I had a thought today related to an argument that I have often seen against hysteria around Muslim immigrants. Here is Lainie Anderson giving an example:
Australia has a bogeyman. His face changes every few decades: once he was Russian, then he was Asian.
Right now he’s Muslim, probably a queue jumper with bags of cash to pay people smugglers, but definitely a new arrival.
The argument is that the previous waves of migrants (Irish, Italians, Jews, Asians) were all subjects of some kind of hysteria too and they turned out ok, so we should give the Muslims the benefit of the doubt because they will also turn out ok.
What if that is missing a part of the picture? It could be that these groups are now “ok” (read: assimilated into Australia) not in spite of this widespread fear and suspicion, but because of it.
What if the demands from the public to “prove” that they were “really Australian” compelled the community to accept Australian culture and expedited the assimilation process, so that they could put the fear to bed?
Is this whole process a method that our society has developed for self-correcting when a group arrives with clashing values?
I’m not convinced, but it seems like an interesting idea. I would welcome any thoughts one way or the other.
Note: I am aware of how offensive this may sound to some people, so I probably need to disclaim that it is just a thought exercise and does not reflect any opinion that I hold.