Monday, December 28, 2009

Can We Have More Immigrants, Please?

The Christmas Day proved to me once again that some areas of this country are in desperate need of immigrants.

As people who do not celebrate Christmas (for cultural, non-religious reasons), we were looking for ways to entertain ourselves on December 25. So we decided to go to the movies. I had been looking forward to the opening night of Sherlock Holmes with the extremely talented Robert Downey Jr. for a while. But even though we arrived at the movie theater half an hour in advance, we discovered it packed and our show sold out.

The reason for this sudden popularity of cinematographic art became very clear soon enough. Since we could not see a movie, we decided to go to a reastaurant or to a bar and discovered that absolutely every single place in our town was closed. Except, thankfully, the gas station.

Now, if this area were more ethnically diverse, we would have local businesses run by people who do not celebrate Christmas and hence do no close down on December 24 and 25. We could go to a Russian bakery, a Jewish deli, a Muslim restaurant and have ourselves a merry little something.

Immigrants bring a variety of customs and traditions with them and consequently allow the locals to have more choices in their own lives. Those who keep screeching against the advent of immigrants do not realize that they are robbing themselves of choices, expeiences, opportunities. Uniformity always tends towards the mediocre. After experiencing the results of the sore lack of diversity in Southern Illinois, I can say that this area is in desperate need of some people who are different.


NancyP said...

People live in or move to the Illinois side suburbs of St. Louis to get away from "diversity".

You may need to get a car or motorbike to get into St. Louis itself, which has more diverse economically viable areas. There's some kosher delis and restaurants, many Vietnamese and Thai restaurants, "Chinese" (both the reasonably authentic and the American styles, as interpreted by restauranteurs looking to sell familiar food to unadventurous types).

Valentin David said...

This is interesting. I live in Norway. And this country has a state religion: Lutheranism. They closed the shop from the 24th at noon, and they did not open until the 28th. I can tell you when you are out of toilet paper on the 24th, you feel the problem.
Of course there are exotic food shops held by foreigners that are opened. But if you want pork, there is no way. But there is also a law. Even though all your employees are not Christian, you cannot open during those days if you have more than 100m2 of surface.
While I think it is very important to have rules to protect the employees, I think it is problematic that it is considering a religion. For instance, in France, Nicolas Sarkozy recently canceled one religious holiday. I hate Nicolas Sarkozy, he is worse than any of your Bush. But I did not understand why the worker's unions where fighting to keep that day off. They could have been better negotiating half a day off, but chosen, against this fix day off, which would have been fair to non Christians (33% of atheists, 8% of Muslims, 1% of Jews), and still enhance the economy for half a day (what the government wanted) and get tax out of it.
Personally, I do not know why people all have a huge international-wide party in the same time.

Clarissa said...

Thank you for your input, Valentin David! Norway is the country I want to visit most of all in the world.

V said...

Sorry for the off-topic, but I did not like Sherlock Holmes at all. I recommend Avatar though...

Clarissa said...

Avatar doesn't sound at all like my kind of movie. I hade graphics and special effects!

Would you say there was a lot of homoeroticism in Sherlock Holmes? I'd wach it just for that.

V said...

I do not know, maybe there was a little, but it is hard to find. Watson is engaged (not to Holmes :) ), and Holmes is in love with a beautiful female criminal. What upsets me about that Holmes movie is that they made a *very* action movie out of it - very far departure from Russian or British versions I've seen before.
In that sense, it is not any better than Avatar. The latter definitely has more meaning (it is somewhat predictable, but so is Holmes), and special effects, although abundant, are not the end in themselves. I would suspect that you will either love it or hate it. :)

Joy-Mari Cloete said...

I get what you're saying but it sounds as though you're fetishizing immigrants. What about immigrants who're also Christian?

Would it not be better to long for a mall that doesn't close on Christmas?

There are some good points in your post about choices but is it only immigrants who can offer more choice? Sort of like the 'Magic Negro' or 'Feisty black girlfriend' whose the only one in the drama/comedy who can help the white protagonist.

But I do agree that diversity is good. We've experienced it here in South Africa once -- District 6 before its end -- and I'm sure we'll experience it again.