Assimilation-New Category and why

Regardless of where you are in the world, the topic of immigration always means we’re going to talk about assimilation.  How well are the new immigrants fitting in?  Do they insist on keeping their foreign ways?  How does that threaten our national identity?

This is a complex topic–enough that I think I’m just going to create a whole new category.

Stuff I’ve been thinking about related to assimilation

  • The difference between being the teacher of ESL students and the parent of a child receiving instruction in a language you don’t speak
  • What assimilation seems to mean to Americans (if any locals want to do a guest post and write about what SG seems to perceive as adaptation–the curry story is a great example, I’d love it–I’m just not willing to write it).
  • What assimilation means as someone moving to a new country
  • Expat communities-the positive and negatives
  • Language in general (it’s really not as simple as “why don’t you just learn X”–I studied 2nd language acquisition back when I was a double french and education major and I have so many thoughts and feelings and research to back it up)
  • The politics of assimilation (or more talk about us vs them dichotomies).

I will try to keep from getting too academic, but I feel like these are topics that deserve to be unpacked, and one blog post isn’t going to be enough.

What questions would you like to see posed/answered when it comes to assimilation?

I’ve put up some questions on the Expat Bostonians Facebook page about what assimilation means to you and whether it means something different when you think about someone moving to your home country versus if you were to move abroad.  Feel free to start a conversation or suggest topics here in comments.

 

 

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4 Responses to Assimilation-New Category and why

  1. Katrijn says:

    This has been a big topic in my home country for a while now. And “assimilation” has very negative connotations in our context. “Adaptation” is viewed as the way forward. “Assimilation” is taken to mean to wholly embrace the new culture and letting go of your own. “Adaptation” is taken to mean embracing the new culture and fusing it with your own. I know this taking this post right back on the road to academics (by requesting definitions of words and precisely demarcating what exactly we’re talking about) but I noticed upon reading your post that intuitively I felt very uncomfortable with it, although my mind knows that giving up on your own background is absolutely not what you’re talking about. 🙂

  2. Kirsten says:

    “(if any locals want to do a guest post and write about what SG seems to perceive as adaptation–the curry story is a great example, I’d love it–I’m just not willing to write it).” <- I'd be happy to do this but I just need to wrap my head around everything! And also, of course, kick myself to get writing…

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