Some months ago, we published in Knowthing a couple of articles around the new generation of the Spanish emigration, the reasons behind it and the implications for the young professionals future. Today’s article is also about the same concept, emigration, although from the opposite point of view, the immigration.
Nevertheless, I will not talk about the typical immigration that arrives every year to Spain in a dinghy. Which it seems to be stagnated or even starting to decrease since the last two years according to NIE’s statistics
Today I will talk about the second and third generation of immigrants, that is, the sons of those immigrants who arrived to Spain some decades ago and are already settled in the society (which in many cases do not mean integrated).
This idea came to me the other day when walking through the city looking for a Christmas present, I heard this 12 year old kid with Asiatic physiognomy, speaking a better catalan than mine. Then I start to think about all the children from African, magreb or southamerican origins who speak with an andalusian accent, specific words from Galicia or Madrid style.
That made me think about the kind of society that we will find ourselves in in 20 years, and compare it to the currently Spanish society
Thinking about the actual Spanish society, not really open minded if I am allowed to judge, and including the variable immigration on this thought, we can picture an stratified society, separated or even isolated, where ethnic groups move around their own circles and live in what is usually known as ghettos. For instance, neighborhoods where 80% of their population belong to a certain ethnic or small types of business managed extensively known as being managed just by one or two ethnics (Vietnamese waiters in certain restaurants, Chinese “all to 1 euro” shops, pakistanies’ license free,…).
However, what will happen in 20 years, when this second and third generation will belong and be integrated in “our society”?
Trying to do an abstraction exercise, a bit idealist need to be said, I would like to imagine these people will be fully integrated in the society, across the entire social stratum. This kind of integration should increase the acceptance of immigrants in general, and make people get used to live a daily live with them. This should bring, at some point in this simplistic view, to the racism’s extinction.
This society should come along with some other few changes, such as the reduction of the already mentioned ghettos, a racial diversity into the group of friends or work colleagues, an increase of interracial marriages, … among many other characteristics.
The “Glocalization” would stop being just an economic concept to become a social phenomenon as well.
This integrated society would also impact on an economic level. Predisposition to open local business to international markets would boost. And not just predisposition, but also the ability to do it, due to a society compounded by such a multicultural diversity would involve a renovation of the world business’ vision and new approach possibilities to new cultures.
This process, not short and even less simple in any case, would imply a society’s evolution to an integrated society with the new generation of Spanish immigrants, from origins diverse, but with the same education and similar characteristics.
However, as I already mentioned, this abstraction exercise is quite simple and idealistic. Reality and history show us similar cases that where this idealistic picture is quite improbable to happen in Spain.
The best example is France. A country with an immigration already integrated in the society, where grandsons and great-grandsons of those initial immigrants have integrated across all social stratum. And even they are part of the French society, racism is a daily issue and they are still stigmatized because of their origins.
This integration becomes more and more difficult in environments with economic difficulties. In France, racist vandalism/acts have been multiplied by four from 5 years ago (interesting article regarding the change in immigrant government policies – “Informe España 2011” created by Fundación Encuentro http://www.fundencuentro.org/informe_espana/descargar.php?id=2011-C4)
Taking into account Spanish foreseen future for the next 5 to 10 years, can we even consider the possibility of this idealistic scenario that we pictured before?
Knowing as we do that education (both school and university) and culture play an essential role in this multicultural integration process, how the current cuts happening in these fields can jeopardize this process?
“… and remember, it must be for us to decide this future society, due to it will be us who will live in it”