Legislating National Identity

From Slate: http://slatest.slate.com/id/2244122/entry/8/

This concerns France’s recent attempts legislate its culture… banning the burqa, specifically. If this were done in the USA, I think I’d be against it. But in a country like France (or Italy or Turkey), which has a predominant character or cultural history, I’m okay with it. I’m definitely okay with Immigration Minister Eric Besson denying a man citizenship for forcing his wife to wear a burqa.

If the USA is a fundamentally immigrant country (except for that part about exterminating the Natives), I don’t subscribe to Conservative America’s notion that they get to define Americanness to/for me. So even though I may not like the burqa, I think an American Muslim should have the right to wear one. She, of her own volition, must create an America that is true for her.

In France, if they determine that the burqa is fundamentally un-French, then go ahead and ban it. It opens up a Pandora’s Box, I know (“France for the French” could be extended to limit religion at any turn), but I can’t kick the feeling that “ethnic” countries should be be allowed to define their national character. What are the limits of that national character… I can’t say.

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