It Takes A Village – VNV Tuesday: Immigration Threatens Us 3/15/17

“The High Tide of Immigration — A National Menace” (1903)

Continuing my look at our unspoken, unstudied history through historical images, this week’s topic is immigration. For those who are not solely descendents of either First Nations’ people or slaves, immigration is a shared legacy. And yet, our history shows our ongoing uneasiness with the Other, however that is defined at any given period in our history. Reactions were often harsh, mean-spirited, and without compassion, and defined the newest wave with the ugliest of racial, religious, and ethnic stereotypes. Sound familiar?

We have amnesia about our own immigrant history.

“Looking Backward”
Joseph Keppler (1893)

There’s always someone who won’t ever fit in.

The Mortar of Assimilation-and the One Element That Won’t Mix

Ideologies, not just country of origin, have threatened us too.

An Anarchist Threatens America (1919)

Immigrants are ticking time bombs, just waiting to destroy the American way of life.

If Otherness isn’t enough, blame them anyway.

“The kind of ‘assisted emigrant’ we can not afford to admit.” (1883)

Fear is an equal opportunity emotion.

Original caption: Where The Blame Lies. Judge (to Uncle Sam)–“If Immigration was properly Restricted you would no longer be troubled with Anarchy, Socialism, the Mafia and such kindred evils!” 1891

Lack of knowledge of our own past has created the chasm we face today.

Will we ever learn and embrace our true potential; our better angels?

About DoReMI 165 Articles
Now a Michigander, by way of Ohio, Illinois, Scotland, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. Gardener. Sewer. Democrat. Resister.


  1. Thanks, DoReMI!

    I need more coffee before I can contribute to this conversation, but thank you for starting it for us.

  2. all of my grandparents were immigrants so I was familiar with this history. What has disappointed me the most are my cousins who having arrived here safely are adamantly demanding that the door be slammed shut behind them. They profess to be Christians so I am content to let their God with his standards judge them while all I do is ignore them.

    • It’s like people believe in some sort of American Immaculate Conception, isn’t it? And yet First Peoples are treated with contempt and hate, and we’ve been told that forced servitude is just another way of saying immigration. How did we grow to this level of stupidity?

      • {{{DoReMI}}} – largely self-serving selfishness and short-sighted greed, not stupidity. It only comes under the heading of stupidity when you define stupidity as refusal to accept facts contrary to what I want to believe. And to these folks “always” means “within living memory” – if nobody alive remembers who were the immigrants in the family, then we’ve “always” been here.

  3. Good morning DoReMI! Hi Meeses! Immigrant post is very powerful. It’s chilly here with a hint of sun. I’m sleepy. Also random. :)

      • Well damn, I may be more creative and less scattered than I thought! Good article, Ink, thanks for “randomly” sharing it.

      • Yep. I think of it as the unconscious mind processing. We have a conscious self and an unconscious self, which as I have come to conceptualize it, is actually more like 80% where the conscious is maybe 10 or 15 %. The conscious mind reasons in a binary fashion, the unconscious reasons radially. I’ve thought for a while that the unconscious might not experience time in a linear fashion, deja-vu, precognition and similar out of sequence events being accessed via the unconscious.

        When I started trying to train myself to be a better writer, I stumbled on the best creative writing book ever, Dorothea Brande’s Becoming Writer, which is not about style or any of the mechanics, it’s about training your mind to access your creative faculty. To me, that creative faculty is the unconscious or is an aspect of it.

        The idea that random isn’t actually random is the basis for most divining practices.

        • The idea that random isn’t actually random is the basis for most divining practices.


        • Gosh, Momentary, I used to own that book years ago. It probably went during The Great Downsizing of 2015. Perhaps I’ll get a used copy. The thought of unpacking the books we have left makes me quail.

          It is, as you say, a wonderful book.

  4. Thanks for the diary, DoReMi. Excellent points. Our fear of immigration…of those who don’t “look like us”…Is not helping our country be as great as it could be. 49 right now and headed to a high of 78. Can’t wait until next week and highs in the 60’s. More coffee. Must have more.

