Disdain for Foreigners is as American as Apple Pie

Posted on July 7, 2007. Filed under: immigration, racism, Team America |

Hat tip to Kyle de Beausset over at Immigration Orange.

Kenneth C. Davis, author of “Don’t Know Much About History,” has written an op-ed piece for the New York Times entitled The Founding Fathers.

Kenneth C. Davis says, “Disdain for what is foreign is, sad to say, as American as apple pie, slavery and lynching.”

Some excerpts:

Scratch the surface of the current immigration debate and beneath the posturing lies a dirty secret. Anti-immigrant sentiment is older than America itself. Born before the nation, this abiding fear of the “huddled masses” emerged in the early republic and gathered steam into the 19th and 20th centuries, when nativist political parties, exclusionary laws and the Ku Klux Klan swept the land.

As we celebrate another Fourth of July, this picture of American intolerance clashes sharply with tidy schoolbook images of the great melting pot. Why has the land of “all men are created equal” forged countless ghettoes and intricate networks of social exclusion? Why the signs reading “No Irish Need Apply”? And why has each new generation of immigrants had to face down a rich glossary of now unmentionable epithets? Disdain for what is foreign is, sad to say, as American as apple pie, slavery and lynching.

That fence along the Mexican border now being contemplated by Congress is just the latest vestige of a venerable tradition, at least as old as John Jay’s “wall of brass.” “Don’t fence me in” might be America’s unofficial anthem of unfettered freedom, but too often the subtext is, “Fence everyone else out.”

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