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Immigration and Racism of the 1920's

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  • ImmortalE
    replied
    I would say 80 years and still the same old arguments

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  • Glühbirne
    replied
    3 years and still the same old arguments. I remember when I used to become so ****ed into this.

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  • AliBA
    replied
    As long as you're looking at historic racism, then why don't you look at the replacement of African-Americans, post civil war, by immigrants. There were riots by African-Americans over this because they were being displaced in jobs. You might also point out that the Irish, Italians, Arabs/Turks/Persians, and Poles, by modern definitions "white" were discriminated against back then, as well as African-Americans.
    You might also be interested in the fact that there were active fifth columns in the US (German, Italian, Japanese) that were trying to overthrow the US government, as well as Communists and Italian anarchists such as Sacco and Vanzetti whose activities led to the passage of the Alien and Sedition Act. In other words, any prejudices Americans have had toward immigrants are not totally unfounded. I might add that my Lebanese grandparents came circa 1901, Christians fleeing oppression by the Muslim Ottomans, along with a wave of immigrants from the Middle East, and were in the thick of things. The key point to remember, is that despite what this piece is describing, those "white, protestant" citizens kept letting immigrants in until the 1930s. Pretty generous of them, I'd say, given that the US had the Great Depression in 1929, and jobs for citizens let alone immigrants were in short supply until the 1940s and WWII.

    One thing I'm reasonably sure you'll find is that the immigration you're talking about was just that--not illegal aliens. A cultural value for Americans, along with individualism and personal responsibility, is respect for the law, and that hasn't changed in more than 200 years.

    You'll find discrimination in any culture--from China, India and Japan to Mexico and Africa. In fact, the recent brouhaha over Pres. Fox's comments on African-Americans led to protests by Mexico's Black Community at their poor treatment. And let us not forget Mexico's treatment of its indigenous peoples, or Japan's of its, or China of the Tartars and Muslims, not to mention Christians. India's Hindus and Muslims have violent conflicts, not to mention the terrorist Tamil Tigers. In Africa, Arabs are trying to ethnically cleanse Sudan of its Blacks. In Egypt, Christian Copts are a persecuted minority. We just don't hear about them that much, partly because these governments have more control over their press and partly because our own press is so highly homogenized and syndicated these days.

    For that matter, immigration to these countries is extremely difficult, far more so than the US. If I wanted to retire to a nice warm beach in Mexico, I'd have to prove I had the financial resources, and there would be zero tolerance for illegal immigrants.

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  • ImmortalE
    replied
    As the 1920's rolled on, immigration to the United States increased. Many different cultures and people of different ethnicities came together, merging their cultural traditions. On an epic scale, the J*** scene was HOT! Music invented by the African Americans took America and its youths by storm, further influencing and advocating the "looseness" and party-going lifestyle of the 1920's. Parties were getting crazier and dances such as the Charleston were being introduced into the mainstream social life. An Asian game, Mah jongg, had taken over the past-times of most youths. While artists, inventors and thinkers of various nationalities were changing the world as well as American culture. Brazen free-thinking social reformers were leaving "status-quo" old-timers in bewilderment. Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois were advocating black protest. Labor leader John L. Lewis was battling business. Margaret Sanger and Mary Ware Dennett were shocking sensibilities with their open talk about birth-control clinics and contraceptives. Mahatma Gandhi was working to bring the sun down on the British Empire. Aldo Leopold was raising consciousness about nature.


    However, while multi-culturalism spread throughout the United States during the 1920's, animosity among "white" Americans also grew towards the immigrants. From the battle over teaching evolution (the Scopes trial of 1925) and the freedom of speech issues considered in the Supreme Court case of immigrant Rosika Schwimmer in 1929, to the balancing of the rights within society against the rights of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Americans in the 1920s confronted serious fundamental constitutional issues that American society has yet to resolve. Many of the originally labeled (white) Americans felt threatened by these new cultures and feared it would lead to the deterioration of their own culture. Through Tom's character Fitzgerald reflects this notion, "The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be"”will be utterly submerged . . . . . . . . . . Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white." --F.S. Fitzgerald (Great Gatsby). Tom is a character who thrives on his own sense of control. However, when this is disrupted by his own hedonistic actions, Tom is ready confrontation and is willing to do whatever extreme measures are necessary to maintain control. This same sentiment was shared by the "older generation" of the 1920's. This led to restrictions on immigration, marking a significant change in American policy.


