Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration

This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why did I read this? So I can sound half-way intelligent when I'm arguing with someone who wants to build a stupid wall or keep people from coming into my country because of their religion or skin color. This book is so freaking relevant.

From Chapter 1: "But if immigrants continue to live in their own communities and speak their own language, they make some Americans uncomfortable." and "Germans (many settled on farms in the Midwest) also drew criticism for being un-American because they wanted to keep speaking German, send their children to German-language schools, and develop German-language newspapers--in other words, to keep their own culture."

Substitute Muslim for Catholic and Arab for German in Chapter 1 and you have what many people who live around me believe right now. People now don't understand how the Irish or Germans were bullied and discriminated against, because they only see that their entire communities have been built on the backs of those immigrants.

I had a wtf moment in Chapter 3: "It wasn't until the 1940s that Asians from some countries were allowed to become citizens. Finally, in 1952, an immigration and naturalization law removed the barriers to all Asians gaining American citizenship." Seriously? Why did I never learn about THIS in high school or as I studied for my history minor in college????

From Chapter 6: "In 2011, more suspected terrorists were caught trying to enter the United States through Canada than through Mexico, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency."

I feel like I'm a better person because I read this book--I hadn't heard of many of these previous acts by our presidents and governments, and, wow, did we make a lot of mistakes. Sad to think that we haven't learned much from them. These are the conversations we should be having in our classrooms. Civics. Bring it back, please.

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