want America to have the same fate.

    • #12
  13. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    That’s just it isn’t it? One doesn’t just become French. Being French is predicated on characteristics that you just can’t acquire. Being American is predicated on the idea that each individual has Natural Rights regardless of any biological characteristics.

    • #13
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: America, both historically and currently, welcomes more cultures, nationalities, religions, and ethnicities than any nation anywhere at any time. It’s not even close.

    That is absolutely true. Here on little Cape Cod, one of our elementary school principals commented at a school committee meeting that there were 38 languages spoken in his school by the students.

     

    • #14
  15. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill
    • #15
  16. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I read it as more about diversity and our respective enthusiasm for it, and less about the reasons for our antipathy toward diversity, whether because of racism or unfortunate historical experience.

    Well, interpret it as you wish but the OP does juxtapose racism and lack of diversity acceptance. Lack of enthusiasm for diversity, especially in the salad bowl (vs. melting pot) sense is understandable considering its checkered past.

    Diversity without assimilation causes problems, yet that is the model that is currently promulgated in the West, including the US. Here are a few helpful references that illuminate some of the problems that accompany salad-bowl diversity:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9477.2012.00289.x/abstract
    https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/93/3/1211/2332107/Ethnic-Diversity-Economic-and-Cultural-Contexts
    http://www.scirp.org/reference/ReferencesPapers.aspx?ReferenceID=1251240

    This is just a small sampling of an extensive literature. Europeans are slowly coming to realize the problems: Central Europeans first, as you might expect. Indulge fantasies of hand-holding kumbaya if you like; ignore the facts at your peril.

    • #16
  17. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    DocJay (View Comment):
    I’ve told my anxious depressed patients to turn off the news, now more than ever.

    I think the news killed my Aunt 14 years ago.

    • #17
  18. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Yeah, I attached that graph to Claire Berlinski’s article “Anti-Americanism and Anti-Europeanism” back in April.

    http://ricochet.com/archives/anti-europeanism/

    As I think I essentially pointed out, Europeans may have a different view as more of their immigrants believe in Sharia Law:

    (Except for India, the United Kingdom has more immigrants from Pakistan, the most pro-Sharia Law country, than any other country.)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Americans also don’t dislike France as much as during the “Freedom Fries” days.

    France has also been on the front lines of recent terror conflicts…

     

     

     

    • #18
  19. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Well, interpret it as you wish

    Indeed. Again, neither Jon’s post nor the Pew article attempts to explain the reasons for America’s relatively sanguine feelings about diversity, nor whether or not diversity is a good or bad thing. They’re simply pointing out that Americans do, in fact, seem to be more positive about diversity than our European cousins.

    Personally, I’m in the melting pot camp: I think salad bowl diversity is a bad thing, and I agree that it’s being championed too much here. That isn’t the point of the original post, but it is a point on which you and I agree.

    And I think the worst of the salad bowl problem is not from our immigrant population, but from what I call unassimilated native-born citizens, people who, for whatever reason, reject our traditional culture and values and opt for something not as good, to their and our detriment.

    • #19
  20. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Personally, I’m in the melting pot camp: I think salad bowl diversity is a bad thing, and I agree that it’s being championed too much here. That isn’t the point of the original post, but it is a point on which you and I agree.

    And I think the worst of the salad bowl problem is not from our immigrant population, but from what I call unassimilated native-born citizens, people who, for whatever reason, reject our traditional culture and values and opt for something not as good, to their and our detriment.

    But this is what you get when you rapidly increase diversity. Salad bowl vs melting pot.

    Our immigration policies need to be reevaluated in a cold, passionless way, because I seriously believe many of our social ills and galloping socialism are direct results of trojan horses made possible by our incredible trust of the exotic and fascinating.

    • #20
  21. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    Charts and more charts, always with the charts :)

    • #21
  22. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Douglas Murray is right-it is difficult to find a comfortable historical place to stand and say “yep, right here. This is what France is. This is what you will become if you immigrate into France.”

    Interesting observation, Kate, but I think you can find that place pretty easily.  Get into a cab in Paris, or better yet Marseilles, and ask the driver.  Well, they won’t agree with the part about what you will become if you immigrate to France, because they believe that nobody can become French.  But they’ll tell you what it means to be French and that these immigrants are not it.

    It may be difficult for the editorial board of Le Monde to say what it means to be French, but it’s not difficult for the man in the street.

    • #22
  23. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    Americans also don’t dislike France as much as during the “Freedom Fries” days.

    France has also been on the front lines of recent terror conflicts…

    The variation of attitudes works both ways. I’ve visited France intermittently over the course of several decades and observed changes in the way I was treated by the locals. The constants were my evident foreign-ness and rudimentary knowledge of the French language. What fluctuated was the diplomatic relations between the US and France: when they were good I felt more welcome than when they weren’t.

