Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: AMERICANIZING IMMIGRANTS

Thursday, March 05, 2009



The period between 1890 and 1920 witnessed a huge migration of immigrants to American, primarily from Eastern Europe and the southern tier of Italy. Upon arrival, they were widely employed as a cheap work force for American industries. The impact of this migration upon the social fabric of the United States was enormous. The face of America was changing, by 1920 over half the people in the U.S. were either immigrants, or the children of immigrants.
Among white, middle-class, native-born Americans, the shifting demographic sands stirred up the considerable alarm. There was a sense that, unless transformed, these newcomers; "educated by unfamiliar and baneful social, political and/or religious outlooks," would undermine traditional American values.

American has always been seen as the land of promise, giving many individuals hope and aspiration to have a complete future, offering nothing but good. This good is seen in many types of media, i.e. television, newspapers, and even celebrities. Being a child from a immigrant parent, I see the struggle my father poses to be Americanize. He takes all the dead-end jobs most Americans wouldn't dare do and for least money at times. He constantly watches political on television and reads them in newspapers, just to keep up socially on the gossip that lurks around construction sites. He constantly expresses to me the discrimination that he sees in his peers eyes when another immigrant is hired over a middle-class white American or low-class African American to which most of those jobs are given to.

Joseph Berger, a metropolitan reporter and education columnist for The Times and author of a new book, “The World in a City: Traveling the Globe Through the Neighborhoods of the New New York,” moderated the panel. Mr. Berger was born in the Soviet Union and lived in displaced persons camps until age 5, when his family immigrated to New York. He recalled walking around the city with his younger brother and a friend. In that era, the 1950s, he said, “New York was fairly bland.”
He added:

"Most of the faces we saw were slightly different shades of European beige. The
rest of the world was barely represented, except for what was then a tourist
oddity like Chinatown. Today, the city’s reputation for ethnic variety is
finally true, stunningly so."

Sixty percent of New York City residents are immigrants or children of immigrants, Mr. Berger said, and neighborhoods are being remade as older immigrant groups, like the Irish and Italians, continue a decades-long immigration to the suburbs. Mr. Berger cited the Chinese and Koreans in Flushing, the Dominicans in Washington Heights and the West Bronx, the Guyanese in Richmond Hill, the Caribbeans in East Flatbush, the South Asians in Jackson Heights, the growing Chinese population in Bensonhurt and the polyglot mix of Arabs, Brazilians and Bangladeshis in Astoria.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post and an interesting discussion of recent immigration. Are the modern foreign language media still used for Americanization?

[A couple of minor formatting issues: First, is the section in italics at the beginning of your post a quotation? If so, then use quotation marks and format it a a quotation by indenting. Also cite your source clearly; Second, the name of link to the New York Times article should be just the name of the article not the actual URL. Try to make your links using the icon in the menu bar. Also, try not to leave so many blank lines in your post.]

3/18/2009 11:40 AM  

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