Few days ago, Andrew Sullivan, a conservative British born American author and blogger, lamented in a TV interview that Britain will have about 600,000 new immigrants in 2017 and British identity is being lost. He further complained that we are losing American Identity. I was hoping the host, Chuck Todd, will ask “what is American Identity?”. But unfortunately he did not. What is American Identity? I have hard time defining it myself. Is being ‘white’ first requirement to fit into American identity? Mr. Andrew Sullivan himself immigrated from Britain, but he has no problem in claiming American identity, but on what basis?
There is similar hot discussion in Germany and other western countries about losing identity of their respective country due to immigrants, but no one is clear about what this identity mean?
Anna Sauerbery, a German journalist, wrote an article in NYT on losing German culture and identity. Muslims are the main focus in such discussion. She writes;
“Germany should finally do away with its “neutrality laws” and allow judges and teachers to wear head scarves. Germany should accept that putting your hand on your heart can be as much a gesture of respect as a handshake. Germany will have to accept that respecting the law is enough. Germans will have to accept habits and thoughts that are unfamiliar or even disturbing. Not because we accept them, but because we probably won’t change them.
In accepting pluralism, we will truly live up to our constitutional values. A guiding national culture that grants room for dissent and deviation within the boundaries of the law would be strong and convincing — to the newly arrived and the dog-tired. It is the German lack of liberalism, not mashed potatoes with spinach and eggs, that constitutes our Piefigkeit.”
In my opinion ‘American Identity’ is to be faithful and loyal to country above everything else, follow its laws and fulfill civic responsibilities. Everything else falls into personal matters. Same is true about British, German or any other western country who claim to be liberal democratic country.