In an earlier America, the actual immigrants were understood to perhaps have remaining ties to the old country, but the kids were expected to become assimilated Americans through their school experience and just living here.
One example, noted elsewhere by NPR was jazz musician Benny Goodman, whose 100 birthday is now being celebrated. Besides his clarinet mastery, Goodman's band was the first to bring in black musicians, including Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton and Charlie Christian, plus he used many arrangements by Fletcher Henderson. In short, Goodman immersed himself in American culture.
These days, maintaining tribalism is highly valued, and assimilation to American values is not... at least according to the liberal Gospel of NPR. The latest episode concerns finding a marriage partner of the correct diversity flavor [Weighing Ethnicity When Picking A Spouse, NPR, May 31, 2009].
Overall, interracial marriages are becoming more common in America, according to recent U.S. Census data. But those numbers mainly reflect the increase in black-white marriages. The same data show that since the 1990s, fewer American-born children in Asian and Latino families are marrying outside their ethnic group.So! Another advantage of excessively multicultural immigration is more opportunity for young people to choose a marriage partner of their precise tribe! Note how the ethnic Chinese family rejected the Mien boyfriend — Asian, but not the correct variety.
Take Jessica Nghiem, a UC-Berkeley student from Sacramento, Calif. While her parents are from Vietnam, Nghiem describes herself as thoroughly "Americanized." In high school, she says, she dated "white and Latino guys." But her current boyfriend is Asian, and Nghiem says both she and her family are very comfortable with that.
"I think my boyfriend gets brownie points because he does speak Vietnamese," Nghiem says. "And my parents can speak to him in a different language. So I think they're much more accepting. I definitely got a better response with a Vietnamese guy than, for example, a white guy or a Hispanic guy, you know?"
Nghiem's friend and fellow student, Elaine Ly, has had a somewhat different experience. Her parents are ethnic Chinese from Vietnam. Her boyfriend is Asian, but he's Mien, descended from refugees in the Laotian highlands. And Elaine's parents have issues with that.
"They come to me and say, 'How come you didn't find a Chinese boy or something?' " Ly says. [...]
None of this surprises Daniel Lichter, a Cornell University sociologist who studies interracial marriage patterns. Lichter says America's growing immigrant population gives today's children of immigrants more choices when picking a partner.
Anything to avoid assimilation, except for the money part. Immigrants like the money well enough.