So what constitutes patriotic assimilation? First of all, if our democracy is going to work, Americans must be able to communicate with each other.
A common language is essential for the health of our constitutional republic and civic life. For historical reasons, English has been that common language and we should make it our official language. Encouraging newcomers to learn English benefits immigrants by allowing them to climb the economic ladder and integrate into the larger society. Policies that segregate youngsters who speak a foreign language do them a great disservice. Instead, our priority should be to teach them English quickly and move them into the educational mainstream.
Second, we should reject policies that deepen ethnic and cultural divisions, classifying Americans by artificial, bureaucratically-created groups that government officials then use to award preferences in hiring, contracting, and college admissions. Past discrimination of racial and ethnic minorities in America was shameful. But contemporary “identity politics” and politically correct ethnic and racial discrimination that favors some groups over others is similarly divisive and wrong.
Third, our schools should teach the full story of America.
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