With all of the discussion about international people coming from their home country to live in the United States, many people have discussed whether these people should accommodate to American standards.
The answer is both yes and no.
While learning the common language is certainly a necessity when traveling to any country, and there are other differential factors to the society at hand, no one should feel pressured to change their identity completely.
For America, we should be the less intimidating. The U.S. has been referred to as the melting pot of the world for a reason. We began as a composition of several different cultures and ethnicities, even if most of them were of western societies. Since the nation’s growth, more variety has influenced this nation’s common features, from Italian to Spanish, from Irish to Chinese.
America is the land of the free, a place where anyone from anywhere can come to begin a new life, whether that starts in education, work or simply just a new opportunity.
From a family whose cousins came to America for a better life in itself, I can only applaud these individuals for making it here.
When they moved here, my cousins knew very little English. My siblings and I would play charades with them to explain what we were trying to say among food, actions and feelings. It was always fun, because in the end, they would know more English than they began with, and it was inspiring to see them grow as individuals in America.
The only aspect that ever bothers me still is their change in names. I don’t mean their birth names; I mean the names my family and I came up with to replace their ethnic name. At the time, I didn’t think any different of it, but now I regret not complimenting them on the beautiful names their mothers had given them.
My cousin, Kinh dat Trinh, goes by Kelly now. She said it’s just easier to pronounce than her real name. It does seem like a convenient tool to curb the confusion and repeated pronunciation, but then again, why should anyone feel like they need to change who they are to convenience another?
I can only attribute this feeling to change her name to the ignorant American standard that people who come here should be “American.”
It’s hypocritical, and quite frankly disgusting, for American citizens to assume and sometimes denounce those who haven’t assimilated into western standards. It’s not up to anyone to decide what’s American and what isn’t. Despite what the president and white nationalists have to say, one of the better traits of the U.S. is its blend of ethnicities and culture.
America is a brand of excellence, and true patriotism would welcome anyone with open arms to join the ranks of the American ideology — to live, grow and prosper as equals — just as they are, true to the core and true to themselves.