Yesterday’s New York Times carried an interesting column about citizenship tests. The most anxious nations—Britain, Germany, Canada and of course, the USA—have been revising their tests to raise the threshold for citizenship, making sure that prospective citizens get with the program before they are admitted to the club.
The new tests are a fascinating Rorschach of official culture. For instance, the Brits, who place so much emphasis on nuances of class and origin, ask this: “Where are Geordie, Cockney and Scouse dialects spoken?” (Newcastle, the East End of London and Liverpool, FYI.) The Germans, evidently testing for a spirit of liberality, ask this: “Your fully grown daughter/your wife wants to dress like other German women. Would you try to stop that? By what means?” I wonder if they have a different test for women; and also which means would fall beyond the pale: polite persuasion, confiscating her clothes, forbidding her to leave the house, thirty lashes?
The new U.S. test has been in development for about a decade, with $3.5 million having been spent on the effort. Today, the Citizenship and Immigration Service (formerly INS) is expected to announce the new plan. Just in case they haven’t got all the new questions yet, I thought I’d suggest a few. To me, one of the main qualifications for citizenship is a sense of reality, an ability to see through the profusion of veils and obfuscations all the way to how things actually are. Let’s induct immigrants into patriotic realism with questions like this:
(1) An American citizen’s chance of being imprisoned is:
A. No more or less than in any other democracy
B. Greater than in Britain or Canada, but less than in Russia or China
C. Greater than in any other nation
(2) In an American election, the candidate who has the best chance of winning is usually:
A. The one who has the best record for honesty and integrity
B. The one whose platform is closest to voters’ opinions as indicated by polling
C. The one who accepts the most contributions and spends the most on advertising
(3) Which of these countries have lower infant mortality rates than the U.S.?
B. Czech Republic
(4) In the United States, 10 percent of the population owns what percentage of the wealth?
A. 10 percent
B. 25 percent
C. 50 percent
D. 70 percent
(5) How many American citizens are being subjected to warrantless wiretaps at any given moment in 2006?
C. over 500
(6) According to official federal measures, how many Americans under 18 years of age were living in poverty in 2004?
A. 5 percent
B. 10 percent
C. 17.8 percent
(7) U.S. population is approximately 300 million; how many lacked medical insurance in 2004?
A. 10 million
B. 25 million
C. 45.8 million
Answers: (1) C; (2) C; (3) All of these and 36 others; (4) D; (5) C plus an equal number of foreign citizens on the other end of their phone lines; (6) C; (7) C
Welcome to America! Stay healthy, be frugal, watch what you say over the phone and keep out of jail!
As an assignment for my college English class, I was required to view three different blogs concerning the term “citizen”. I was then required to post on my blog a summary of each as well as tell what my favorite blog was. Finally, I have to post my assignment on my favorite blogs page as a comment. Since your page was my favorite, here is my assignment
After clicking on several blogs with the term “citizen” in their title, I found myself wondering what in the world does citizen mean? Blogs that I thought would talk about citizenship talked about such things as cupcakes and sports. What is the world coming to! Many blogs cursed all citizens and everything that has to do with citizenship. It was such a relief when I finally stumbled across a few that actually dealt with citizenship.
This blog had a very straight forward purpose; it gave people two ways in which they could obtain a citizenship certificate. Non-citizens can achieve this certificate by either becoming naturalized or having American parents. I think that this page is very informative and good for those aspiring to be a citizen. I thought the site was good, but it wasn’t my favorite. I think that mostly non-citizens would view this site and find it helpful.
Citizenship Reality Check
This blog talked about how the U.S. as well as other countries are changing their country admittance tests. They are trying to “tighten” down on those that they allow in their country. The writer demonstrates a comical view of changing the test and also offers some of her own personal questions. She and I both have the same view on the tests. I, an American citizen all my life, probably would have trouble passing that test, so why should we expect non-citizens to pass it? I really enjoyed reading her post.
How to Become a Citizen of the United States
This blog was very informative and interesting. It has all that you need to know about becoming a citizen. There is everything from getting started, getting a green card, and actually taking the admittance test. It was very in depth and had different links that you could take to get started. Like the first blog, this blog would be very beneficial to those who are trying to become citizens.
As you can see, all three of the blogs that I chose had to deal with ways in which you could become a citizen. This just proves to me that I should feel lucky to be a citizen, because if I weren’t, I would spend half of my life trying to become one! My favorite blog was “Citizenship Reality Check”, for the sole purpose that she and I feel the same way about those stupid tests. I have found that people see citizenship in many different ways. Some see it as family, careers, tests, and the Constitution, while others view citizenship as a burden and something that should be taken for granted. I strongly disagree with these people. Citizens must be willing to give and take. Granted, I’m not too thrilled about paying taxes or voting, but that is my give. We as citizens take a lot more than we give, and we should be proud to live in this country. Look at it this way, if millions of people are willing to give up a great deal of their time and money to be a citizen of the U.S., this can’t be that bad of a place to live. I think that by reading these few blogs along with a some others, and by understanding to what extent one must go through to become a citizen, I am much more appreciative of my citizenship.
How many people who were born in america and are american citizens by birth, could pass the admitiance test in america?