Thank you for sharing, I was able to read both the article and your response, and I absolutely admire your grandfather’s story.
I am actually not a fan of assimilation for many reasons, and I’ll explain why. Surface assimilation is, in fact, necessary to survive in any society: understanding the customs, language and expectations from one nation to the next. But full-blown assimilation will always result in one single and tragic effect: stripping minorities of their culture, heritage, pride and identity.
Assimilation literally means to “absorb” another culture or group of people. Integration has already shown us that there are both pros and cons, and while I enjoy a society where people of all cultures associate, integration often results in assimilation, and in America (where “white” is the dominant culture and “white” brings with it many prejudices and bigotry), this is nothing but damaging to the psyche and future of a minority culture.
We might all get along better at work or in the neighborhood, but you only end up with broken people who unknowingly “act white” and prejudiced white people who feel better about their environment because everyone is kowtowing to their lifestyle and giving them a false sense of integration.
Some form of racism, prejudice, whatever you want to call it is literally hidden everywhere in this country, from the founding of the Constitution to the latest racially-motivated headline. It would be absolutely tragic to ask minority groups to assimilate to that. (And when I say minority, although it’s ethnic people I mean minority in every since. If it were the other way around and white people were the minority it would be equally wrong–their culture should not be stripped from them either).
Assimilation, tolerance, diversity, all these words we throw around don’t help. Inclusion is the only thing that would change our society and that can’t be achieved without a spiritual shift in people. You can’t legislate or reason it out when people have been spoon-fed some form of racism or xenophobia all their lives.