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One thing that makes the US different (at least until recently) was the huge number of different ethnic groups in the general population.

During our history these groups have had their ups and downs. For example during the Irish immigrations they were considered a different "race". After a generation and their getting control of power in some urban cities, attitudes changed and now they were proud to be seen as "Irish-American". A similar thing has happened with Indians. The number of people self-identifying as of Indian decent has risen over the past several decades as their social position has improved (and economic from casinos).

We are seeing a similar situation with Hispanics. Several public figures are now playing up their Hispanic side wheres in the past they didn't make a big deal out of it. Bill Richardson is a good example.

An interesting case has arisen recently due to the large number of Asian children being adopted by non-Asian parents. Some of them have started up groups to help these children learn about their "culture". Given that most of these children arrived as infants and have no knowledge of their home country or of their native language is it the parent's role to impose a foreign culture on them? Are they somehow being branded for life and thus aren't free to become non-hyphenated Americans if they wish?

This problem is not unique to the US. We see the unwillingness of, say, Germans to let Turks lose their cultural identity, even those who have never been to Turkey. In the middle east Jordan regards its "Palestinian" citizens differently even though they have lived in Jordan for decades. Part of the reason for not absorbing the west bank is the fear that the "Palestinians" will become the majority in Jordan and thus it will lose its cultural purity.

It seems that others are unwilling to let people chose their own cultural affiliation. This leads to never-ending conflict.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Tue Jul 17th, 2007 at 12:09:34 PM EST

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