Nor is there magic in the legal assumption of citizenship. It is the man behind the papers that counts. If anything, we have made citizenship too easy a privilege in the past.
Now, all this is said not to suggest that there is no room or need for special consideration of the Americanization problem by groups of public minded citizens. It is not intended to suggest that Americanization may not properly be made the subject of considerable propaganda. This comment has indulged in rather severe and unqualified strictures upon the Americanization “drive” in the hope of capturing attention for three manifest dangers that may prove the undoing of the real Americanization work that cries aloud for administration. These three dangers are; first, the danger of making the Americanization movement so plainly a conventional uplift movement that the foreigner will resent what he might, with a more tactful approach, request; second, the danger that, by thinking of Americanization as something needed by the foreigner alone, we shall miss the opportunity of making Americanization a vast national effort of self-education in the nature and application of the principles of liberty justice, and equality of opportunity that, theoretically at least, comprise the American idea; and third, the danger that the propagandist’s passion for simple solutions will further postpone the day of a broad and well-balanced program of national development.
We do not want “Americanism” to degenerate into a mere “protective coloration” for politicians who want to hide their reaction and their lack of ideas.
By Rev. D. P. Tighe, “Detroit News,” Aug. 23, 1919.
There are two methods of Americanizing the immigrant, says Fr. D. P. Tighe in the August number of the Catholic Light. One of them is revolutionary, the other evolutionary. To Americanize means to take the immigrant and remake him. Teaching him to write and speak the language of the country is a mere detail of the process. One cannot be awake to the industrial and social needs of the country without co-operating in every movement calculated to discourage the diversity of language, and to give to the foreigner every facility for the quick and easy mastery of English. But Americanization is a different proposition. Trotzky, when he lived in East New York, could speak and write English fluently, but he was not an American. He had neither understanding of, nor sympathy with American institutions; and, so, instead of setting himself to remedy the abuses in our industrial and political life as a good American citizen would remedy them he became an anarchist and envisioned to himself a millennium of destruction that involved the good as well as the evil.