Saturday, June 30, 2012

Immigration: Then and Now

I thought about several aspects of immigration - then and now. First I thought about the process of coming to America in the late 1800's as compared to coming now. Then there was a process, that was, for the most part, followed. The process was designed by White European Americans. There's still a process, although many immigrants come into the country illegally. The rules and the process are still designed by the American White system.

When I think about it though, the fear of foreigners coming into the country is not a new story. Remembering my high school history, it wasn't long after America won its independence that Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798. Ostensibly, Congress created that act to keep away foreigners, more especially, those who might cause problems with the government. One might wonder if there was more to that than met the eye.

In the Boston area near where I'm from (although before my time) the Irish people had a rough time being accepted into White culture. They won their Whiteness by turning their backs on the free Northern Blacks who competed with the Irish for jobs in that part of the country (Ignatiev, 1995).

I would sum my thoughts by describing immigration, yesterday and today as "racial stereotyping, a system that takes advantage of lower middle and working class, the installation of fear, and the implementation of systemic White racist schemes, created to benefit and protect the ruling White class against nonwhites.

Ignatiev, N. (1995). How the Irish became White. New York: Routledge.

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