Sunday, 9 August 2009

Patriotism and Identity

I've always felt that there was a lot of truth to the supposition that if you don't know who or where you come from, then you can't know (entirely) who you are. To that extent, if you don't know how you fit into your own environment, you can't identify with that culture, and once again, you don't know who you are. A result of misplaced patriotism, racism, and a lack of acceptance of multiculturalism, is the creation of a nation of people who don't know who they are. With each wave of immigration in the US, there has been a corresponding wave of discrimination, and therefore a lack of integration by each new culture into the existing one. America is, to some extent, a nation of teenagers trying to figure out who they are. Australia is quickly following suit.

As mentioned in my last post, I spent some time the other morning reading an article in The Australian Literary Review section of The Australian called Seizing the Sauce Bottle. Tim Soutphommasane speaks to the topic of progressivism in politics, and patriotism as an ideal that should be upheld not as a hindrance to change, but rather the opposite. Too often, we think of patriotism as something that is held as a conservative or racist value rooted in ignorance. As Tim states in his article:
"Loving your country does not mean adhering
to unquestioned myths or mindlessly repeating slogans
but being prepared to contribute to the improvement
of your community or culture."

It raises the questions, what can we, as immigrants, do to contribute, and how have our perspectives on patriotism changed in respect to our views on both oour home and new country, after the move.

1 comment:

A Free Man said...

I thought patriotism meant staying quiet while your country gets involved in pointless wars in the Middle East. Huh.