Theory on Diversity and Immigration

It dawned on me the other day that big business and immigration actually are working against each other, even though the same people usually support both and they are, arguably, dependent on each other.

Here’s my theory:

A major argument for relatively lax immigration laws in this country is that it provides diversity for this country, allowing us to keep open minds, etc. However, as certain companies that provide services get larger and larger these days, i.e. Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, McDonald’s, Burger King, and other giant chain corporations, these immigrants that come into the country simply use these chains to feed and clothe themselves. No longer do they start as many family restaurants or family businesses that could potentially share their heritage or culture with the rest of us. Millions of Americans are relatively identical in that they buy their goods from these giant corporations which provide nearly identical products coast to coast. Therefore, as the rate of immigration continues to rise and rise, we see very little in terms of the supposed gains from letting them in.

I have an open mind if you want to tell me I’m wrong. Am I right?

Perhaps you could rephrase what you just said.

“use these chains”?

Do you mean stealing to survive? Purchasing stuff? Starting franchises to give out freebies to their buddies?

The first and the last arent very plausible and the second helps the economy, so I dont see how it conflicts with the aims of these chains.

I cannot but goive anecdotes, but around here there a number of Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Japanese restaurants.

And this is KNoxville, TN. Hardly Immigrant city, right?

Aaaaah now I understand the OP.

I doubt that these restaraunts are any better a place to go to appreciatte the culture of its owners than a Cowboy-Indian movie for learning about the culture of Native Americans. To cater to an American audience, I have found that businesses tend to fulfill the stereotypes that American audiences place on them.

The best way to challenge that stereotype IMO is with direct personal (intimate?) contact. I would rather have my kid go to a school where 50% were white than 80%.

True, there are the ocassional foreign restaurants in most towns. However, as PYTHAGRAS stated, they are altered to provide the typical stereotypes. So again these restaurants teach us very little. Afterall, when was the last time you went to a restaurant that served genuine Chinese food in the style it is served in China? In case you didnt know, Chinese food in China is drastically different than the stuff here.

My point is that as immigration is at very high if not record levels (i’m not sure on the current flow), we expect to reap the ‘benefits’ of them through their culture yet I don’t see that culture showing up in my neighborhood. Shouldn’t there be a Chinatown in every major city instead of just a few? Shouldn’t there be more Little Italy’s and perhaps villages that give us a taste of Russian, South American, or African foods? After all, we seem to certainly have a large enough population of these groups to substantiate them.

Let me get this straight-our culture should come from Kmart?


“relatively lax immigration laws in this country”?? I got news for you. Immigration is anything but lax.

l911: My point is that as immigration is at very high if not record levels (i’m not sure on the current flow),

In absolute numbers, there are indeed more immigrants entering the US these days than in previous eras. Relative to total population, though, we are nowhere near record high immigration. The total number of immigrants in the last decade was somewhere around 10 million in a population of around 275 million; compare this with the massive influx of the first decade of the twentieth century, when about 9 million immigrants joined a population of less than 100 million.

we expect to reap the ‘benefits’ of them through their culture yet I don’t see that culture showing up in my neighborhood.

It’s news to me that the chief value of immigrants is the ethnic diversity and authenticity they provide. I thought immigration was primarily about expanding the working-age tax base and providing opportunity to the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and all like that there.

I also think it’s kind of sad that you feel you’re not getting adequate access to the rich ethnic heritage of immigrants because you’re having difficulties buying it. Heavens to Betsy, why not go make friends with some actual immigrants in your neighborhood or workplace? Maybe they’ll invite you over for dinner.

Bad examples: K-Mart is under Bankruptcy protection, McDonald’s is in a price war with the soon to be bankrupt Burger King.

From all the political analysis I’ve heard and read, generally it’s Small Business owners (farmers, retailers, restauranteurs, et al) who lobby hardest against immigration controls, not the large, multi-national corporations. (who rarely give a crap about anything). Microsoft is definitely pro-immigration and it has nothing to do with your theory. It’s a simple business position becuase they claim there aren’t enough “domestically-grown” programmers.

Not only MS & the Small Business owners, but politicians (usually urban, left of center & big-on-gov’t-services & programs) not to mention those who fear being labelled xenophobic racists who have a stake in keeping the drawbridge down due to the fact they gain popularity & a stronger power base from newly arrived immigrant groups.

Wait… soon to be bankrupt Burger King?

Soon to be” is a little spectacular, I apologize…It’s just my long-term prediction. The forecastdoesn’t look all that pretty.

Well, I think we more or less got it the first time around. But if we strip away the problems in your “theory” that have already been pointed out by others, here’s what I think can be salvaged: (1) immigrants are likely to assimilate, at least in terms of where they shop and where they eat, and (2) this is going to limit everyone’s experience of diversity, at least in terms of where we can shop and eat.

You might be correct with regard to these points, but I think not for the reason you give. Your assumption is that immigrants today are likely to assimilate because of the spread of mega-corporate chains like McDonald’s and WalMart. In essence, you’re taking the old cultural homogenization argument and extending it to immigrants.

There may be some truth to this, but I suspect that the bigger reason immigrants assimilate today is that they are allowed to. There is far less discrimination in the U.S. today than there was in decades past, making it far easier for immigrants and their descendants to join the so-called mainstream, if that’s what they wish to do. True, some immigrants might choose to live in ethnically defined enclaves upon their arrival, but I think there’s much less pressure and incentive for them to do so today.

