What US Citizens can learn from Immigrants

Maybe you’ve heard the story or maybe you haven’t. Here in the Detroit area we have the largest populations of Arab’s outside of the middle east. Many it would seem own gas stations, big houses and nice cars. Their twenty something kids are dressed head to toe in top brands, drive sporty brand new BMW’s and act like the world is their playground.

So it’s of no coincidence that resentment surfaces its ugly head on the part of your average middle class white Americans. Those struggling to pay their bills, afford their homes and just get by as the economy around us crumbles.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by fellow white Americans about how these Arabs come over here and open up a gas station and get 7 years of tax free business ownership. Then when their 7 years is up they pass it on to their cousin who just got off the boat for another 7 year tax free ride. It’s not fair. Why should they get special benefits over native born citizens who are getting screwed left and right and actually pay their taxes?

Well it’s also not true

At least not the tax free part. They don’t get any special benefits from the government. But the part that is true is the family support. This is something that has been true of many immigrant groups that have come to the US over the decades.

They come to the US seeking the American dream, willing to work hard for long hours and small pay to achieve their goals. Willing to live a meager existence for a certain number of years in order to insure a bright future. They want to own their own business, their own home and build a certain degree of stability for their children.

They understand the concept of family and community. They live together in homes and communities with others like themselves, not trying to push each other down for the benefit of themselves, but trying to support each other for the benefit of all.  This has been true of Italians, Arabs, Jews, Indians, Mexicans and the list goes on.

Where we fail as natural born citizens, is in our resentment toward them and our unwillingness to do the same. As white natural born citizens we have lost our sense of community and family. We feel entitled to our nations wealth just because we were born here. Sure we may work hard at our jobs. But we are also willing to crawl over each other and push each other down in order to get ourselves to the next high point. We fail to communicate with each other, supporting each other financially and/or through knowledge about how to start our own business and succeed in life. We are the majority and as the majority it’s hard to gain a grasp of community.

The United States of America was built upon hard work and capitalism. Anyone coming from anywhere can live the American dream. But it does take hard work and the support of a family and or community to archive it. To some degree those of us born poor in the US to a divorced household start with a bit of a disadvantage. It’s harder to succeed without the proper knowledge or the bankroll of a family or community to help you out. But it is still possible. We’ve seen it happen.

Still, it’s not the fault of the immigrants that us natural born citizens may be at a slight disadvantage. It’s our own fault for not supporting each other as a community and/or family. They should not be blamed for being successful and living the American dream. It’s easy to be resentful and hate a group of people but it doesn’t solve anything. Urban legends about tax breaks and special benefits don’t help the matter either. They just cause more divide. 

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0 thoughts on “What US Citizens can learn from Immigrants

  1. Great insight! I see the same dynamic in the Bay Area in California, where the Vietnamese came over in droves after the end of the Vietnam War. They learned English, worked hard, and supported each other, in much the same way you describe the situation in the Detroit area. They are very entrepreneurial, and have disciplined children who study hard. They actually made possible the explosive growth of Silicon Valley in the early 1980’s when Apple and IBM personal computers were taking off and requiring millions of very complex semiconductor chips that had to be painstakingly hand assembled in those early days. Now, the Vietnamese are firmly established in San Jose and neighboring towns, as proud, successful, responsible American citizens.

  2. A similar question was asked when I took intro to sociology a couple of semesters ago. Your 4th to 6th paragraph is almost what I wrote on the subject. Thank you for writing this. 

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