Bobby Jindal, the Republican Governor of Louisiana, has started that he doesn’t believe in ‘hyphenated identities.’

"I do not believe in hyphenated Americans. This view gets me into some trouble with the media back home. They like to refer to Indian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and all the rest,” reads the pre-released text of a speech he is set to deliver on Monday at the Henry Jackson Society in London. The Economic Times, which published excerpts of the address on Friday, reports that Jindal’s office shared that he would be calling for immigrant assimilation to strengthen countries and protect freedom. 

“To be clear - I am not suggesting for one second that people should be shy or embarrassed about their ethnic heritage," the speech continues.

"I am explicitly saying that it is completely reasonable for nations to discriminate between allowing people into their country who want to embrace their culture, or allowing people into their country who want to destroy their culture, or establish a separate culture within." 

Jindal, the first US governor of Indian descent in the US, has said that he does not like to be described as Indian-American, nor does he identify as such.

"My parents came in search of the American Dream, and they caught it. To them, America was not so much a place, it was an idea. My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans. Not Indian-Americans, simply Americans. 

"If we wanted to be Indians, we would have stayed in India. It's not that they are embarrassed to be from India, they love India. But they came to America because they were looking for greater opportunity and freedom," Jindal asserts. 

Touching on immigration policy, he will say "It is completely reasonable and even necessary for a sovereign nation to discriminate between people who want to join them and people who want to divide them. And immigration policy should have nothing at all to do with the color of anyone's skin. I find people who care about skin pigmentation to be the most dim-witted lot around. I want nothing to do with that.” 

Following the terror attacks at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, immigrant assimilation has been a hotly debated subject, with many, such as Jindal, maintaining that immigrants should assimilate as fully as possible into their adopted countries. 

Others, however, believe that it is possible for immigrants to form their own communities and unique “hyphenated identities” while still contributing to a country’s society as a whole. For instance, the late New York governor Mario Cuomo, who famously eschewed the term melting pot for “the magnificent mosaic that is America.” 

Do you think “hyphenated identities” (such as Irish-American or Indian-American) are problematic, or do you think it’s important for people to acknowledge their cultural heritage? Let us know what you think in the comment section.   

Louisiana Governor Bobby JindalWikimedia Commons