Real Americans Sulk & Whine, Don’t Protest: One More Job for Immigrants (Ousourcing?)By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Monday, April 17, 2006
Over the last few weeks, it’s become obvious that America’s immigrant community is seriously out of touch with the American cultural mainstream.
Mainstream Americans don’t go in for protest marches anymore (mass protests are so ’60s). But demonstrating a mind-boggling degree of cultural obtuseness, hundreds of thousands of immigrants turned out for nationwide rallies opposing the punitive Republican-sponsored immigration bill passed by the House in December.
Real Americans — that is, those of us whose immigrant ancestors made it to the United States more than a generation or two ago — gave up on that sort of foolishness long ago. (The Bill of Rights is so 1791.)
When we Americans have a grievance we want redressed, we don’t assemble. Assembling en masse is a sweaty, fatiguing enterprise requiring the purchase of lots of poster board and the occasional use of Porta Potties. Yuck.
Instead, real Americans sulk and whine. What’s more, because we take pride in individualism, we mostly do our whining and sulking alone. As a result, even when we’re really, really mad at our government, an outside observer would be hard-pressed to notice.
Of course, sometimes mass protest actually changes things. In other countries, anyway. On Monday, for instance, French President Jacques Chirac was forced to withdraw the labor measure that sparked the protests; in 2004, the so-called Orange Revolution brought a democratic government to Ukraine; in 2000, the Serbian popular uprising forced Milosevic to step down and ultimately led to his transfer to The Hague to face trial for crimes against humanity.
Of course, political protest isn’t easy. Effective protests take money, endurance and courage. Protesters have to take time off from work; they have to travel to distant cities and come up with somewhere to sleep and eat; they have to risk encounters with police who may not always distinguish between peaceful protesters and those who are breaking the law.
This may explain why so few Americans are willing to express their discontent through public protest. As with so much unappealing work here in the U.S.A., we leave that kind of thing to the immigrants.
Source: Article by Rosa Brooks; via Joel Bellenson.
Rosa Brooks is a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Tags: French, Immigration, President, School, Things, Travel