Magazine September 9, 2019, Issue

The Ancestral Diversity of Americans

People await examination at Ellis Island. (Undated/Library of Congress)
In the hurly-burly of politics, we usually don’t stop to note our simple, unadorned love of the things that make this country so marvelous. That’s what we’ve asked our contributors to our latest special issue, "What We Love about America," to do.

My wife and I were at the theater, watching a movie; as usual, we stayed to watch the credits through to the end. We reached a whole group that were obviously from India. Clearly, that one task had been jobbed out to an Indian company.

There had been Indian-sounding names in many other categories, as also names from all over Europe, from Muslim cultures, from Africa, and from Latin America as well. Yet in all those other categories, because the ethnic origins were so mixed up, I knew that they were Americans.

Ancestry.com tells me my forebears were 100 percent from the British Isles. But I’m American by birth, and where I live, in Greensboro, N.C., we seem to have a pretty good mix of African, European, Latino, and Asian origins. When I travel to places where only one race or ethnic origin is represented, I get a sense that someone is missing.

When I come home to America, nobody is missing. We have citizens whose ancestors came from everywhere. Whether those ancestors came willingly or not, legally or not, were well treated upon arrival or not, makes no difference: Their children and descendants are American now. And if any group of them had not come, we would be a different people, a poorer people.

Americans are from everywhere. We include examples of everybody. Wherever you are in the world, you have kinfolk, however distantly related, in America.

This article appears as “Ancestral Diversity ” in the September 9, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Orson Scott Card — Mr. Card wrote Ender’s Game, Pathfinder, The Lost Gate, and the forthcoming Lost and Found, among other books. He and his wife live in Greensboro, N.C., with a constant stream of patio visitors ranging from finches, chickadees, and bluebirds to opossums, raccoons, and squirrels.

In This Issue

What We Love About America

U.S.

American Men

American men — with few exceptions — treat you like a human being, in a free, natural way, because they’ve done it from the nation’s youth.

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

Most Popular

Culture

Why Progressives Wage War on History

Princeton University’s decision to remove the name “Woodrow Wilson” from its School of Public and International Affairs is a big win for progressive activists, and the implications will extend far beyond the campus. It hardly surprises me, in today’s polarizing environment, that my alma mater caved to ... Read More
Culture

Why Progressives Wage War on History

Princeton University’s decision to remove the name “Woodrow Wilson” from its School of Public and International Affairs is a big win for progressive activists, and the implications will extend far beyond the campus. It hardly surprises me, in today’s polarizing environment, that my alma mater caved to ... Read More
U.S.

Bad News about the Virus

On the menu today: an important update about indications that the coronavirus is now more contagious than it used to be, with far-reaching ramifications for how we fight this pandemic; a point on the recent complaints about the Paycheck Protection Program; and a new book for everyone closely following the debate ... Read More
U.S.

Bad News about the Virus

On the menu today: an important update about indications that the coronavirus is now more contagious than it used to be, with far-reaching ramifications for how we fight this pandemic; a point on the recent complaints about the Paycheck Protection Program; and a new book for everyone closely following the debate ... Read More

Patriotism Is Becoming ‘White Supremacy’

Never before has a speech extolling America’s virtues and the marvels or the nation’s heroes played to such poor — and completely dishonest — reviews. At Mount Rushmore on Friday night, President Trump gave a speech that was very tough on the woke Left, while largely celebrating America — its ... Read More

Patriotism Is Becoming ‘White Supremacy’

Never before has a speech extolling America’s virtues and the marvels or the nation’s heroes played to such poor — and completely dishonest — reviews. At Mount Rushmore on Friday night, President Trump gave a speech that was very tough on the woke Left, while largely celebrating America — its ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Washington vs. Violent Crime

In New York City, 49 people were shot over the holiday weekend. The death count, so far, is eight. With 101 shooting victims in the last week, shootings are up 300 percent over the same period last year; for the full month of June, they reached a level not seen since 1996. Even before this latest bloodbath, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Washington vs. Violent Crime

In New York City, 49 people were shot over the holiday weekend. The death count, so far, is eight. With 101 shooting victims in the last week, shootings are up 300 percent over the same period last year; for the full month of June, they reached a level not seen since 1996. Even before this latest bloodbath, ... Read More