Let’s See How Far We’ve Come…

My first real post on this blog and I use a line from a Matchbox 20 song. Ugh, not my finest hour.

After Wednesday’s discussion on Bread Givers, immigration, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, I left class unable to shake contemporary immigration issues from my head. I have never really given much thought to the subject in the past, but I found myself thinking about both modern-day immigrants rights movements and anti-immigration groups for most of the day.

As I read about immigration today from a variety of websites, I noticed that the arguments laid out by anti-immigration proponents has stayed the same since the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798!  Harrison Gray Otis (I’m pretty sure that the 2nd years went there on our Boston trip) supported the acts because he did “not wish to invite hordes of wild Irishmen nor the turbulent and disorderly of all parts of the world to come here with a view to disturb our tranquility after having succeeded in the overthrow of their own governments.”

Immigrants are going to overthrow the U.S. government and ruin the country? Hmmmm, where have I heard that before….Oh yeah.

“People who could not even spell the word ‘vote’, or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House” – Tom Tancredo, February 4th, 2010.

There seems to be a formula to this stuff. “(Insert racial, ethnic, or religious group) is a threat to our American way of life. If we do not (insert plan to limit immigration) we will lose what makes this country great.” I’d like to think that these anti-immigration feelings are not part of the American mainstream today and that as a society we have grown to be more tolerant than previous generation. For the most part, I’m sure we have. Most Americans recognize that this is a country of immigrants and over the top anti-immigration comments or organizations are generally viewed negatively.I mean, we don’t see stuff like this any more.

Or this…

Or this…

But then I see something like this…

Or read something along the lines of this, “Mexican men have a reputation for leering and worse at little girls, which shouldn’t surprise us, since sex with children is socially acceptable in Mexico.”

And I have to wonder, how far have we really come?

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