Randolf Bourne’s “Trans National America

In my opinion Bourne’s Trans-National America, which discusses his view regarding the way immigrants cling to their native countries’ cultures, is fairly accurate. There are Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans who have lived in the United States their whole lives and have never spoken one word of English. If one went to any of the major “Chinatowns” in the U.S. he would find the culture to be almost as it would be in China. This however doesn’t make the Chinese un-American. It is the diversity and willingness of the U.S. to assimilate different cultures which make the U.S. the country it is. This was the case during Bourne’s time just as it is now.
This assimilation of cultures, present during Bourne’s time until the present day, doesn’t come without its problems. Back then, it was the Irish, Italians and other Europen and Asian immigrants who came here to make better lives for themselves. They didn’t come here because they wanted to make the United States a different country. They came for opportunity and to be Americans.
Now the country is dealing with the same issues with the influx of immigrants from Central America and Southeast Asia.
It’s a natural phenomena for people to gravitate towards their own culture. The American acceptance of these cultures within cultures are what makes the United States a great nation.

One thought on “Randolf Bourne’s “Trans National America

  1. While it is true that many first-generation immigrants end up speaking their native tongue and don’t quite assimilate, I think an important point about immigration is that, within one or two generations, those immigrant cultures do become assimilated into American culture. Today, someone descended from an Irish immigrant and someone whose family immigrated along with William Bradford are both just as American. Same with the Asian-Americans who immigrated in Bourne’s time (though they may be subject to more racism). While they assimilate, though, they don’t just conform to whatever American culture, to the extent that it exists, but they change the American culture as they assimilate. It is that change which I believe makes American culture what it is.

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