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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

A Dilapidated Home

Years ago, I had a discussion with nitape’skw about immigration, migration, and social welfare practices. Both of us heard rhetoric about how people who questioned these matters were worthy of labels related to xenophobia, racism, bigotry, and hatred.

One of the things I most appreciated about my dear friend was that she was able to have uncomfortable conversations. As well, when we disagreed, a charitable interpretation of the other person’s argument was used in place of a bad faith position.

My friend maintained that the United States (U.S.) should, must, or ought to allow the free flow of mass migration from other countries, accepting all who migrate here, and that social programs were needed to accommodate guests to this nation (i.e., Medicare, unemployment entitlements, etc.).

I concurred with the notion of allowing some people to seek refuge, though through a vetting system. Additionally, I was less inclined to favor “The New Colossus” approach to the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, wretched refuse, and homeless of the world.

This wasn’t because I was a heartless, indifferent, or populous asshole that concerned myself with only the U.S. Rather, I acknowledged that the national home in which I was born and raised was dilapidated— in a state of disrepair or ruin as a result of age or neglect.

The home I share with nitape’skw is in dire need of restoration and the people of our nation provide limited resources necessary for reconstruction. Unconvinced by my argument, I encouraged my friend to consider the matter in relation to the reservation (rez) upon which she resided.

Imagine the 22 square miles of the reservation that has a population of a little over 760 people as something akin to a small, neglected house. The foundation is somewhat sturdy though structural damage creates unsafe living quarters in some areas of the home.

A limited number of people can occupy the dwelling, not solely because of space limitation, though due to revenue needed to maintain the residence (e.g., utilities, repairs, mortgage, etc.). This analogy was fitting, as the rez to which my friend belonged was of relatively meager means.

For the sake of argument, I asked my friend to consider that the reasonable occupancy of the dwelling was for eight people. Though uncomfortable, the maximum number of individuals who could reside in the structure was 20.

Each person living within the home contributed to the pool of money from which operating costs were deducted. Every individual under the roof was afforded some entitlement to certain benefits, though enhancement to these provisions depended upon additional responsibilities performed by those who were able to work.

For disabled, infirmed, or aged members of the home, benefits were provided without a labor requirement. While some people enjoyed a better standard of living than others, at minimum each person enjoyed relative prosperity when compared to other homes across the land.

People living in the home were members of the in-group or emic perspective. Those who weren’t members of the household were associated with the out-group or etic perspective.

Suppose that out-group members viewed the home and coveted what the in-group had. This etic perspective related to a moral demand which maintained that by mere existence everyone should be entitled to what members of the home had.

In fact, it was considered good, compassionate, and progressive to allow others the ability to be welcomed into the home—no questions asked. In-group members who opposed this notion were thought of as bad, inhumane, and concerned with conserving what they had while denying others access to resources.

Adding to this dilemma are those within the in-group who favor an etic perspective. Perhaps some people within the home who maintain a different status than others in the house determine that there’s enough space available for 30 or 40 people.

An irrational belief develops for a number of the familial members, maintaining that at some point historically, someone must have behaved poorly and caused others outside of the home to live by lesser means. Therefore, the proper course of action is to right wrongs of the past in the present.

The external fence is sabotaged, the front and backdoors are opened wide, and a message is broadcast to outlying areas about how there is vacancy in the dilapidated home. Some family members even argue that with more people there is added opportunity to repair the damaged house.

I asked nitape’skw if her rez could afford an influx of people from the out-group—people who would enjoy access to health care, educational opportunities, living stipends, and more. She told me it would be impossible to accept many more people into the reservation.

I added that those of an etic perspective wouldn’t necessarily assimilate, so the customs and traditions of my friend’s people could be rendered meaningless if people disregarded warnings to stay away and migrated to the rez anyway. At that, my friend’s prior views immediately changed.

It wasn’t that my dear companion was xenophobic, racist, bigoted, or that she harbored hate for others unaffiliated with her Native American reservation. Rather, she realized that pragmatically speaking a mass influx of people would devastate the already dilapidated home in which she lived.

I have little doubt that others will read this post and vehemently disagree with my perspective. Not everyone has the knowledge, wisdom, understanding, or patience to carefully consider this matter using a rational perspective, as did nitape’skw.

For those who disagree, and without committing the logical fallacy of an appeal to emotion, I invite you to consider that despite anything I’ve stated herein, the dilapidated home of the U.S. has suffered potentially irreversible effects of unauthorized out-group transfer for many years.

Nothing I’ve stated in this post can undo that. As well, it isn’t my position to declare immigration, migration, and social welfare practices of this sort as bad, wrong, or otherwise.

Rather, I’m using rational thinking and a practical analogy to make a point. What lesson you interpret will likely be filtered through your sociopolitical lens and I’m not self-disturbed by this effect.

Remarkably, sometimes people contact me for psychotherapeutic services in relation to matters similar to the social and political example outlined herein. Seemingly unwilling to discuss reality in polite company, they seek out an ear to which they can voice their concerns without judgement.

If you are such a person, you aren’t alone. Many others are experiencing similar circumstances. Although I cannot fix a dilapidated home, I may be able to help you disturb yourself less as a result of your beliefs regarding the slow deterioration of the nation in which we live.

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


Hollings, D. (2023, May 11). Catering to DEIA. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, November 10). Labeling. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, July 11). Pound the table. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Penobscot Culture. (n.d.). Basic words one (Newt). Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). The New Colossus. Retrieved from

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