Why Don’t Minorities Integrate Successfully?

Below is the intervention read by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, representing Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Session 1 “Preventing Aggressive Nationalism”, Warsaw, September 23, 2013:

Many thanks to Henrik Ræder Clausen for recording this video, and to Vlad Tepes for uploading it:

Below is the prepared text of Elisabeth’s intervention (originally published by ICLA):

National Minorities — Integration

It is important to point out the practices that support effective integration of national minorities. To this end, I would like to mention Austria’s inclusive policy of providing access to goods and services such as extensive language course financed by the taxpayer – provided to its national minorities, newly arrived immigrants, and others.

However, despite all the financial support extended, certain groups display a persistent inability to integrate into the host society.

In addition to tax money, numerous other policies are in place to promote successful integration. The question thus remains: why do certain national minorities find integration so challenging?

We therefore recommend to ODIHR that a working group be established tasked with understanding what additional reasons, e.g. cultural and religious reasons, there might be for the lack of successful integration.

For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.

20 thoughts on “Why Don’t Minorities Integrate Successfully?

  1. Minority immigrants integrate to their new country most successfully when integration is the object of their immigration. They are assisted in this by clear and immediate adverse consequences of non-integration along with a variety of beneficial options available based on full integration. In practice this means a general social milieu in which non-integration is regarded as unacceptable and a legitimate reason to deny services (by private actors, preferably, but this is not absolutely a question of the role of government but purely of promoting integration) which would otherwise be available.

    Obviously, “free-ride” social policies which do not clearly reward integrated immigrants compared to non-integrated immigrants are just as destructive to integration as social policies which denied integrated immigrants the benefits of integration, it creates a situation where only those with intense personal drive to integrate regardless of personal benefits are able to muster the will to do so. Integration is a learning process, when you fail to give students feedback on how well they are doing in terms they can easily understand, you are not helping them learn, even if you are in every other respect being very “nice”. And immigrants have the additional barrier of having cultural and linguistic differences which limit the means of communicating how serious a breach a given act is to the society of their new country. Even those with the best will to “integrate” will be left to fall back on their own personal ideas (informed by the social context of their former country rather than that of their new country) of what constitutes “integration”. Which is to say that “unsuccessfully integrated” immigrants who are being paid by the government to maintain a lifestyle unavailable to them in their native country may not even know that they aren’t integrated…they think of going on the dole and engaging in political activism and high-profile public displays while being protected by the local police as all being proof that they have successfully learned the ways of their new abode.

    • Assimilation, not integration.

      Integration implies that the host society changes its ways to accomodate the newcomers. Assimilation means that that newcomers change their ways to fit in with the host society.

      Clear language is important.

      • Let’s grant the distinction between assimilation and integration.

        After that I want to hear the argument as to why any society needs to import newcomers. Putting aside trivial cases such as marriage, specialized tech workers, etc. why would any society seek out foreigners?

        • America carried out a highly immigration friendly policy for many years, drawing heavily from nations which did not have a common language and culture. That this influx was necessary to developing the resources and economy of the nation is clear enough.

          What has come to be ignored is that the character and motivation of the immigrants matters quite a bit in determining whether they will represent a desirable addition to the nation. This has led to an unfortunate situation in that the constant droning about how “America was built by immigrants” has really obscured our understanding of all the important details that made such immigration beneficial.

          Of course, whether or not immigration is generally desirable (and not every nation is in need of a large influx of immigrants–even America no longer seriously needs immigration to expand its economy), it cannot reasonably be carried on during wartime conditions, when enemy agents are constantly going to be seeking opportunities to engage in espionage and sabotage operations.

          • Agreed. In the 19th century, acting in its self interest, immigration made sense for America. Even then it chose immigrants who were most compatible with its own population.

            Today immigration, whether of the assimilation or integration variety, makes no sense at all for America.

      • Excellent point. A immigrant seeks to become part of the whole – otherwise he is not an immigrant.

      • In this case the topic is integration rather than assimilation. But I would note that just as integration can work both ways, assimilation can as well.

    • PS – Please dont take my comment as hostile.

      I largely agree with your general assertions.

      Informal enforcement of social and cultural norms, aka private sector discrimination based upon freedom of association, have been largely criminalized.

      • I should also point out that whether assimilation (in either direction) is preferable to integration is a subject on which I can express no general opinion. In my own case, assimilation is simply impossible, and this limits the degree to which I can form a general opinion of it. Certainly any human society that absolutely insists on assimilation rather than integration is necessarily hostile to myself (and thus I will necessarily return such hostility), but that hardly bears on the question of whether assimilation or integration is preferable where either is possible in principle.

  2. Pingback: BPE Makes Recommendation For Establishment Of ODIHR Group To Look At Barriers To Successful Integration Of Minorities - Liberties Alliance :: Liberties Alliance

  3. Hi, i’ve never posted a comment on this site, but i always read it… i just wanted to say something: why are we supposed to integrate minorities in our societies? i wonder why everyone take that for granted, i mean aren’t we supposed to decide if people can immigrate in our country or not? I don’t give a crap about multiculturalism and how wonderful is to be “enriched” by diversity… forced assimilation and forced immigration are not very democratic things to do to a nation. Europe for Europeans!

    • “why are we supposed to integrate minorities in our societies? i wonder why everyone take that for granted…”

      Exactly right. The bravest of the brave, the most vocal critics of mass immigration seem only willing to focus on the problem of integration of the immigrants to the host country. Very few want to publicly ask the question “Why are we inviting the 3rd world here in the first place?”

      • I think it all arises from Postmodern philosophers who sold the academicians who sold the bright kids who went on to politics. See Stephen Hicks’
        book “Explaining Postmodernism”.

    • The intervention read by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff does not take the position that immigration is necessary, but rather recommends that investigation into the reasons certain minorities (including recent immigrants from particular cultures) fail to integrate.

      That the results of such an investigation can serve as an opening to question whether continued immigration of such persons is really desirable is evident, and this appears to be the intention of this intervention.

  4. Did you ever notice how the only countries worrying about diversity are majority Caucasian? Do you see China or Mexico wanting to import people from the middle east or north Africa? Only governments in majority white countries want more “multiculturalism.” And it sure isn’t the elites in the governments who are going to pay the price in blood and lost freedoms. They are traitors and someday will pay for that treason…..Allah willing, of course.

    • Yes, for every year that passes by without changes in attitude, the scenario you paint becomes more and more likely.


  6. Large scale immigration basically destroys the cohesion of society and usully leads to conflict.Race ,religion history all play a part .In the U.K. all major riots or terrorist attacks have thier roots in the Immigration of the Sixties onwards.Whether it be european immgrants ,specifically the I.R.A. who maintained thier loyalty to the “old country and embarked on a campaign of murder and mayhem in England for 3 decades,or the far more fanatical islamic groups Organised crime and disorder can be traced to Afro-Carribean groups in inner city England.

  7. Pingback: Elisabeth for Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting: Why Don’t Minorities Integrate Succeccfully? |

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