Black Africans know this. That is why so many seek to live in the United States. Decades ago, the number of black Africans who had immigrated to the United States had already surpassed the number of black Africans who were forcibly shipped to America as slaves.
And members of other races and nationalities know this. Even Muslim and Arab writers have noted that nowhere in the Arab or larger Muslim world does an Arab or any other Muslim have the individual rights, liberty, and dignity that a Muslim living in America has. As for Latinos and Asians, vast numbers of them from El Salvador to Korea regard America as the land of opportunity.
And when any of these people come here - from anywhere, speaking any language, looking like a member of any race -- they are accepted as Americans the moment they identify as such. He or she will be regarded as fully American. This is not true elsewhere. A third-generation Turkish-German, whose German is indistinguishable from the German spoken by an indigenous German, will still be regarded by most Germans as a Turk. The same holds true elsewhere in Europe.
On the other hand, a first-generation Turkish American, who speaks English with a heavy Turkish accent, but who identifies as American, will be regarded every bit as American as anyone else.
As is often the case, a foreigner pointed this out most clearly. On a visit to America in February, The president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, said:
"The other day, I was in a small company -- and there were Asians, Koreans, Middle Easterners, some other people. And they had been in America for, like, two, three, four years. And they talk American. They look American. Body language is American. I'm sure they already think American. Go to Korea and become Korean in one or two years' time. Good luck with that. That's what's so special about this country."
Xenophobic? It is probably fair to say that most Americans are xenophiles. Last week, in Tampa, I met a 40 year-old man who works at a cigar lounge and bar. I commented on all the good-looking women who entered his establishment, and he told me that despite his low salary, that is precisely the reason he works there. They flock to him, he said.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because of my accent." He was from Russia.