Friday, November 03, 2006

Noticing Change (re: Immigration)

While catching up on my newspaper reading I saw a piece saying that 1/3 of the population of Montgomery and Fairfax counties live in households where the first language is not English.

It's strange how "gradual" change comes not to be noticed. You have to get outside the frame to identify it. I spent the last week in Tompkins county, NY (Ithaca). What was very noticeable were the people who were maids in hotels, workers on construction, etc. They were almost all white (and presumably native-born Protestants). It seemed strange and not in the "natural order", as I've become used to Fairfax county where those jobs are filled by immigrants, especially Hispanics. It's a reminder that while the material culture of the country has become more uniform (witness the same chains of stores and hotels everywhere, the same cable TV channels), the people culture is not.

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