Emigrants Who Refuse to be Assimilated

One of the delights of growing up in New York and going to school in Pittsburg was access to a number of authentic ethnic enclaves. Little communities that hadn’t melted into the gruel of american culture, and which, better yet, had prospered. Boston, where I now live, has some ethnic enclaves too: Chinatown, the North End, etc. Of course, our most largest segregated community is black and poor. Most people though think of Boston as the home of those smaller segregated communities, those where we house displaced populations of high school students. We keep the first segregated with the shape of the public transportation system. The second problem is kept in control by carefully walling them off in the universities.

Emegrants into a new land always try to reproduce their native homeland. I’ve read that the Spanish methodically leveled the tropical ecology in Mexico until they had reproduced the arid plains of Spain. At regular intervals some new emigrant to my town opens a small grocery store selling an assortement of foods identical that of an analagous store back in his homeland. A trunk from New York or Montreal visits once a weak so he can restock. I love these stores, but sadly they are apparently incompatible with the local social and economic climate and six to eighteen months later they close down. If we are lucky they evolve quickly into something else.

But really! I am rolling on the floor laughing to see what the lawyers at the Berkman center did when they got off the boat on the shores of the new virtual world!

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