American Intolerance: Our Dark History of Demonizing Immigrants

Robert E. Bartholomew and Anja Reumschussel. Prometheus, $24 (288p) ISBN 978-1-63388-448-9
In this concise study, historian Bartholomew and journalist Reumschussel argue that, though some Americans claim to oppose immigration currently on economic grounds, in reality today, as in many instances over the past 200 years, immigration opponents are motivated by seeing ethnic or religious groups as socially or culturally threatening. Just as Muslims are today portrayed in the media and by immigration opponents as attempting to undermine national security, throughout the 19th century Protestant Americans feared Catholic migrants, especially those from Ireland, because they saw them as minions of the Pope; American cities saw outbreaks of violence against Catholic churches and convents. At the same time, throughout the Southwest, some despised Mexicans as “mongrels” whose alleged mental inferiority encouraged them to follow bandits or Communists, and immigrants from China were characterized in the pulp novels and tabloids of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as “pigtailed barbarians” who lived in squalor and corrupted American youth. During the World Wars, German and Japanese immigrants were accused of being enemy agents, and some American scientists’ embrace of eugenics discouraged the nation from accepting many Jewish refugees. This is not enjoyable to read, but it effectively shows that hatred and fear of immigrants is a longstanding American tradition. Agent: Scott Mendel, Mendel Media Group. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/2018
Release date: 10/23/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 270 pages - 978-1-63388-449-6
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