Monday, September 25, 2023 Sep 25, 2023
77° F Dallas, TX


Is Dallas still the city of WASPs? Judge for yourself.
By Richard West |

The immigrant arrives in a stunned state: wide-eyed, guileless, reduced to bafflement and incompetence by the strange rules of his new country’s behavior. The simplest of actions-buying food, catching a bus, locating an address-become complex rituals to be awkwardly imitated. He is the prototypical stranger, the raw innocent, the shy figure in the airport lounge with his money sewn into his underclothes and his cardboard luggage roped with frayed hemp. He wears the wrong clothes, he speaks the wrong language. He comes from a village or countryside, expert at some craft-shoemaking, weaving, tailoring-which, if practiced at all in the city, is to be found only in the mass-productiion methods of the factory assembly line. He has everything to lose: his style, his innate convictions about the nature of human communities, even the language in which he thinks and feels. Yet he will learn the new language, he will make his way, he will become a new, proud citizen.

All of us, save for the American Indians, are the descendants of, or are ourselves, the sons and daughters of other lands: people who came here over the past four centuries fleeing miseries or seeking bread, elbowroom, and opportunity in a new world. This peopling of America by more than 45 million who crossed every ocean and continent is one of the great dramas of human history. Today, more people of Irish ancestry live in the U.S. than in Ireland, more Jews than in Israel, more blacks than in most African countries. Chow mein, the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and the Afro hairdo all originated on American soil.

Just in the past decade, Dallas has become a part of this American ethnic mosaic as the country continues to respond like a needle-gauge to disturbances across the world and people, as always, seek a better life. The number of languages spoken in D1SD schools has risen from four in 1970 to more than thirty-one today. Six Buddhist temples provide religious homes for many of the 50,000 Chinese (up from 4,000 in 1976) and an additional 40,000 Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and other Asians. Members of at least four Muslim groups worship at two Dallas mosques. More than twenty-five different foreign newspapers are read by 30,000 Central Americans, 9,000 Nigerians, 2,000 Tongans, 7,000 Asian Indians, 2,000 Ethiopians, and growing numbers of East Europeans. This year forty-nine different nations will showcase their foods, dance, music, and crafts at the Dallas International Bazaar at City Hall Plaza April 24-26.

This plurality greatly enriches our lives and works to ensure that our city will not be a closed and provincial place of prejudice and malice. The new immigrant also changes us, for in his naive imitation, he tells us who we are now, because our present is his future. He is at once our city’s hero and its most vulnerable victim. For him and for us, the city offers a destiny and a possible new identity that have lain chrysalis-like, waiting for change to set us free.


Khatun and Urbae Jiwa

Like many immigrants from India, the Jiwa family had strong east African ties and had lived many years in Uganda. When the murderous Idi Amin came to power, they fled their step-homeland, fitst to a European refugee camp and then, in 1973, to Dallas. Now Yusuf Jiwa works as a machinist in Lancaster and his wife, Kutsum, drives a school bus. Their two daughters, Khatun and Urbae, study Arabic on Saturday mornings at the Arlington Arabic Academy.


Members of Explorer Post Number 68

Six years ago and Vietna All South Enforcement only one of twenty-four seventeen meet police officer East Dallas to instill disc they work to the twelve Laotian, Cambodian, amese boys comprised the west Asian Refugee Law xplorer Post Number 68, the its kind in America. Today, young Asians aged sixteen to each Wednesday with Dallas Ron Cowart at the D.P.D.’s storefront on Peak. Cowan works pline in his scouts; together, aid in crime prevention in refugee neighborhood.


Hiroshi Nakajima, Hide Tsuzuki, (Left to right)

Kazuya Kurokawa opened his Kazy’s Food Mart nine years ago after graduating from Abilene’s McMurry College with a degree in business. As the number of Japanese in Dallas has grown, so has the interest in Japanese food and the number of Japanese restaurants-there are at least thirteen in the Metroplex. Kazy’s is now a gourmet food shop and employs six people to help Kurokawa, who is also co-publisher of the city’s Japanese newspaper, Town Map Dallas.


(left to right) Haile Felleke, Ismail Mohamed’Ali

Haile Mariam Felleke and his family fled Ethiopia and its government in 1972, moving first to Mexico, then to Washington, D.C, Boston, and finally to Dallas ten years later. Along the way, Felleke earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology in Boston where his daughter, Yodith, was born. He has worked at many jobs but never as a sociologist. Since coming to Dallas, Felleke, like many of his countrymen, has driven for Yellow Cab. His wife, Ayelech, works as a clerk in the Dallas Police Department.


(Left to right) Gloria Fuentes, Jose Fuentes, Leticia Fuentes

The U.S. continues to draw people like Jose and Gloria Fuentes from El Salvador and thousands of other Central Americans, a community of victims united by a common history of terrorism and death. After three years in Dallas, the Fuentes family owns Gloria’s Restaurant in Oak Cliff, where they serve their country’s specialties like pupusas and plantano frito con cremas. Jose and Gloria have become leaders in the Central American community of displaced persons.


(Left to right) Toakase Afungia and Sangote Ulupano

From a tiny independent island kingdom in the southwest Pacific Ocean, 2,000 Tongans have found their way to the Metraplex. Most of them work at D/FW Airport for he Skychef Corporation or American Ail lines. As a result of a century and a half of Mormon and Methodist missionary work, most Tongans are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or Methodists. Many attend the Tongan United Methodist (Church in Euless.


Metias El-Seryani

Almost all 13(5 of Dallas’s Egyptian families are members of the Coptic church, the Christian church of Egypt. They worship at St. Mary’si Coptic Orthodox Church in Colleyville, led by Father Metias El-Seeryni. Like America’s pilgrims, they fled religious persecution in their country, which has been predominanely Moslem since the Seventh Century. The majority of Copts are professionals-engineers, doctors, computer scientists-01 own businesses like the Penny Lane Restaurant in Irving.


(left to right) Basil Stergios, Tom Maglaras, Gregory Likoyannis

Many of the first wave of Dallas’s Greeks came from Nafpaktos, in western Greece on the Gulf of Corinth, and many went into the food and restaurant business. These members of the Nafpaktos Brotherhood have been prime movers behind the annual Greek food festival, which last year drew 20,000 to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in late September.