A necessary cultural adaptation by immigrants

“Only a conqueror has the right to demand a change in the institutions of government in the terrain taken over, not an authorised immigrant. Host-nation politicians in govern¬ment chasing that ghostly ethnic vote can, of course, allow such arrogance. Britain is probably on the verge of learning about its error in modifying its traditional institutions to pander to the ethnic or tribal vote.

How do I define a professional ethnic? He can be an immigrant, or even a second or third generation Aussie, the immigrant being the first generation Aussie. Incidentally, it took the Australian media about half a century to accept that there can be no such thing as a second or third generation immigrant; some academics (obviously of recent immigrant stock) took only half that time.

The professional ethnics are those who insist that their ancestral cultural practices should be retained unmodified over time in Australia, irrespective of any incompatibility with the evolving values of the host nation (and ignoring the obvious – that their ancestral values are already being modified back home). Many, with newly-acquired societal freedom, insist on an invariant separate cultural existence in a democratic secular nation which encourages a human interaction which will eventually lead to increasing cultural fusion. It is as if they prefer their own ghettos to live in, while accessing all the material benefits available in Australia. Yet, Australia has avoided the forma¬tion of ethnic ghettos.

It is an undeniable fact that Australia’s immigrants have never been denied the right to pray as they wish (other than to avoid disrupting their workplace); to eat their own kind of food; to speak their own language in public (the Aussie yobbo in the street excluded); to dress traditionally; to celebrate their national festivals freely; and to retain those of their cultural practices which are not inconsistent with the law, institutional practices, societal values, and behavioural norms of the host population.

They are thus required to accept Australia’s Constitution and the related institutions of government; of law, order and justice; the equality of genders; freedom of speech; and equal opportunity. They are also required to respect the nationally accepted cultural practices and social mores of not only the host nation but also of all the other cultural communities in Australia. They are further required to discard imported cul¬tural practices such as spitting in public spaces, clitoridectomy, and such other practices which have been traditionally anathema to their host people. In the event, what other rights might immigrants or their descendants need?”

(The above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ show the high quality of the Australian Government’s immigrant settlement policies, enabling eventual transformation of the immigrant into the Aussie Family of Man. My book ‘The Karma of Culture’ identifies the trade-offs implicit in adaptation and integration. Another book of mine, ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity,’ deals with core issues involved in relating to other ethno-tribal communities on the path to a national unity. Dual citizenship, which arose for political reasons, however, diminished the value of this unity.)

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