Inclusion is Key

Neha Mukherjee, the editor for smerconish.com, is a rising sophomore at Brown University. She is a Pre-Medical student concentrating in Political Science and has a profound interest in journalism. A recent graduate of the Episcopal Academy, she was born and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Neha Mukherjee, the editor for smerconish.com, is a rising sophomore at Brown University. She is a Pre-Medical student concentrating in Political Science and has a profound interest in journalism. A recent graduate of the Episcopal Academy, she was born and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Some see immigration as the “hot topic” of the week. Don’t get me wrong: It is. Between the President’s tweets directed at the “Squad” that were drenched in racism and prejudice to stories of cruel treatment at the southern border, headlines have been plastered with coverage of the issue. 

But immigration is not just this week’s chosen discussion topic. It is also the foundation of our nation.  This is why comments like “go back” are not only hurtful, but go against the principles of America. Aren’t we known as the “melting pot,” a land of immigrants? Maybe, this is a distinction that we do not deserve. 

To be more precise, I am not denying that America is a melting pot. Our nation implements customs and traditions from around the globe into our daily lives. But are we a land that truly accepts immigrants? Do we treat people that come here from other countries as our own?

There is a difference between adopting someone’s customs and accepting them as a person.  

For example, 36.7 million Americans participate in yoga, a practice that originated in India. But, there were 300 cases of discrimination and violence against Sikhs in the month following 9/11. 

Similarly, 52% of Americans listen to music in Spanish, and more and more artists are incorporating Spanish music into their recent albums. But, Mexico is accused of bringing rapists, crime, and drugs into the US. 

What about Karate? 3.24 million Americans participate in this form of Martial Arts, which is said to have origins in Okinawa, Japan. Yet, there has long existed Anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States since Pearl Harbor. 

And then there is Hummus. In 2016, US Hummus sales reached about $725 million. But, Executive order 13769, colloquially known as “Trump’s Travel Ban,” set restrictions on immigrantion from many countries - predominantly Muslim nations situated in the Levant, the same region that is responsible for the origin of the delicious chickpea-based dip. 

And the list of international contributions to American life is endless - including blue jeans and the birth control pill. Even Democracy was not an American invention. 

America is a better nation for implementing ideas from immigrants and promoting the cultural exchange of customs; this diversity of thought makes us strong. But we would be stronger if we also included immigrants themselves in our country. We would promote societal progression if people, regardless of skin color, were comfortable living in the US. We would be a model nation, truly a “melting pot” and land of immigrants, if we accepted all people free of discrimination. 

We need inclusion of people, not just ideas. How can we take and take, but also deny people a home here?