    For the first 15 years of 20th century over 13 million people came to U.S. But for some time public sentiment against unrestricted immigration had been growing. The United States no longer thought of itself as having a great internal empire to settle and was no longer willing to accept vast hordes of immigrants. This was expressed through a series of measures, culminating the Immigration Quota Law of 1924 and a 1929 act. These limited the number of annual immigrants to 150,000, which was divided up among peoples of various nationalities. Many immigrants were of other religions such as Jewish or Catholic faith. This alarmed many older Americans who were predominately Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. They were now in competition with the immigrants for jobs, wages and also the newcomers threatened the "American way of life" by bringing their "old world" customs to American society which seemed to resist assimilation. As a result, anti-semitism toward the immigrants intensified. Emerging in the form of a group known as the Ku Klux Klan. Recruiting native-born white Protestants, they took violent actions towards Jews, Catholics, African Americans and immigrants in general. Due to sentiments, such as the one held by Tom Buchanan, immigration and immigrants suffered through racism within the walls of "the land of the free."

    (From website dedicated to "Great Gatsby")

    Leave a comment:


  • ImmortalE
    started a topic Immigration and Racism of the 1920's

    Immigration and Racism of the 1920's

    As the 1920's rolled on, immigration to the United States increased. Many different cultures and people of different ethnicities came together, merging their cultural traditions. On an epic scale, the J*** scene was HOT! Music invented by the African Americans took America and its youths by storm, further influencing and advocating the "looseness" and party-going lifestyle of the 1920's. Parties were getting crazier and dances such as the Charleston were being introduced into the mainstream social life. An Asian game, Mah jongg, had taken over the past-times of most youths. While artists, inventors and thinkers of various nationalities were changing the world as well as American culture. Brazen free-thinking social reformers were leaving "status-quo" old-timers in bewilderment. Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois were advocating black protest. Labor leader John L. Lewis was battling business. Margaret Sanger and Mary Ware Dennett were shocking sensibilities with their open talk about birth-control clinics and contraceptives. Mahatma Gandhi was working to bring the sun down on the British Empire. Aldo Leopold was raising consciousness about nature.


    However, while multi-culturalism spread throughout the United States during the 1920's, animosity among "white" Americans also grew towards the immigrants. From the battle over teaching evolution (the Scopes trial of 1925) and the freedom of speech issues considered in the Supreme Court case of immigrant Rosika Schwimmer in 1929, to the balancing of the rights within society against the rights of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Americans in the 1920s confronted serious fundamental constitutional issues that American society has yet to resolve. Many of the originally labeled (white) Americans felt threatened by these new cultures and feared it would lead to the deterioration of their own culture. Through Tom's character Fitzgerald reflects this notion, "The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be"”will be utterly submerged . . . . . . . . . . Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white." --F.S. Fitzgerald (Great Gatsby). Tom is a character who thrives on his own sense of control. However, when this is disrupted by his own hedonistic actions, Tom is ready confrontation and is willing to do whatever extreme measures are necessary to maintain control. This same sentiment was shared by the "older generation" of the 1920's. This led to restrictions on immigration, marking a significant change in American policy.


    For the first 15 years of 20th century over 13 million people came to U.S. But for some time public sentiment against unrestricted immigration had been growing. The United States no longer thought of itself as having a great internal empire to settle and was no longer willing to accept vast hordes of immigrants. This was expressed through a series of measures, culminating the Immigration Quota Law of 1924 and a 1929 act. These limited the number of annual immigrants to 150,000, which was divided up among peoples of various nationalities. Many immigrants were of other religions such as Jewish or Catholic faith. This alarmed many older Americans who were predominately Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. They were now in competition with the immigrants for jobs, wages and also the newcomers threatened the "American way of life" by bringing their "old world" customs to American society which seemed to resist assimilation. As a result, anti-semitism toward the immigrants intensified. Emerging in the form of a group known as the Ku Klux Klan. Recruiting native-born white Protestants, they took violent actions towards Jews, Catholics, African Americans and immigrants in general. Due to sentiments, such as the one held by Tom Buchanan, immigration and immigrants suffered through racism within the walls of "the land of the free."

    (From website dedicated to "Great Gatsby")
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