How's This for Assimilation?

I'm pregnant!  I'm about two months along and we're going to my first doctor's appointment tomorrow.  It's an exciting time for me and Santiago and we are very much looking forward to this adventure.

I was thinking today about a common complaint many native-born Americans make about immigrants being unable or unwilling to assimilate.  I really don't know how such a myth got started, but it's certainly not true.  The evidence of assimilation is everywhere and obvious.  Perhaps most Americans don't realize (or have forgotten, or were not told by their grandparents, or were not taught by their schools) how difficult it is to assimilate, or how much time it can take (sometimes lifetimes or generations), but ignorance is no excuse to perpetuate such an ugly, harmful untruth.

Anyway, while I was thinking about my very mixed-race pregnancy today, it made me think of how much assimilation our families have done to get us to this point.  My family is English, French, Czech and Irish (and that's just what I know of!)  It appears my father's side of the family is newer to America than my mother's side, and I may only be a 4th generation American.  Santiago's mother is from the valley of Texas, and her family is likely a mix of Spanish, Mexican and native indian.  Santiago's father is from Mexico, making Santiago a first generation American.

I have never been that interested in genealogy, but thinking about this recently has suddenly made me more interested.  Not because it matters so much who my relatives were, but I am curious of their stories and how and why they came to America and how difficult or easy it may have been for some of them.  It doesn't seem like it took very long looking at pictures and hearing the few stories I've heard.  Is a partial-lifetime considered too long by Americans nowadays?  A partial-lifetime to absorb brand new politics, a new culture, a new language?   

With Santiago's father, the answers are a little easier because we can ask him.  His transition to America was a very difficult one, as it is for most Mexicans.  (It would take about 130 years for a poor to middle-class Mexican to immigrate to the US legally.  Not to mention more money than they could ever save while working in Mexico, assuming they could find work.) 

Once in the US, Santiago's father was determined to learn the language, become a citizen and educate his children (despite what others may have erroneously assumed about him.)  He started as the low-man on the totem pole at an engineering firm.  He took some night classes after work, but it was very difficult working full-time with a wife and two kids at home.  Despite that, he continued to work his way up and is now an engineer himself.  Now he has a son and a daughter who are successful and married, and next January, he will become a grandfather to a second-generation American. 

How's that for assimilation? =)

And one last thing.  I'd like to dedicate this post and my pregnancy to the unfriendly, racist folks over at NumbersUSA, FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies (you know, all of John Tanton's crooked organizations.)  I know my mixed-race pregnancy, my mixed-race marriage and the happiness and success our extended families enjoy just drives them nuts and goes against all the lies they perpetuate, so it's my honor to prove them wrong!

Comments (5)

You know you're assimilated when you look like a danged-foreigner, but you only speak English (not the "native" language).

Ha ha! So true!

The first time I read this, I misinterpreted one sentence: When you wrote, "Santiago's mother is from the valley of Texas, and her family is likely a mix of Spanish, Mexican and native indian," I took "her" as referring to Santiago . . . which implied that the two of you are a same-sex couple, and left me wondering how you could be having a mixed-ethnicity child (though there was the option of seeking a donor who shared Santiago's ethnicity). I just reread it and realized that the antecedent of "her" was "Santiago's mother"—but that literally did not occur to me previously, even with the biological incongruity and with puzzling over "So is Santiago a name a woman can have, like Socorro?"

I'm not saying this to suggest that there's anything wrong with your word choice. But I think it's an interesting illustration of the sort of parsing errors our brains can fall into.


Are you saying that those who disagree with the current lax immigration polices are racist?

Is the government of Israel racist for restricting Arab immigration?

I assume you're referring to my last paragraph so I will respond accordingly. Yes, John Tanton is a white supremacist & therefore a racist. (As are those three organizations he is behind.) I provided links or you can research it yourself to see the obvious evidence.

As far as the Israelis, I think it'd be inappropriate & inaccurate to call them all racists. I'm sure there are some bad apples in every bunch, but I doubt that dictates their foreign policy. I do believe their government violates individual rights & is run by mob rule (democracy), but I feel pretty sure they're not all a bunch of racists.

You sure do like to post out of context questions. What are you driving at?

(Sent from my phone.)

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