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.

  3. The truth be told Roger is that ALL countries have a plethora of unwanted illegal immigrants but consider the difference in size of the USA vs UK In the scheme of things we have just as many undetected illegals as the USA.
    Everyday people ( mainly men) are discovered from the African states, non EU countries, China and many other countries in Asia living/working in the UK.
    The saying "where there's a will there's a way" stands true, people want to escape their land to either better themselves or run away from someone or something.
    Wanting to protect your country is natural but wanting to stop people because of colour or religion etc is racist, bigotry at its worse.
    The USA and all countries need to take a good hard look at itself before judging others.
    It's not ignoring it's all about perspective and prioritising. There is more than enough issues with legal residents start there. Sort the gun laws out for a start to limit the number available People kill not guns!

  4. I replied on Morris' email when I should have here, but my point was that it seems folks ignore the real, solid reasons for controlling illegal immigration in America without considering their own country does the same thing, as well they should. That the only reason we might want to do so is racism, or that racism only occurs here, which is of course silly. In a way I saw your post as America-bashing, which is rather like beating up my little sister. I can beat her up if I want to; you however will have me to deal with should you try! We can bash her quite well from here thank you. Again, thanks for responding, without discussion we cannot have understanding.

  5. Roger, your second comment prompted me to re-read Penelope's original post, which is now fresh in my mind. I can assure you from my long acquaintance with Penelope, including many face-to-face conversations, that she wasn't bashing the U.S. And she certainly wasn't brushing off opposition to immigration (and immigrants) as essentially racist. She only mentioned racism at all in order to explain why she was writing about immigration (and immigrants) at the time she did – because Trump was ignoring everything good about it (and them) in an apparent attempt to enflame the American electorate.
        True, she focused on the positives and ignored the negatives, which could make some readers think she doesn't believe there are any negatives. She does not believe that. I have heard her explain the tremendous burden that immigrants (and even visitors who come for "free" medical procedures) place on the U.K.'s social-support systems. And, as she indicated in an earlier post, she voted for Brexit, which had a little something to do with immigration....
        No, Penelope wasn't bashing the U.S., or, at any rate, she is no less critical of her own U.K. – even more critical in some ways, preferring the way America does certain things. When it comes to guns, though, I am in complete agreement with her: we in the U.S. need to be a lot more like the U.K.!

    1. Thanks Morris, I will also make a point of reading Penelope's work to get a feel for where she stands. It is all too easy to misunderstand each other, particularly from a single comment.

  6. Interesting. And I do carry my own preconceived notions into any fray, one of which is many around the world seem to make a cottage industry of USA bashing. I shouldn't wonder, as belligerent, meddlesome and abusive as we can be; however, if there is a close second I would have to nominate the UK, who are often right on our heels with the bombing, agitating and self-interest pushing. I might have addad not only can we bash the US from here, but also that we do, indeed we do! I don't see Trump so much as a racist as a manipulative agitator who does not scruple at using racism-or anything else- to get what he wants. Almost scarier than a real ideologue are the people, Hitler for instance, who use issues as leverage, not because they necessarily believe in them but because others do.