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Politics & Policy

The New Hamtramck — and the Looming Question

When I was growing up in southeastern Michigan, Hamtramck was the Polish-American stronghold. It must have been one of the most Polish cities outside of Poland. We were all kind of proud of it. It was a bit exotic. You went there for pierogis at Easter and stuff like that.

Interesting article the other day: saying that Hamtramck has become “what demographers think is the first jurisdiction in the nation to elect a majority-Muslim council.” In 2013, Hamtramck “earned the distinction of becoming what appears to be the first majority-Muslim city in the United States.”

Which is great, right? Immigrant communities ebb and flow in America — always have. One group has its day, the next group has its. Eventually, everybody melts into the pot.

I think of what may be my favorite of Mark Steyn’s Broadway analogies: Some people think that a new Europe will be like a cast change of Hello, Dolly! (You may remember that there was a “black Hello Dolly!” starring the great Pearl Bailey.) Yeah, the cast was of a different color. The show had a different flavor. But it was still Hello, Dolly! with the same beloved songs, etc.

Several years ago, I was in Norway, and saw a bunch of adorable South Asian kids, dressed in their school uniforms, chattering gaily in Norwegian with their blond classmates. I said to an American friend, who has lived there for a long time, “Sometimes I think it’ll be all right.” He said, with a faraway look in his eye, and suitably weakly, “Sometimes I do too.”

To be continued . . .

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