Guhname mentions that it is hard for immigrants to psychologically move from their outsider status to the inside, and identify with the American old-stock majority. Guhname mentions the allure of the role of outsider and victim, a fact which is seldom addressed or analyzed, even though it plays a huge part in relations between the majority (whites) and minorities in America.
Someone who sees himself as an outsider also perceives himself as weak--the inside is where the power is. He naturally joins up with other self-perceived outsiders to play the role of David against Goliath. He is both insecure and morally superior at the same time. His stance is oppositional: he wants to tear down whatever it is that the giant wants to hold up. That role is a an alluring one, and the psychological payoff is large enough to keep its hold on a person, even after achieving economic success. The role is so appealing, the children of non-white immigrants are likely to adopt it, even though they were born here and may have enjoyed an easy life.''
In this context, the Virginia Tech killer, Cho Seung Hui, comes to mind. He was Korean-born, and he very definitely exemplified the outsider/victim mentality. The video he mailed to the media before his rampage expressed his hatred of American society.
People on the Right, by contrast, have no such insecurities: they belong here and they know it. The guys in suits are not your enemies: you're on the same team. But it is much easier to get to that place psychologically if you are white and Christian.''
The crucial part in that passage above is the part about the moral superiority which accrues to victims in our society. He says that there is a large psychological payoff for the outsider/victim, and this is undeniable. There is a psychological payoff in that victims and outsiders are seen as morally righteous and noble, and they are seen as somehow heroic by their mere existence, serving as walking testimony to the injustice and 'unfairness' of the present system, which these groups usually define as evil and immoral.
Outsiders and victims are celebrated by our maudlin mass culture, which tends to idealize exemplars of this status, which likes to write songs and poems and screenplays about the victims and martyrs of an 'uncaring world.' Outsiders, as never before, are hip. They are admired and glamorized. This goes even for self-destructive people who are primarily victims of themselves, people who are the authors of their own destruction and suffering, such as people who become hopeless drug addicts and alcoholics or criminals. Combine some kind of 'artistic' talent with this kind of 'victim' image, and you have a pop culture icon. Certain actors and rock stars come to mind.
Our culture is currently in a phase of obsessing on racial victimhood. And most immigrants today are non-white, so they automatically merit the victim/outsider status and all the benefits that status implies.
But the immigrants are poor, struggling, exploited people, someone says. They are also eligible for many benefits based on their instant victim status: affirmative action (although affirmative action was intended only for those who had been 'historically discriminated against', and immigrants have not), they are eligible for in-state tuition at many colleges, special scholarships, medical care with no questions asked, and they are put on a pedestal by our media. They are accorded a great deal of attention, much of it fawning, by those eager to prove their lack of bigotry. Surely this goes to one's head. If one came from an overcrowded country in which one was just another cipher among millions of others, to America where one becomes the focus of so much concern and solicitude, where one can march in the streets and demand privileges and services and be treated with deference, what does this do to one's sense of self-importance? It must lead to a kind of pride and inflated sense of importance. It must be an intoxicating thing, to loudly demand something of strangers and to have one's rude demands met with conciliation and appeasement.
There are definite and tangible benefits that accrue to those who have the coveted victim status. Victim groups, when catered to and appeased (as they always are in America nowadays) have a pretty good thing going. Why should they willingly drop their coveted status and content themselves to be 'insiders', just Americans like any other Americans, who have to sink or swim on their own merits? Why should they want to be just average, non-victim, insider Americans?
Victimhood is the preferred status these days. We have created a monster in venerating victims, even when the victimhood is real and undeserved (as it is in some cases). We do no favors to anyone when we treat them as children or as perpetually helpless and needy charity cases, or when we give in to their persistent demands for special treatment.
Guhname mentions that it is easy for white Americans, especially Christians, to feel like insiders, because they have a sense that they belong here. Maybe that is a sense that you can come by only as a result of being a descendant of many generations of Americans. Maybe it is more than just an intellectual or emotional thing, to feel that one belongs here. I am tempted to get a little mystical here and say that it's in the blood. I think we all know instinctively those who are connected to us by blood. It's some kind of bond that is not tangible or measurable but there is a kind of psychic/spiritual/physical sense of kinship. When I spent a great deal of time abroad, I became very keenly aware of the fact that Americans were my people, much as I liked the people in whose country I was sojourning. I had a sense of kinship to American strangers I encountered. Around this time, someone will be likely to protest that they feel no sense of kinship to their fellow Americans, and actually feel more at home with somebody from an ethnically and geographically distant group. Well, I can only say there are always exceptions which nonetheless don't invalidate the rule.
To be fair, though, I have known a few immigrants who were truly American in their identifications. On the other hand, they were of European origin, and they blended in well. They adapted well to our ways and our language. There was no sense of them vs. us. They became part of us, adopted into our family, and happily so.
Liberals would, in their tiresome way, blame the outsider-ness of many immigrants on 'racism'. If only white Americans were better indoctrinated into being 'inclusive' and 'tolerant', then no immigrant need ever feel an outsider. I don't buy this rationale. Most of the immigrants of today self-segregate, and prefer to be among their own kind. I also see a new arrogance and sense of entitlement that I don't remember in past eras among immigrants.
And can they be blamed for self-segregating? At one time, a more liberal time, in my life, I would have said: they should assimilate. Shame on them for preferring to stay among their own. But now I see their choice as natural and primal. Each to his own. The problem arises only when we mingle various peoples within a geographic space and order them to associate and adapt to each other. And how can this be reconciled with our supposed dedication to liberty and freedom in America? The right to freedom of association is an important one, and it's one that has been taken away from us for 40+ years, because of the enforced liberal ideas of 'equality'. As we've seen, equality and liberty cannot coexist, in many cases. Equality is not a normal state of things, and must be brought about by coercive means.
I see no reason to suppose that this tendency toward immigrant 'outsider' status will reverse itself. The liberals of both parties prattle about 'assimilation' and English only, but those things can often be superficial. It is possible to be outwardly assimilated and to speak good colloquial English and yet be an outsider victim with a chip on one's shoulder toward the host country.
And as long as the regnant liberal philosophy exalts and rewards and coddles those with 'victim' status, many will exploit this for all it's worth. The rewards and the reinforcements for playing the victim are too numerous. We will have to shed liberal ideas and return to traditional American habits, in which people are judged on their merit, before we can break the cycle of this unhealthy dynamic.