Why is American assimilation different from European?

November 26, 2013

Ever wonder why assimilation of migrants in the USA is so different?  Well, it is.  Certainly not like here in Australia.  And especially not like in Europe.

In a fascinating article in the November 2013 issue of The Atlantic, entitled “Assimilation Nation”, Jason DeParle provides good insights:

Compared with Europe, the U.S. attracts more immigrants who share the dominant faith. (Imagine if Mexicans built mosques.) An economy that, until recently, had lots of entry-level jobs has made it easier for immigrants to find work. American schools generally provide students second chances, while Europeans are more likely to leave stragglers on vocational tracks. The U.S. also had Martin Luther King Jr.—the civil-rights movement, cresting just before the current mass migration started, bequeathed a robust apparatus for promoting opportunity. And American culture sells, in all its tawdriness and splendor. In Europe, the children of immigrants sometimes cling to the Old Country more than their parents do: sons import brides. In the U.S., the bigger danger is assimilating too fast: children get fat eating french fries and watching TV.

These are the reasons that so many of the worst fears of protectionists in the USA have not come to pass.  The migrants are, by and large, Christian.  And their young people, by and large, are given lots more chances to “join” the country.  And there’s a history:  ironically, the African-Americans helped to pave the way.