Letters to the Editor
Readers write about the way multiculturalism shapes America.
Multiculturalism's historic role in American society
In response to Lawrence Harrison's Feb. 26 Opinion piece, "The end of multiculturalism": The salad bowl versus melting pot analogy is confused by a mistaken belief that America was founded on a unified "Anglo-Protestant tradition." Our nascent nation was a famously loose federation of extremist Puritans and moderate Anglicans, slave-owning agriculturalists and naval merchants. They found little common cultural ground in anything but a hatred of British tyranny and a fierce independent streak. Our Founding Fathers created a genius framework that allowed for, and even utilized, that great diversity by uniting them under the Constitution.Skip to next paragraph
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Indeed, one of the great American successes has been the absorption not only of foreign peoples but also of their ideas. Each new immigrant generation infuses the United States with new perspectives and approaches, whether they are prospectors or the persecuted, Irish or Indian. Multiculturalism, not homogeneity, has always made America greater.
In response to Lawrence Harrison's Opinion piece on America's cultural "salad bowl": The author apparently dislikes salad, perhaps preferring something like a fondue or maybe Welsh rarebit.
The most telling difference between Barbados and Haiti is that of the dates and circumstances of their independence. Barbadian economic integration into the growing international economy was assured by being subsumed into the British Empire. Haiti was from the beginning under economic embargo, thus assuring the kind of weak economy that breeds corruption.
The United States recognized Haiti at the time of our Civil War. Only a generation later it would assist in a destabilization of the Haitian economy. In a bold application of the Monroe Doctrine, the US occupied first the Customs Control and banks and then the entire government from 1915 to 1934. If the Haitian leaders of that period, all chosen by the US, were incompetent and corrupt, it raises questions beyond race or ethnicity.
Regarding Prof. Lawrence Harrison's Opinion piece on multiculturalism: The author's torpedoing of multicultural delusions is welcome. His essay buttresses Robert Putnam's work concerning diversity's destructive effects on a society's civil comity.
Harrison also outlines specific perils arising from our ongoing, enormous Hispanic immigration and suggests that rescuing the American future requires inculcating immigrants with "Anglo-Protestant virtues."