Saturday, April 1, 2017

This Land Is Our Land

This Land Is Our Land

YA/adult nonfiction
"Both of these ways of looking at immigration--openness to all
or restrictions for some--are part of our heritage. In the early
twenty-first century, we still debate about who and how many should be
allowed into our country, and if and when they should be allowed to
become citizens. Some Americans think of the United States as
multicultural, made stronger by the diversity of different ethnic
groups. Others think that there should be one American culture and
that it is up to the immigrant to adapt to it. Still others have
believed that some immigrant groups are incapable of adapting and
should not be permitted to stay."
Linda Barrett Osborne, author of This Land Is Our Land: A
History of American Immigration, is a descendent of immigrants. All
eight of her great-grandparents were born in Italy. My English,
Scotch, Welsh, and German ancestors stepped off the boat at some
points in history. My husband's family takes pride in Mayflower
lineage. Unless you are 100% native American, at least one of your
forebears came from somewhere else.
With a sitting president who has tried twice in his first
hundred days to prevent people from certain Muslim majority nations
from entering this country, immigrant and refugee issues are very much
in the news. The spectrum of attitudes Osborne described (see top
paragraph) is alive and well. Many people are afraid that we'll shut
the door on people in dire peril in their countries of origin or let
in dangerous terrorists. Tempers run high in all camps.
It can be a challenge for teens or adults to sort through the
conflicting viewpoints. This Land Is Our Land is a wonderful source
of background information. It covers our America's national
ambivalence toward newcomers from the days of the colonies (Did you
know that George Washington was opposed to immigration?) to the twenty-
first century. But it does not do this in a vacuum. It shows that
factors such as economics are very much a part of this evolution. In
the beginning of the twentieth century, for example, misunderstandings
about genetics led to restrictions on admitting southern and eastern
Europeans who might intermarry and weaken Anglo Saxon superior stock.
The text is highly readable and broken up by many eye catching
photographs and other illustrations. There is a good balance of
narrative and background. I would highly recommend This Land Is Our
Land to anyone wishing for more lucid insight into a very
controversial issue.
On a personal note, when my children were much younger we attended the
Universalist Unitarian church up to Bangor. For awhile a woman named
Jonette gave us rides. Sadly her favorite topic was America for the
native born. As a big fan of the statue of liberty and her timeless
message, I would spend the entire ride fighting with her. This
exhibition of adults being less than well behaved, particularly after
worship, was probably not in the best interests of our impressionable
captive audience.
A great big shout out goes out to today's immigrants and all who work
on their behalf.
jules hathaway
PS Weather is big news today in Maine with another possibly big storm
closing in on us. There are cancellations galore in the southern part
of the state. Hopefully this won't affect the UMaine dance marathon
to help children's miracle network. I plan to dance the night away.

Sent from my iPod

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