Racism + Immigration
Let’s Talk About ‘Assimilation’
Assimilation is a tool of white supremacy which oftentimes uses non-white people to promote white power structures
The idea of assimilation in the United States dates back to the mid-eighteenth century. At the time Benjamin Franklin and others were alarmed about the growth of the German population in Pennsylvania. In an effort to “anglicize” or “anglify” the Germans, Franklin partnered with William Smith and founded the Society for Christian Knowledge.
The term “assimilation” has been used throughout US history to describe non-white people who conform to the predefined and well-established white ethnostate. Franklin used the term to describe his fears of the “Germanization” of Pennsylvania if German-speaking immigrants didn’t assimilate into anglo society.
Sounds like today’s xenophobes, doesn’t it?
In a letter to Peter Collinson, Franklin wrote: “Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation, and as Ignorance is often attended with Credulity when Knavery would mislead it, and with Suspicion when Honesty would set it right.”
“In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious,” Franklin continued.
While much of the xenophobic language and ideas Franklin used prior to the Revolutionary War live on today, we can’t deny that assimilation is what white power structures seek. It’s not about assimilating in a “melting pot” — which would mean an amalgamation and acceptance of myriad cultures residing in the US. Instead, for the ethnic nationalist, non-white people must accept white supremacy as it is. Further, they require non-white people to protect the ideology.
As Benjamin Franklin noted to Collinson, assimilation was crucial. Franklin advocated for breaking up German-speaking communities: “Yet I am not for refusing entirely to admit them into our Colonies: all that seems to be necessary is, to distribute…