Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., wrote an op-ed for Politico on Sunday suggesting “undue emphasis” on “our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc.” is a “step backward” and creates racial inequality.
One day after thousands of Americans marched on Washington on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, Jindal writes that minorities just need to assimilate.
He said America “made tremendous progress” since the Civil Rights movement, but people refuse to let go of their ethnic heritage.
“You come to the United States and you become an American, regardless of your heritage, your ethnicity, your traditions, or your accent," Jindal wrote. "But now we seem to act as if that melting pot is passé, an antiquated notion.”
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Jindal suggested that minorities stop using designating their heritage, more or less making them no longer minorities.
“Yet we still place far too much emphasis on our ‘separateness,’ our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc.,” he said. “We live in the age of hyphenated Americans: Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Native Americans, to name just a few. Here’s an idea: How about just 'Americans?' That has a nice ring to it, if you ask me. Placing undue emphasis on our 'separateness' is a step backward. Bring back the melting pot.”
Despite Jindal’s assertion that progress has been made, the black unemployment rate has remained double that of whites for the past 60 years. In Chicago, the poverty and median income rate for blacks is about the same as it was in 1963, according to ThinkProgress.
Jindal’s parents immigrated to Baton Rouge from Punjab, India, in 1971, just six months before Jindal was born and became part of the “melting pot.” Jindal’s parents chose to come to America. They were not enslaved and brought to a new country to live a life of perpetual servitude. They came to a new country for opportunity.
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“We all remember learning in grade school about America as the great “melting pot” — a concept that was completely compatible with Dr. King’s dream of every American being judged on the content of his character and not the color of his skin.”
The difference between King asking Americans to stop seeing color was that it was in order to enfranchise a race that had been disenfranchised, disheartened and dehumanized. Who is Jindal trying to level the playing field for?