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Zachary Andrews Blog Post 10/5

When I read both Chapter V and Chapter IX from How the Other Half Lives, I was saddened by the things that Americans did and the way that they viewed immigrants. Unfortunately, I can’t say that everything I read was new information to me. I always knew that there was bias and discrimination against immigrants but I never truly understood the extent that those biases went to. After reading Chapter V which talks about Italian immigrants in America, I was disgusted by the way Americans treated them and classified them. The book described them, the Italians, as reluctant towards Americanizing. The chapter described that the Italians were not eager to adopt the English language whereas some of the other immigrants from nations like Poland and Germany adopted the language right away. They also talked about how the Italians were, generally speaking, liars and gamblers and we considered to be the lowest of lows in society. Chapter IX, on the other hand, talked about the Chinese immigrants that lived in the United States. The chapter talked about the dark, damp, dirty, and crowded Chinatown’s’ that were formed in cities across the United States. These towns were described to have a lot of messages and such regarding drug use and opium. The chapter also tells us that the Chinese immigrants, like the Italian immigrants, were reluctant to change their ways. More specifically, they were reluctant to adopt a new religion and change their clothes. Americans wanted the Chinese immigrants that were scattered across the nation to Americanize and convert to Christianity.

 

The excerpts that we read from Borderlands were very upsetting as well. It was very upsetting to read that people from the Latin community are being criticized for speaking their own language. A person or group of people should not feel oppressed or concerned about speaking their own language. They have the right to speak their language where they want, and when they want. Others who might not understand the language should not feel frightened/threatened if they hear someone speaking another language. A quote that resonated within me from the excerpts was, “Attacks on our native tongue diminish our sense of self.” This was heartbreaking to read. People should feel comfortable speaking their own language and simply being in their own skin when around others. They should not been attacked constantly by others who don’t even know that person. It is truly horrible to see that Americans are forcing other cultural communities to Americanize. People should have the freedom to do what they want without thinking about if they are going to be attacked by the general public.

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