John, the thought of losing BK terrifies me. Not that I don’t like McD’s or Wendys or anything, I love them, too; but each fast food place has its own differences and none can be replaced.

I did some searching after reading that and read much the same thing. Quite depressing.


I think this is a very real possibility.

I personally, avoid them all and treat their offerings as poison. However, you can take comfort in the fact the fact I heard there are plans for a 99¢ Whopper, according to the newscast I heard this AM. I can’t site it, however the report said the 99¢ may replace the regular $2.49 before years’ end and run indefinitely.

I don’t know about you, but from what I learned in Grade 10 civics, The ‘good ol’ US of A has a melting pot theory, and they in no way encourage diversity among cultures or race. It’s widely unknown, but belive it or not, I am just glad I am not ignorant. Besides, it’s just how americans act, WE ARE THE AMERICANS, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE… haha… just like the borg. No offence but that is how America is. They are like one GIANT government and if you don’t agree with the rest of the party, you are out. Just like if I was American and I didnt agree with the whole war on iraq, or terrorism, i’d lose my job and the CIA would probably come after me.

PS… OH MY GOSH i cant even begin to imagine the slamming I will get for that borg comment, but it was so good!

Out of curiosity, amazonian, where do you go to school? You seem to have a very … um, original … civics curriculum.

Also, how many Americans do you actually know?

I think amazonian is confusing USA with USSR, and US government with US pop culture. Regardless, there are plenty of Chinese restarants in this town that are real Chinese food (not surprising, since 1/4 or so of the population is Chinese). I do notice food differences here when compared to the Quad Cities in the midwest (with few Chinese). The OP seems to be railing against immigration or Giant corperations. I can’t figure out which, but it looks like immigration. I suggest he stick to attacking Giant Corperations.

amazonian, I for one will not slam you for your “borg comment.” I know what it means, but it’s too silly for even slamming.

The US has long abandoned the “melting pot” theory of integration of immigrants. In the span of my lifetime, the preponderance of liberals in our government has modified all that. Nowadays, we promote the “specialness” of every immigrant community, illegals included. “Assimilation” has been replaced by “accomodation.”

We’ve come so far that we’re able to absorb into our society thousands of Islamic fundamentalists bent on destroying our nation. We’ve become so accomodating that last year, 19 of 20 Islamic fundamentalist maniacs absorbed by US and assigned to carry out a terrorist act almost perfectly executed every detail of a meticulously thought out plan and hijacked four jetliners precisely on schedule, slamming one each into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, a third into the Pentagon, and a fourth – thankfully! – into the good earth of rural Pennsylvania. Thousands of innocent people died for the sake of our accomodating attitude.

“Diversity” has become vacationing in Florida and being unable to find a single person in any convenient store who speaks English. “Diversity” has become watching persons of some special ethnic heritage in my workplace who cannot perform the work to which they are assigned, but cannot be fired or even reassigned because of that ethnic heritage. “Diversity” has become digging through a thick instruction manual for my new circular saw to find the few pages that are printed in English.

Well, I don’t know about the OP, but here in Chicago, within a mile of my house I can find small, family-owned restaurants featuring more than a dozen different cuisines. This was not the case 20 years ago, when I was growing up. Even the regular supermarkets, not just the ethnic markets, carry a far wider variety of foods from around the globe than they did even 5 or 10 years ago, and I quite like it that way, myself. I hardly ever buy groceries at chain places (or much of anything at chain places, except canned goods, cleaning supplies, and cat food) for that matter, because the prices, variety, and service are so much better at the ethnic and family-run places around here that there’s no point.

And if I, born and raised in the U.S., find ethnic markets and restaurants fascinating, convenient, and cheap, immigrants do to a much larger extent. The Vietnamese neighborhood 3 blocks from me attracts shoppers from all over the Midwest, as one can easily see by the license plates on weekends especially. The same is true of the Indian/Pakistani neighborhood a couple of miles from here, and of the Middle Eastern bakery/groceries a couple of blocks in the other direction. I’ll never understand why people in my neighborhood buy fresh produce in Jewel, when they can literally walk acorss the street to the Mexican family-owned produce stand and buy produce that is twice as fresh, for half the price.

When I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, I was very homesick for city diversity, and although we were in the middle of a farming region, somehow fresh vegetables and dairy products were much more expensive than they were in Chicago, frequently twice as expensive. Sometimes competition is a good thing for consumers, and the ethnic markets were a missing ingredient in Bloomington, a town with a couple of supermarkets and a natural foods market, but where I never saw a single produce stand, or even a full-service bakery. If you didn’t like the limited selection at the supermarkets, or didn’t want to pay double or triple for organic food, you were S.O.L. I used to load up my car with groceries every time I went home…how is it possible that there’s a college town where until recently, it was impossible to buy a decent cup of coffee or a real bagel?

And to the O.P.: where are you getting your information that immigrants aren’t opening as many business as they used to, or that immigrant-owned businesses are dying out en masse and being replaced by McDonald’s and Wal-Mart? I can imagine it happening in some isolated areas, but I see more diversity in the consumer market, not less. (And no, I haven’t spent my entire life not setting foot outside major cities.)

Has it actually come to this now?! People actually have to dig through a thick instruction manual, just to find the English?! My, oh, my, “‘diversity’” has really gotten out of hand!