This 1946 educational film from Encyclopædia Brittanica presents a period look at immigration to the New World. “Negroes” are mentioned once, Native Americans are invisible, and Mexicans don’t show up until the very end, but it’s an interesting film pitching the “nation of immigrants” meme. Good public schools are important for the Melting Pot, they note, the quest for freedom brought many persecuted refugees here, Congress started blocking “undesirables” (Asians, Southern and Eastern Europeans) in 1924, and yet there’s the Statue of Liberty who lifts her lamp beside the golden door. History: You’re soaking in it.
- In 1751, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, a North American colonial with British roots, disparaged “stupid” and “swarthy” recently-arrvied German immigrants, who, he wrote, were too dumb to learn English, and did we mention they were “swarthy”?
- Discrimination against Irish Catholic immigrants by their English Protestant predecessors was one of the reasons 200 fresh-off-the-boat Irish United States Army draftees switched sides and fought for Mexico in the Mexican-American War of the 1840s. These deserters/heroes formed the famed Saint Patrick’s Battalion (Los San Patricios.)
- Hoity-toity German and Sephardic Jews who immigrated to the U.S.A. in the 18th and 19th Centuries were ashamed of the Hebrew homies who arrived later from Eastern Europe; the assimilated Jews banded together to “Americanize” the Russian and Polish immigrants in the 1880s.
Last week three latter-day Looking Down Syndrome sightings lit up our screen, INSISTENT MESSAGES from people who want you to know THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT THOSE OTHER PEOPLE OVER THERE — those Mexicans and/or Latinos.
(PNS reporting from PHILADELPHIA) Local publisher Benjamin “Sparky” Franklin (Poor Richard’s Almanac) is shocked by all the non-English-speaking dark-skinned foreigners in the City of Brotherly Love and worries about how our planet appears to residents of Venus and Mars.
The “swarthy” German newcomers are too stupid to learn English, the Society Hill resident charged in a recent newsletter: