One of my favorite parts of the US is this: by looking at someone you can’t tell if they’ve been in the US for 7 generations, or whether they just got here yesterday.
When I lived in Mexico it was obvious to everyone that I wasn’t from there. 100% of the people who met me assumed I was a foreigner (correct) who didn’t speak Spanish (incorrect). They’d ask me about George Bush and politics in the US (“why can’t more of us go to the US?”). All these built in assumptions.
Not that I was offended by any of this. Their assumptions were mostly correct!
But in America good luck asking someone about their “home country” politics before finding out where they’re actually from. Even if the person is an immigrant, which country precisely do you think they arrived from?
And that is what makes this one of the great narratives of America; come as you are from wherever you are, there’s a place for you here. You’ll fit right in.1
Unfortunately it seems fewer people than I realized think this way. Or maybe they’ve been temporarily tricked. I’m not sure, but it makes me sad.
New York City is the best embodiment of this ideal. I’d argue that NYC is America smashed together and viewed under a microscope. People from everywhere, made of a thousand colors and speaking a hundred languages. That you can come to the US and, if you choose, still find a neighborhood of people who look like you and talk like you is also a good thing.↩