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Well, the non integrated people may be invisible. What is visible (to me) are the thousands and thousands of satellite dishes on their balconies, roof tops and next to their living room windows. (Very much like in the DDR.) These folks are not only immigrants they are also after - dinner - refugees. There is something wrong when they collectively emigrate every night to watch Arab television programms. They never really left their home countries and never really arrived in France. And the kids never understood where they live.  

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819
by Ritter on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 09:32:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I'm not at all as convinced as some that these groups of immigrants will integrate into the larger society in the foreseeable future, no matter what good will and good policy is applied to the problem.

Traditionally integration of immigrants would be most problematic when the country of origin was right across the border, and the people concerned stayed rooted in their cross border culture. These days, as the parent poster noted, any country is right across the border, as this very forum is an example of. Add to that the religious identity politics, and the outlook is pretty bleak.

The question is, is there hope of a meaningful integration and a lessening of conflicts before a massive backlash, reaching deep into the moderate, and even left wing, parts of the population, provides fuel for a hardline right wing resurgence throughout Europe. Being politically correct is starting to look mighty like whistling past the graveyard these days.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Alexander G Rubio (alexander.rubio@gmail.com) on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 11:26:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps one problem is the expectation that integration will go smoothly and quickly. The history of immigrants in America is one of multiple back-and-forth trips to the old country, many people who came went back, and long-term connections with relatives and cultures that span generations. People whose families came here from Italy or Ireland in the 1930s still visit their cousins "back home." They clearly identify with their traditional culture. My grandmother kept in touch with her relatives in England 100 years after the family had come over here.

It takes a LONG TIME for people to integrate. The New World has this expectation built in, but if anything the United States is probably better at it than other places like Canada and South America where the connections to England, France, Spain, and Portugal are still very strong. For a country without the expectation of immigration as part of it's culture, the process can be expected to take even longer. Like a hundred years or so.

by asdf on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 12:26:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I even think today you integrate not that slower than eighty or hundred years ago. Even if people in the old days also went back to their home country, it was much more difficult for poor people to go back then as it is today, where you can hop in the air plane anytime.

What is more difficult today is that you have more exposure mentally to the new country's culture and the old one due to the internet and communication possibilities compared to hundred years ago.

In the old day you had to accept that your are "stuck" in the new world and tried to make the best out of it. The average immigrant in the old days was most likely so poor arriving in the new country that he couldn't afford to "make a trip back home" that easily.

Today's immigrants stay culturally at home and just come physically to the new country to make some money. If they don't achieve that (and remain unemployed), but on the other hand are that well secured through a functioning social security net (like in France - at least to the point that they don't become homeless or hungry), immigrants get paralysed.

They can't go home (being ashamed to not have made money in the new world) and the can't really integrate and make it in the new world either.

So, they get pretty depressed and frustrated mentally.
It seems to me that in the old days all immigrants were finally proud to have made it in the new country and had not only integrated but often over-identified with the new country. I don't think that's so clearly the case anymore for today's immigrants from African countries into Europe.

by mimi on Sun Nov 6th, 2005 at 09:38:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Today's immigrants stay culturally at home and just come physically to the new country to make some money.

This, I think, is a very common and wrong view from outside. What you perceive as staying culturally at home is most probably staying somewhere halfway between old home and new home.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 03:54:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ritter, what's wrong with watching Arab television while in France? There certainly are people who isolate themselves from those around them, but for most, what I see is people with connections to multiple cultures - and kids not not understanding where they live, but understanding more than one place.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 03:57:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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