Trump notwithstanding, America has been far more successful than Austria at making newcomers feel part of society.
The key is approach: A fervent belief in the American dream and some broken English is often all it takes to be made welcome. And as long as you pledge your unequivocal allegiance to the stars and stripes, it’s perfectly acceptable – even encouraged – to celebrate your heritage.
In contrast, Austrians are deeply suspicious of cultural trappings outside the mainstream Leitkultur. Headscarves are a red flag, never mind halal/kosher diets avoiding pork – people who don’t eat Kümmelbraten can’t be trusted! It’s no wonder Sebastian Kurz’s initiative Integration durch Leistung – Integration by achievement – was met with cynicism by some with “migration backgrounds.” Experience has shown them that it doesn’t matter what they do – unless they turn blond and are reborn on the Alm, many feel they will never be considered truly Austrian. Granted, its harder in Europe, where identity has an ethno-linguistic aspect. But in order to become an inclusive nation, we need to find, as the U.S. has, a definition of “Austrian” that’s ideological, rather than tribal or traditional.