Immigration and “White” Replacement

Established groups in America have always feared immigrants; but should they?

Shefali O'Hara

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Photo by Fabian Fauth on Unsplash

I grew up in New York City, so I was around people who didn’t look like me since I was a child. I never thought anything of it. After all, I grew up not too far from the Statue of Liberty. I grew up knowing that the United States was a nation of immigrants since my classmates in grade school came from all over the world. My best friends were from Pakistan, Columbia, and Greece. Or, their parents were.

However, some people who grew up in a mostly white America are feeling threatened by the increased numbers of Hispanic and Asian Americans. Once upon a time, most immigrants to the United States seemed to come from Europe. That has changed.

Of course, when the majority of our immigrants were coming from places like Ireland and Italy, those ethnic groups were treated pretty badly.

Image from the Daily Beast article found here: https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-teen-who-exposed-a-professors-myth

There were signs posted about “no dogs or Irish” and there were cartoons featuring the Irish as distinctly simian. When John F. Kennedy was elected as president, it was a really big deal, partly because he was a Catholic.

When Al Smith, who served as Governor of New York for four terms, ran for president as the Democratic Party’s candidate in 1928, he was the first Roman Catholic to be nominated. He had to deal with enormous anti-Catholic sentiment as many Protestants believed that the Pope would be in charge of our government if he were elected.

This was despite his many achievements as New York’s governor, serving people of various ethnicities and religions without apparent bias.

Then there were the Italians.

Source: Amazon

A friend of mine who grew up in Texas told me that when his grandmother came to America as a child, her family originally settled in Alabama. This was during Jim Crow. Italians were not considered white, so they lived in the same part of town as…

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Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.