Communities – American style

There has been a lot of talk recently about community. More that one person has done a blog about it or brought it up in comments on this site or another. Also a good deal of comparisons with other countries. Sweden, Finland, France, German etc.  All very well and good.

Unfortunately the spirit of community here in this country has been difficult to achieve from the get go. Unlike the European and Scandinavian and other countries that have been made up of people of the same race and cultures for hundreds and thousands of years,  this country has been from the very first been made up of a mixture of people from vastly different cultures, races, religious and economic backgrounds.  Most by choice but also more than a few forcibly take as slaves or coerced to come over to do manual work but then rejected.  More often than not all of these peoples would settle with those of like kind and were less than accepting of those who were not.  Racism, religious and economic and cultural bigotry have been with this country from the very beginning. Blacks and Asians were brought over here to do the white mans bidding but not permitted to engage in the same life styles as the whites. Prevented from voting,  holding all but the most menial jobs and living where they chose.  Up until the mid 20th century labor unions were very racist. And corporations were know to use racial divides to prevent strikes or unionizing all together. Making working class whites very resentful of black and other minorities.  This has changed significantly where minorities make up a large portion of the union membership. Is it any wonder the upper class whites now resent unions even more than ever ?

These racial and cultural divides have in most cases lessened but in a lot of cases grown even wider. Especially along economic grounds where the upper classes segregated themselves from all others.  Add to that the disparity along educational and religious lines that were not as prevalent 50 years or so ago.  All the while more and different people from other counties and cutures have continued to immigrate here and making more than a few of the current inhabitants very upset indeed.

Now if you ask different people what they picture as a community, it will be vastly different depending on who you ask. Because their experience is vastly different depending on where they grew up, their family culture, their religion and even their ethnic background.  Add to that a tendency for those of the same background to want to associate with those they feel most comfortable with. Germany has found this out after attempting for years to assimilate it’s ethnic minorities into German culture.  And getting criticism from outside sources as to their method.

We still have areas of this country made up of one particular culture and/or ethnic group by their own choosing. And if you were to ask a tea party white, this would be a community that is all white with no other ethnics around.

So the idea of community as put forth by the Naples Italy blog that Dick Day just posted a while ago is very nice and idealistic but not likely to happen all that often in this country even now.

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One thought on “Communities – American style

  1. Oh I tend to agree with your conclusions.

    There is de facto segregation based upon choice in the sense that the less money you have, the less choices you have.

    There is de facto segregation based upon choice in the sense that ‘like’ people like to stick with their own.

    From the beginning of immigration into this country in the 17th century, religious factions would set up their own communities; their own towns. One faith would control the village.

    Cities became more ‘sectarian’ but the neighborhoods were controlled by race and religion besides country of origin.

    Naples as a community is thousands of years old; a Greek/Italian city state.

    The best we can ever do in this country is to use community organizers to build coalitions.

    It is a different world.

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