Diversity Inflicts a Huge Psychological Cost

By John Vinson
Volume 24, Number 1 (Fall 2013)
Issue theme: "Stolen lives"

Many opponents of mass immigration have pointed out the physical pain and suffering that illegal aliens and some legal immigrants have inflicted on American citizens through criminal activities ranging from drunk driving to murder. Not often, however, do we consider the psychic and spiritual costs of rampaging diversity. Among them are sorrow, despair, alienation, and anger.

Though these costs are not calculable, their impact is enormous on the morale and spiritual health of our society. And as these intangible losses increase, our nation will decline in many real and tangible ways.

Sadly, our national elites, including journalists and other opinion-makers, have little compassion for the mental and emotional pain of their fellow citizens with respect to immigration. Their loudly trumpeted empathy is for the arriving foreigners, illegal as well as legal, to whom all compassion is owed.

Truly there are many on the left who care nothing at all for “Middle Americans,” and the pain of such people is the least of their concerns. Their hope is a new America where the present population is phased out in favor of a new diverse people who will follow the leadership of leftists toward a bright new multicultural utopia. To suppress any empathy for the Americans they hate, the left elites dehumanize them with such labels as haters, bigots, tea baggers, trailer trash, and knuckle draggers.

Be assured, however, that it’s not just the left that is compassion-challenged toward Middle America. Though not nearly so vehement in expressed contempt, economic rightists harbor just about as much distain for their average fellow citizens. These lords of the cash nexus also yearn for population replacement, a country cleansed of folks who interfere with “economic efficiency” by demanding decent wages and working conditions.

This writer is quite familiar with the emotional distress of Middle America. As head of the American Immigration Control Foundation for the past 24 years, I have heard it from all across the country. People call on the telephone to ask about the organization, but as we talk they express their heartfelt concerns.

Quite seldom are they the raging bigots of leftist stereotype. Usually they are just average-sounding Americans, mostly middle to working class people. Rather than strident anger, what they generally convey is sadness, expressed as bewilderment and a deep sense of betrayal. They relate lives of hard work and playing by the rules, only to see foreigners barge into their communities, with no regard for American laws and customs, and reap numerous benefits. When they do express anger, it’s usually against the politicians who allow it all to happen.

They speak of broken community, lost employment and public benefits, and special privileges for foreigners who make them — American citizens — feel like second class citizens in their own country. Many complain that they’re living in a country that they scarcely recognize as America.

I remember one man who told me of his service in World War II, and then said, “If I had known what this country was going to become I wouldn’t have fought.” He went on to say that he was glad that he was old because death would soon relieve him of having to witness the downward spiral of the country he loved. Another man, I’ll call Joey, is an Italian-American who lives in Philadelphia. The son of an immigrant father, Joey developed a strong sense of patriotism during his youth. “Even though the men who fought in the Civil War weren’t of my background,” said Joey, “I totally identified with them as fellow Americans.”

He served as a combat engineer during the Korean War, and later made his living in data processing and computer programming. Sadly, his American Dream turned into a bad dream when mass immigration, legal and illegal, began to transform his part of Philly into a bedlam of diversity. He doubts that this array of Third World peoples will ever embrace the kind of assimilation that he and his forebears did. “They’re simply swamping us,” sighed Joey with a quiet passion.

Of course our elites have numerous prefab justifications for ignoring people like Joey. Dismissing him as old, ignorant, and prejudiced—of course—is one. Then there’s the old rejoinder that people worried about immigration in the past, but everything worked out just fine. True Believers of this faith can’t conceive that unprecedented numbers and diversity, this time, just might bring a different result.

One of these people of faith is Robert Putnam, a nationally prominent sociologist at Harvard University. He prophesies that diversity — at least in the long run will bless our country with innumerable strengths. But it’s a strange prophesy because Putnam’s exhaustive research suggests quite the opposite.

His findings perfectly explain the angst and alienation of those with whom I spoke. Putnam stated that “[I]nhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbors...to expect the worst of their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity, and work on community projects less often...and huddle unhappily in front of the television.” He also observed that Los Angeles, the most diverse city in America, is the one with the lowest level of social trust.

Many Middle Americans seem to think that if they can just make the elites “feel their pain” about immigration-driven diversity, they will respond. Decent and trusting as they are, these citizens don’t understand that it is pointless to seek pity from those who have no pity. Instead of being sad, they need to get mad and channel an appropriate anger into social and political activism.

A caller once told me that he was so upset about multicultural madness that he was regularly seeing a psychologist. He told me that the psychologist advised him to take whatever legal action he could against the problem, rather than just sit and complain. No better advice could be offered. Throughout American history, it has always been so: elites only see the light when they feel the populist heat.

About the author

John Vinson is president of the American Immigration Control Foundation.