Aberdeen Paper Runs Another Attack on Immigrants; Kids Keep Studying

Gary Famias, Aberdeen
Gary Famias, Aberdeen

The Borg write a letter to the editor in my morning paper, declaring that “Immigrants Must Assimilate.”

Actually, the writer is Aberdeen retiree Gary Famias, whose last appearance in the Aberdeen American News was for a fracas at the library. Famias’s first line reads, “How are these uneducated immigrants enriching our communities?”

…at which unsupported hasty generalization I feel I can probably stop reading, since I’ve probably  But I do read on… through Famias’s uninformed assertion that immigrants are “trying to force their culture on us” (who? where? how?), through his miseducated Novstrupian invocation of Dearborn, Michigan (ah, the xenophobiac code!), through his bashing of the Catholic sisters who help immigrants, and on from Famias’s racism-soiled page 5 to the milder page 8, which shows the March students of the month at Simmons Middle School:

Aberdeen American News, 2017.04.18, p. 8A.
Aberdeen American News, 2017.04.18, p. 8A.

We are all immigrants, but some of those kids’ names look like they come from later waves of immigrants than my German forebears.

And there they are, students of the month. These educated immigrants appear to be doing plenty to enrich their school and our community. Keep up the good work, kids, and don’t let uneducated immigrants like Famias get you down.

13 Responses to Aberdeen Paper Runs Another Attack on Immigrants; Kids Keep Studying

  1. Too many of these folks in SD. Get a life!

  2. There you go again, Loren, trying to force your culture of decency and respect on other people. ;-)

  3. Roger Cornelius

    From what I’ve read about the history of immigrants entering this country there is one consistency, usually the first generation immigrants struggled to hold onto their culture and traditions while the second and third generation found assimilation much more easier. Assimilation is a natural slow process that is accomplished over time and generations.
    As for the letter writer that wants Muslims to assimilate, he doesn’t define exactly what he wants them to become, does he want them to become as hateful as he is? Does he have a perverted value system that puts us all into one of his categories?
    The letter writer emphatically insist that Muslims must assimilate without consideration that assimilation can’t be forced, if it could be we would all end up being just like him.

  4. Good point about the long transition, Roger!

    Dakota Freie Presse published in German for eighty years, until 1954.

    Indeed, it would be interested to ask Famias exactly what action he would take to force assimilation. Just how would he enforce the conformity he seeks? And how much conformity does he want?

  5. Clara Hart

    Mr. Gary Famias needs some attention or is trying to sound relevant. Does he not know that in this age we do no use the term “Assimilate”? Assimilation is a way of erasing one’s culture and get forced to do everything that the majority requires. Is Famias German or What? I would like to sit down with him and his buddy Al Novstrup.. What are they afraid of?

  6. bearcreekbat

    If assimilation means our government must make people behave and believe in the same ways as the majority behaves and believes, would that mean the government needs to obtain data about our beliefs and daily activities, such as eating meals, using the bathroom, watching TV, etc, etc, etc, to learn exactly how the majority believes and behaves so we can enforce assimilation accurately?

    But what if their are pluralities, but no majorities, then how do we determine how people must behave?

  7. mike from iowa

    Famias is even worse than German. I think it is cyborg-

    Frequency Analysis and Mode Identification for Asteroseismology

    Something something astrophysics.

  8. Excellent question, Bear. Famias’s letter assumes his white majority privilege, which may not end within his lifetime nationwide, but will end within this century. Then who assimilates whom?

  9. happy camper

    To what extent is Islam, the belief system most of the immigrants bring to the country, problematic? There is a place in this debate of complete ignorance, but another more difficult line where Ex-Muslims shine the light on the notion there are no problems.

    They know their lives and what they’ve been through as a result of this dogmatic religion, which has successfully become a theocracy or near theocracy in places around the world that were once much more liberal.

    Their stories are worth learning and giving consideration. They’re knowledgeable and the ones directly impacted and craving progress even more than you!


  10. happy camper

    And forgot to say, many Ex-Muslims or those wanting reform say your appeasing positions are not helping. You should be their ally not their enemy.

  11. Hap, again, I defend no dogma, neither the dogma of Famias, who seems to think he can impose his religion on everyone who comes here and exclude all those who won’t convert, nor the dogma of any Muslims who may be coming here thinking they will force their religion on all of us.

    Of course, we have Famias on paper declaring such a dogma. I have not seen evidence of Muslims coming here doing the same. If they are, then our best bulwark is not Famias’s assimilationism but a firm defense of pluralistic secular democracy that keeps people from privileging their religion with public policy and the force of the state.

  12. happy camper

    Then you should open yourself up more to how Ex-Muslims (and reformers) say, cause there are people like Yasmine Mohammed who describe their forced fundamentalist life in Canada. I may post some of their perspectives as I read and learn more about them, but a common thing I’ve heard them say is liberals attacking anyone who criticizes Islam has made it harder for them to speak out to initiate change. The documentation is out there. A physician in Detroit was just charged with doing Female Genital Mutilation.

    This passage is from an interview with Sarah Haider is the Director of Development for Ex-Muslims of North America.

    MM: One of the most disappointing phenomenons I’ve seen in the western world is that individuals who call themselves “liberals” usually bury their heads in the sand when it comes to discussing the human rights violations in Islamic countries because they’re unable to see past the idea that “criticizing brown people is racist.” To me this has effectively opened up a vacuum where those on the far and extreme-right are taking control of this conversation in often bigoted ways. How do we make this conversation less taboo?

    SH: When I started looking into the problems we have with discussing Islam, I found that there was a difficulty in getting past the idea that criticizing brown people is inherently racist. People are very quick to throw around labels like “bigot” or to promote the idea that you are actually a hateful person by virtue of holding controversial opinions. That’s a broader problem within our culture — we use social shame as a mechanism to control people.

    There’s a large group of people who have negative feelings about The Religion of Peace and there’s no way to approach that topic in a “polite and educated society.” The worst part about it is those who are the most compassionate and nuanced — the liberals — who are the most effectively silenced by the label of bigot or “Islamophobe.” They don’t want to accidentally contribute to a dangerous atmosphere for Muslims, so they stay out of it. Those are the people who should not be silent, their voices are needed the most.

    Those who are actually bigots are going to keep saying what they want because the label is not a deterrent to them to the same degree it is for compassionate liberals. So we have these two sides — the actual bigots and Muslims — which are extremely polarized in their views, and there is no real discussion by those in between.


    This Q&A with Ex-Muslims Faisal AlMutar and Yasmine Mohammed is very interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reMUmzO71XE&t=4s

  13. mike from iowa

    When I first saw Famias photo I immediately thought it looks like George Gordon Battle Liddy of Watergate shame. You remember the punk that Carter pardoned but he wasn’t really grateful.