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  • 27

    Going Home Again (Updated)
    Activism; Posted on: 2007-06-03 19:35:44 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]

    This is the only home we have, and weíll lose it if we sit idle and do nothing.

    by Lucy Brewer

    Recently, I was traveling through New England, through an area where I lived a number of years ago.† I was in a hurry, on my way to an appointment, so I stopped at a†KFC to grab something quick to eat.

    The most amazing thing happened.† The woman behind the counter was a native speaker of English.† She understood everything I said without me having to repeat it.† She didnít need to hold a conference with her co-workers in a foreign language, and I didnít have to struggle to understand what she said.† She got my order right, and I was out of there quickly.† And weíre talking not about some rural town, but a KFC on a main street in one of the northernmost state capitals.† The same sort of thing happened the next day when I got my hair cut at a nearby department store salon and when I went shopping.†

    It was like going home again.

    The part thatís really ironic is that I work in the DC area, not far from where I grew up, and that I have to travel a long way to go ďhomeĒ again.† Itís very hard to find a native speaker of American English in any of the hair salons near me Ė they are staffed by Asians and Latinas.† I have to travel fairly far and pay higher prices for clothing that is tailored to northern European paler skin tones and hair color, because the lower cost shops near me cater to Latina and African American clientele.† While their fashions compliment warm, dark skin and eyes quite well, they make me look like a circus clown.† It is a struggle to make the subtleties of a particular hairstyle known to someone who shares your own language, much less to a foreigner you have trouble understanding, and who has trouble understanding you.† And then there are the cultural differences that lead to things like Asian cosmetologists suggesting facial waxing you donít really need because they are practically hairless compared to the pale peach fuzz that is the normal state of affairs for those of northern European ancestry.† As for the local restaurants, while I expect to adapt myself to the language and customs if I want to enjoy authentic Thai food or Mexican food, I expect to find Americans working restaurants serving American fare.† But thatís no longer the case.† Most discount local American restaurants and all fast food places in the area are now staffed by foreign servers.

    George Lopez†has made a living from the comedy routines of the language barrier, acknowledging the problem.† But my weekend in experience in New England should not have been amazing.† In fact, in the DC metro† area, decades ago, it was quite commonplace, even though our neighborhood was culturally diverse.† My country, in becoming a home to others, is making me a stranger in my own homeland. I understand why immigrants create small communities in foreign lands.† Itís the equivalent of being among family in a sea of strangers.† You crave the comfort of people who understand you, who share your values, your customs, and you interact and do business as easily and naturally as breathing.† The irony, though, lies in accommodating the cultures of others to such an unreasonable extent that we are now losing the ability to experience this ease ourselves.† Our culture is just as unique and worth preserving as any other, but our liberal press and the corporate and governmental powers that benefit from cheap foreign labor, especially illegal labor, portray Americans as unreasonable should they express any public outrage at being overrun.†

    But there are still things we can do.† Thereís a big†anti-amnesty rally in DC this month, you can join immigration reform organizations to work the legislative system, keep an eye on pro-amnesty legislation, and vote in the 2008 presidential election for candidates intent on†securing the border anddenying amnesty.Unlike the conservatively estimated 12 million illegal aliens resident within the U.S. borders, you and I donít have the lifeboat of our country of origin to run back to if things donít work out here.†

    This is the only home we have, and weíll lose it if we sit idle and do nothing.†

    News Source: author


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