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From the UK, John Heelan comments that the idealized picture of Mexico among chicanos has many parallels: "As second and third generation immigrants often seem to regard their "mother country" through rose-coloured spectacles, is not the "chicano problem" another manifestation of this syndrome?
From an English perspective, I noted a similar tendency in many Irish-Americans I met in New England over the years of the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland; being a Brit in Boston or Merrymack on St. Patrick's Day was a hazardous experience. I found that the majority of those avid supporters of NORAID that I met had never been to Ireland nor knew nothing of the politics of the situation other than that expounded daily by local "Irish" radio stations on the US mainland that played heavily on their nationalist emotions. I was in Boston on the day that Bobby Sands (the IRA hunger-striker) died and recall listening to one such US radio programme in which a caller suggested that any Brits met in the States should be killed in revenge. (The caller admitted that he had never visited Ireland nor had any direct family living there.)
We meet similar rose-coloured views in the immigrant communities resident in the UK, such as Pakistanis, Indians, Sri Lankans, Afro-Caribbeans and so on. It seems that time and distance weaken the bad memories of their "mother countries" and strengthens the, often mythical, good points of their families' original homelands. However, given the choice, most would not choose to return to their birthplace (or more often the birthplace of their parents/grandparents), yet they are vociferous in defending the honour of that country.
Similar tendencies are found in ex-pat British communities, especially in Andalucia, which Dr. Karen O'Reilly's (University of Aberdeen) PhD thesis explores in detail. [The British on the Costa del Sol- Trasnational identities and Local Communities (2000) ISBN 1-84142-048-4]
As the current US population is composed of the descendants of immigrants of all colours, is not the interplay of their 'transnational identities and their local communities' amplified and thus likely to get worse in the future as the ethnic communities increase in size.?"
John is quite right. Multiculturalism is a form of pathology. As for the American Irish, we have often pointed out that their vision of Ireland is fanciful and their support of IRA terrorists criminal. Fortunately, most manifestations of this phenomenon are harmless. In France I once lived with a family which had immigrated from Italy. They constantly complained about France and asserted that things were much better in Italy, but it was just silly talk.
Ronald Hilton - 09.29.03