A way to be American (in the spirit of the season)

Quoted at The Dish:

Three generations’ worth of Indian immigrants and their progeny would decorate a tree, wrap and exchange gifts, and even sing overtly religious songs like “Oh Holy Night.”  They were Hindus.  Not only weren’t they Christian, a number of them didn’t even really know all that much about Christian theology.  Yet there they were, not only “doing” Christmas, and not being threatened by it at all.  Hell, they were enjoying it as much as the next guy. …

Because in a nation where citizenship is based on a political ideal instead of an ethnicity, and where where national ethnicity itself, “American-ness,” is an incredibly dynamic and flexible thing, celebrating the secular, pop-culture version of Christmas is a fast track to actually being accepted.  It’s a harmless (though potentially expensive) form of assimilation. That’s what my Gujarati friends understood. Celebrating the birth of Christ is a way to be Christian.  But decorating a tree, eating gingerbread cookies, exchanging gifts, and even singing “Fa La La,” is a way to be American.


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