Monday, August 29, 2016

Penny for Her Thoughts: In praise of immigrants

And we’re all immigrants

By Penelope Griffiths

I come from five generations of publicans [persons who own or manage a pub], midwives, and Tarot card readers. I can trace my ancestry on my father’s side as far back as the 13th Century and on my mother’s side to the 14th Century. Why am I writing this? Because having watched the ballyhoo and racist rants from Donald Trump, I feel it’s time for people to know, we are all immigrants!
    There, I’ve said it! No one has forever lived in the same town or country, or even on the same continent (or possibly the same planet – if certain theorists are proved right!). If we all had DNA testing, we would probably discover that we all have multiple races in our DNA.
    As I said, I can trace my family back hundreds of years, and I was not surprised to find roots from all over the world. Instead of condemning people for immigrating to other continents, we should be embracing them. They bring new DNA, culture, ideas – all of which has enabled the human race to continue progressing and growing.
    But therein lies the rub. With all these different cultures, beliefs, and ideas, there will always be a “bad’un” who is bigger and badder than the rest. Just because we are now “civilized” doesn’t change that horror, as seen with some of the most heinous dictators and villains throughout history, from Atilla the Hun to modern-day Hitler and even a faux Presidential candidate like Donald Trump.
    Some of the immigrants among us deny their good fortune in having landed in perhaps their final country, and go on to condemn new immigrants who want the same advantages in the world. Yes, there probably are some “bad’uns” trying to get into our countries with the “good’uns,” but how can we let the bad minority ruin the future of the good majority, who have much to offer us who are already here?

For example, if it weren’t for the immigrants, the health services in the United Kingdom – and I suspect in many other countries as well, including the United States – would, at worst, grind to a halt, or at least be very much diminished, not just in terms of numbers of health care workers, but also in the quality of care, which, sadly, the western world seems to have pulled away from, while the eastern world continues to care very much for its elderly, and its immigrants can transfer that positive trait to us.
    And what about the influx of immigrants into our IT [information technology] pool? It’s no secret that some of the best IT people are Asian or of Asian descent. The western world is not the end-all and be-all for talent; it has, throughout history, by fair means or foul, harnessed the talent it needed to progress.
    Not only do immigrants enrich other countries with their cultural diversity, but they also take the jobs that people who already live here don’t want – the menial, low-paid jobs. You know, the ones the “Caucasians” think they’re too good for: the domestic jobs, the serving jobs, etc. No job is too lowly for those who want to improve their lot, and if they can improve their offsprings’ future by doing the lowly jobs, then their future and that of their family is fulfilled and enriched, which in turn enriches the country.
    So embrace the immigrant! You never know what your DNA will show!

On a side note, getting back to my immigrant past. The countries where my roots once grew where as far away as Nepal, and all across Europe. With regards to the work lineage, well, I have run a tavern, I have practiced as a midwife, and I can read Tarot cards, but how far into the future I can see – well, the jury is still out on that one!

Copyright © 2016 by Penelope Griffiths


  1. i believe that diversity = strength...if the corn you grow is all only one genotype, if a disease strikes that one type, you are a goner. Its good to have lots of types :-)

  2. As so many do, you seem to ignore the difference between legal and illegal immigration, as well as immigrants.
    Why should the US be the only country in the world to allow unlimited illegal immigration? Your country doesn't. Why should ours? Please don't mistake this comment as support for Trump; just like your post, that would be to over-simplify.