  5. {{{DoReMI}}} – thank you so much for doing double duty – here and at DK. Both diaries are very informative and well-written. Now all I have to do is carve out some time to actually followup on the very good suggestions. But I will.

    I keep saying the current situation is like being besieged – our rights and safety are inside the castle with sturdy walls of the Constitution surrounding it. It’s up to us to keep watch and repel the attackers who are coming at us from all directions. It is also up to us to share out the duties, do our own and trust our friends, comrades, and allies to do theirs. No single one of us can do it all, but together we most certainly can. And we will.

  6. I’ve gotten to know the women at my local nail salon well enough to have real conversations with them. Learning about the reality of immigrating to the US and how difficult it is to live and work here while supporting their families in Vietnam is very humbling. Whatcom County is becoming increasingly diverse so I hope acceptance and awareness will continue to grow as well.

      • that was fascinating! I mean even out here in the sticks of west Texas there are a couple of Vietnamese nail salons and hicks get mani-pedis. I don’t because I like doing my own and of all the places I want to encounter the locals trapped in a nail salon is never going to be one of them. Since the election and a couple of disturbing encounters I am especially wary of these folks. They don’t frighten me which is good but they are stupid and stupid people represent the most serious threat we face. The worst part is that stupid people cause harm not intentionally but from stupidity. That’s why you have to be wary of them.

          • close to Odessa/Midland in a small oil field town. As awful as Odessa is it’s still better than Midland which is actually worse and full of pretentious assholes who think GWB is one of them. They have a criminal sheriff and an idot mayor who actually said on t v that Midland didn’t need to spend money on drainage because “it only floods when it rains”. They have the government they didn’t want to pay for and as long as they think they’re pushing the costs off on someone else they’re willing to live in third world conditions. I never go there, if we need something from town we go to Odessa.

  7. ‘Tis the Ides of March now, but I’m only just reading your wonderful post, DoReMI.

    My husband was an immigrant from London. He’s been naturalized for 46 years. My ancestors probably immigrated from Scotland or Ireland (the Martins, blue-eyed, red- or blond-haired) and France (the brown-eyed, black-haired Garniers). I’m pretty damn sure they didn’t have “papers.” They simply got on the ship and came over, a couple of centuries ago.

    Living in a multicultural area like Washington, DC (although we’re actually across the river, two miles from an international airport), I forget how some people fear the “Other.” I spent five years of my childhood in the Far East, so when surrounded by Asians, I feel happy and comfortable. Right now there is a dark-skinned South Indian family living in our downstairs flat. Two of my grandchildren are half-Chinese. To me the mosaic of the human race is fascinating and beautiful, just as it was to my late mother.

    Oh, well. At least we’ve made some progress. When I was a child in the 1950s, everyone on TV was always white, all the children depicted in the “See Spot run” books were whiter than sheets, and so on. At least now TV sitcoms and ads show black people and Asian people. When they start showing First Peoples in the ads, we’ll know we’ve made further progress.

    Thanks for this thought-provoking post and for reproducing Emma Lazarus’ beautiful poem. More like this, please! :)

    • My family came over from the 1860s through the 1890s (Scotland and Germany). I, too, have no idea if their “paperwork was in order”, but I do know that none of them became citizens until 10-20+ years after their arrival.

      It’s one of the reasons I get so frustrated with my sister and some of my cousins, who are firmly on the nativist, white supremacist side of the current controversy re travel bans. I’ve tried to remind them of our own family history, and they respond with, “But our family didn’t come over illegally.” Well, I’m the only one doing genealogy in the family, and if I’m not sure, I’m don’t know how they can be so sure. The second argument I get is “But they assimilated quickly…” If by “assimilated” they mean “learned to speak English”, then no. From all reports I’ve been able to gather from various cousins xtimes removed, our great-grandparents spoke broken English at best. Our grandparents with German roots, most (but not all) second-generation, also spoke German (especially when they didn’t want the grandkids to understand). It was no longer their primary language, but they didn’t give it up altogether. So this insistence that our ancestors were somehow different and better than current immigrants is based on myth and wishful thinking, not facts.

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