Thursday, August 27, 2009

Japanese-Americans weren’t the only abused ethnicity in 20th century U.S.

Illinois state Sen. William Delgado, D-Chicago, is about to get his moment of “glory.” Every nativist nitwit will be trying to jump down his throat on account of the fact that one of his bills this spring actually got signed into law.

We’re talking about the measure Gov. Pat Quinn approved that will require schools in Illinois to include mention of the forced migration of Mexicans from the United States back during the 1930s in their U.S. history courses.

DELGADO WAS THE voice of reason that pushed for this measure, which already is upsetting those people who want to keep reliving the past and its mistakes over and over and over yet again.

The problem is that it is an embarrassing moment for the United States, whose immigration officials seemed to be incapable of figuring out what constituted a real live Mexican. Many of the 2 million who ultimately were deported were native-born U.S. citizens.

Then again, the first immigration laws written in the 1920s were designed more to keep Eastern Europeans (particularly Jewish people) out of the United States. Those first immigration restrictions specifically exempted Mexican citizens from any limitations.

It wasn’t until a decade later when some people got it into their heads that these Mexicans caused the Great Depression by “stealing” so many jobs that nativism overcame Democratic ideals.

CONSIDERING THAT IT came just one decade before the forced internment of people of Japanese ethnic backgrounds into special camps during World War II, it shows a pattern – one that would be nice if our nation were to try to break free of these days.

Those of you who would like to read more about this measure (or those of you xenophobes who want to have your blood pressure shoot sky high) should check out the Chicago Argus’ sister weblog, The South Chicagoan ( for Friday’s commentary.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Did William Delgado just write the lead of his obituary that will be published ( a few decades from now?

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