The intensive rates of immigration to the USA influence the country’s national, economic, and cultural identity. The public’s attitude to the phenomenon of immigration often depends on the people’s visions of the racial and ethnic issues. In his work The Death of the West, Patrick Buchanan discusses immigration as the main threat for preserving the Americans’ nation and their national identity. The author’s considerations are rather strict in relation to the impact of races and ethnicities on the development of the USA as a “melting pot”. Although Buchanan argues that the increasing rates of immigration along with the decreasing birth rates within the country are the real threats for the US national development and cultural identity, the author cannot be discussed as a racist in relation to his visions because he concentrates on the effects of immigration as a social phenomenon, but not on the racial issues directly.
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Thus, Buchanan’s arguments focus on the effects of the uncontrolled immigration on the country’s “composition”, and the notion of the cultural and national “exclusion” should be taken into consideration (“America Is Breaking into Enclaves”). In his book, Buchanan states that the uncontrolled immigration processes can destroy the Americans’ nation and convert it “into a conglomeration of peoples with almost nothing in common – not history, heroes, language, culture, faith, or ancestors” (Buchanan 3). That is why, it is possible to speak about the risks of losing the definite national identity which is significant for the population of any country that is why this issue is typical for many multinational states. On the contrary, Jay Severin speaks about the issue of immigration from the racial perspective, and he is inclined to demonstrate his position which can be discussed as racist because he calls the Mexican immigrants “primitives” and “leeches” (“The Most Racist Comments about Mexicans”).
However, Buchanan’s fears and Severin’s statements can be considered as the results of the historical and social processes connected with the issues of the racial discrimination. Immigrants were traditionally perceived by the Americans as the representatives of the lower classes because immigrants leaved their countries in search of a better life. According to Goza, if the Latin America’s economic problems remain unresolved, more people from all the socio-economic backgrounds will continue “to take the risks necessary to enter either the United States or Canada as they seek a means of enhancing their life chances and those of their families” (Goza 151). Thus, the fears that the national identity and stability can be affected by the immigration processes make people divide the population into races.
Muret stresses that this fear was a significant element of the “anti-immigration law, which the American people accepted in 1924 with evident satisfaction” (Muret 226). Moreover, the analysts should not ignore the historical “blueprint of forced segregative practices of the early 1900s” (Menchaca and Valencia 243). All these approaches and practices which can be considered as rather racist in their nature reflect the Americans’ fears that the immigrants can influence their life and country’s development significantly.
Today, the situation remains unchanged. According to Tyner, the fear of “racial and societal degeneration” has not disappeared, and the Western nations experience a “disturbing resurgence of nativistic attitudes and discriminatory legislation” (Tyner 70). Thus, the issue of the negative attitude to immigration based on the racial question remains unsolved and still urgent.
Patrick Buchanan’s fears and considerations related to the problem of immigration can be discussed as rather controversial, but they are not racist according to the general understanding of this notion. The author’s viewpoints are the reflection of the years’ of the Americans’ attitude to the problem which today is still as problematic as many years ago.
Buchanan, Patrick. The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. USA: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002. Print.
Goza, Franklin. “Brazilian Immigration to North America”. International Migration Review 28.1 (1994): 136-152. Print.
Menchaca, Martha, and Richard Valencia. “Anglo-Saxon Ideologies in the 1920s-1930s: The Impact on the Segregation of Mexican Students in California”. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 21.3 (1990): 222-249. Print.
Muret, Maurice. The Twilight of the White Races. USA: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1926. Print.
Pat Buchanan: “America is Breaking into Enclaves”. 2010. Web.
Tyner, James. “The Geopolitics of Eugenics and the Exclusion of Philippine Immigrants from the United States”. The Geographical Review 89.1 (1999): 54-73. Print.