    The survey results quoted in the OP are a snapshot of a constantly-changing landscape. They have more to do with the moment than they do with anything like systemic racism (I use the term somewhat ironically) as the OP suggests. As @thecloakedgaijin points out, they have more to do with current events. The Europeans are learning some hard lessons about the multi-culti salad bowl and the results of this learning process are showing up in the Pew poll. Expect the trend to continue.

    • #23
  24. JeffHawkins Coolidge
    JeffHawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    I think it’s for different reasons from both sides as to why diversity is a good thing

    From the left, it’s to fight a white society, racism, get rid of white male Republicans, give oppressed people a chance, flip red states, continue open borders, have more soldiers for social justice etc.

    From the right, it’s a good thing because it’s not, as a theory, a negative.

    • #24
  25. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Douglas Murray is right-it is difficult to find a comfortable historical place to stand and say “yep, right here. This is what France is. This is what you will become if you immigrate into France.”

    Interesting observation, Kate, but I think you can find that place pretty easily. Get into a cab in Paris, or better yet Marseilles, and ask the driver. Well, they won’t agree with the part about what you will become if you immigrate to France, because they believe that nobody can become French. But they’ll tell you what it means to be French and that these immigrants are not it.

    It may be difficult for the editorial board of Le Monde to say what it means to be French, but it’s not difficult for the man in the street.

    It is hard to put into words what a culture is or what it means. It is a series of impressions, which is why art and music, poetry and prose are such cultural trademarks.

    Commentary and opinion columns won’t get you there, so Le Monde fails and the taxi driver succeeds.

    • #25
  26. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Stina (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Personally, I’m in the melting pot camp: I think salad bowl diversity is a bad thing, and I agree that it’s being championed too much here. That isn’t the point of the original post, but it is a point on which you and I agree.

    And I think the worst of the salad bowl problem is not from our immigrant population, but from what I call unassimilated native-born citizens, people who, for whatever reason, reject our traditional culture and values and opt for something not as good, to their and our detriment.

    But this is what you get when you rapidly increase diversity. Salad bowl vs melting pot.

    Our immigration policies need to be reevaluated in a cold, passionless way, because I seriously believe many of our social ills and galloping socialism are direct results of trojan horses made possible by our incredible trust of the exotic and fascinating.

    (emphasis mine)

    I agree strongly with that observation, that many of our problems stem from a too-casual embrace of novelty. And I think that’s distinct from — and more important than — the question of immigration.

    We have lost too much of our skepticism about change. I think it’s natural and healthy for humans to approach change cautiously, and I think we’ve burned a lot of that caution out of our culture over the past fifty or sixty years.

    I blame, not immigration, but a combination of prosperity and mass popular culture — television, primarily — that has made novelty seem safe. Novelty has always fascinated us — I think that’s part of our nature, to be interested in things that are different. But the healthy distrust of untried things, the prudent fear of change, has been and is being unlearned.

    I don’t think there are any true villains here. We got wealthy and secure, so we could afford to take risks, and we got to experience novelty vicariously — and safely — every night from our own living rooms. It makes sense that a few generations raised that way would grow to believe that change is easy and safe and always good.

    Unlearning that, when we finally do, is likely to be unpleasant.

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I give credit to the Europeans for being more worldly wise than we are about “diversity” being an unalloyed good. Our leftists in the US try to tell us that “diversity” is like “Change” (as in, Hope and) — it’s always associated with “improved.” Whatta buncha piffle.

    I’m not opposed to immigration. I’m opposed to immigrants who adhere to Sharia, and to Central and South American socialists who, while fleeing the corruption endemic to socialist countries, are unlikely to appreciate the subtle benefits of limited government.

    I have zero faith in America’s ability to assimilate these people anymore, now that our primary education system has changed its purpose from producing good citizens to producing good leftists.

    As for the “racism” issue, I agree with Dennis Prager that the US is probably the least racist country in the world. But, I would also point out that electing the nation’s first black president didn’t actually do anything to improve race relations. Just the opposite. That’s because he’s a leftist, whose identity politics is all about divide and conquer. Opening the borders to more leftists and Sharia adherents is suicide. Americans who think otherwise are either naive or willfully blind to what’s happening in California and Cologne, for example.

    • #27
  28. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Yes those who want to foster division and racial hatred are wrong but so are almost all of these polls.   Even if we could get a longer term measurement of an individual’s attitudes toward different outside groups, it would not be possible to average such things.  Still, hammer the left, that’s always a good thing to do.

    • #28
  29. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Yes those who want to foster division and racial hatred are wrong but so are almost all of these polls. Even if we could get a longer term measurement of an individual’s attitudes toward different outside groups, it would not be possible to average such things. Still, hammer the left, that’s always a good thing to do.

    Yes, I meant to edit to preface my comments with, “Assuming the accuracy of this poll…”

    • #29
  30. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    I’ll believe America is a racist hellhole when somebody, of some race, somewhere, doesn’t want to come here.

    • #30
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