In response to a comment I got from a visitor about the downside of multi-cultural communities in the big city I decided to post this reply: New comment on your post #378 “Our Multi-Cultural Family”
Hey there! That was a very interesting response on Thai blogs in regards to multi-culturalism in the big city. I suppose there is alot of truth to what you wrote. I guess I look at things with more optimism & I choose to insert myself into other communities in an effort to learn more about who it is I am sharing my streets with. I think that in cities like Sydney or Los Angeles, where there are high migration rates due to immigrants arriving in hopes of a better economic situation, people tend to settle in distinct neighborhoods where they are surrounded by their own ethnic groups. It’s pretty obvious that people do this for the support they will receive from their own communities. The fact is it has to be easier for them if they are somewhere where they can communicate in their native tongue, eat their native food, and see people who look like them considering most of the immigrants in our Western cities are from totally different cultures than what we are from. This, like you eluded to, puts them at a handicap when it comes time for them to assimilate into our society. But, this is something that our governments have allowed and its also up to us to help welcome these people and teach them about becoming a part of our own community. Here in LA I encounter many people who clearly aren’t of Anglo-American origin but they are as American as one can be. There are the Japanese-Americans who have sadly lost their ability to even speak Japanese & their Japanese blood line is being breded right out of existence. What I mean is that many of the Japanese-Americans that I’ve encountered have married Caucasian or other ethnicities….their half/half offspring go on to marry non-Japanese and within a few generations you’ve got a guy/woman sitting in front of you who is named Johnny Nagatani and you’re wondering how the heck did this white guy get a Japanese last name. The same things goes in in the Latino community here in LA. I’ve got so many friends who are of mixed ethnic backgrounds that its a normal thing….and they are just as American as I am. I think the problem that you were referring to is more in regards to recent immigrant groups. By them settling in these nearly exclusive ethnic communities it may put them at a disadvantage but it also helps assimilate them into our countries…….in the long run. It’s up to our school systems, as poor as they may be, to teach their children English and to help them become a part of the greater community. Sure, there will always be ethnic rivalries but what good will it do to gripe about it? It’s been that way from the time the white man stepped foot in North America and in Australia. I’ve lived in Latino, Asian and African American neighborhoods and I personally never had a problem, I rather enjoyed it. Maybe I was naive in thinking that by me being there would prove to those I encountered that we “people in the majority” aren’t all that disinterested in their communities. I figured we could all learn from each other. I remember when an Asian police office in LA asked me, “what the heck are you doing living here?” after encountering me during a call to my apartment building and seeing that I was the only white guy living in an all black neighborhood. You know, it never really was an issue to me but of course I noticed that I was indeed a minority. But for me that was what was so great about living where I did. Now I knew what it was like to be on the other side. As for Bangkok….there are ethnic communities sprouting up in certain neighborhoods. These groups, primarily east Africans, south Asians, middle eastern people, tend to stick together in their small communities (or apartment buildings). There just isn’t a lot of immigration going on to Thailand as there is in our cities. Well my friend….very interesting topic. Enjoy your travels to the land of smiles and next time your in LA let me show you the good side.
I’ll add more later…thanks for all the responses to my first few blogs. I’m still learning the system here.