Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Perspectives on Immigration

David Brooks writes today that the culture clash on immigration is less Republican vs. Democrat, more college educated vs. not, if it is anything in particular.

I thought of a recent New Yorker article, on college attendance as an adult version of the first childhood sleepover. Everything at your friend's house is foreign, uncomfortable, and scary. For many of us, college is a time of much personal growth through exposure to the unfamiliar.

To be sure, real differences exist between people, and it would be wrong to suggest that getting along is just an issue of exposure and understanding. The Dutch experience with immigration in recent years is a good example of how tolerance and understanding alone can sometimes be insufficient under certain circumstances --- namely when immigrant groups may not be so tolerant themselves.

While obtaining a college education may not necessarily convey an open, tolerant perspective on immigration, at least it might.