“So when the Irish, when Germans, when Italians were coming, and they didn’t speak the language and they didn’t know the culture, the idea was they will assimilate into Americanhood; they will become American, which in the American tradition has meant white American. But that melting pot never included people of color. Blacks, Chinese, Puerto Ricans, etcetera, could not melt into the pot. They could be used as wood to produce the fire for the pot, but they could not be used as material to be melted into the pot.”
To read more of.
I think it’s important to note that the first wave of Irish immigrants were treated like rodents.
I think it’s also important to note that the identity of being “American” didn’t pop out of thin air. It took a long time to develop, because they were British colonists first and then they were loyal to states which led to the Civil War.
One of the things the 18th century British empire had in common with the new American nation was that they both had principles of liberty. Britain had parliament, America had its whole thing going on… but both practiced slavery. The principles of freedom, democracy and liberty were hypocritical because they weren’t put into practice on their “subject” peoples, even as they lauded themselves for the rights they gave themselves.
This changed over time. And America had a hard time with its initially mostly-white population taking in first the huge swathes of Mexican territory after the Mexican War (with it millions of former Mexicans), then freeing the black slaves, and so on.
The problem with this quote is that it takes history out of context. America, just like most countries, figured things out as it went along and it reacted to situations as they happened, sometimes regressing and sometimes rolling with the times. There was no great initial plan to say “Let’s let everyone come here, but let’s let the coloured peoples do the crappy work.”
It just happened, with various tragedies along the way, but there was no great White Person Plan for America.
Whoa, is this real?
There was no great initial plan to say “Let’s let everyone come here, but let’s let the coloured peoples do the crappy work.” —Of course there was. People from Africa were brought (by White Europeans) across the Atlantic to the Americas specifically to labor without pay, specifically to do the “crappy work”, and their identity as enslaved workers outside of respectable society was marked specifically by their physical appearance, because they were “coloured” as you say. From the earliest years of the colonial period people were brought to the US and the rest of the Americas from Africa specifically to work. Black slavery and the life of Black communities across the continent played out in a variety of ways depending on a number of variables, but the condition of Blacks on this continent was always dependent on being the people who were initially brought here to do the “crappy work”. Indigenous peoples across the continent were also exploited for their labor, and treated quite differently from the White European colonists specifically because of their perceived racial and ethnic traits, both in Latin America and in the United States. Basically all non-Whites who have come to the continent have come here to do work, Chinese immigrants in the West Coast on the US, Irish and Italian immigrants before their communities were subsumed into the larger category of White American, South Asian indentured servants in the British colonies in the Caribbean, even now lots of non-Whites come to the US with work visas, to work, and their value to and integration with US society is predicated on what they can produce, on how educated they are and what their labor contributes to society. And poor Mexicans and Central Americans cross the border into the US to work, to “do the works Americans won’t do” as people say, to do the “crappy work”. Non-whites have always been associated with “crappy work” in the Americas since White Europeans took control over much of the continent in the colonial period. Even right now, what was the most popular cinematic representation of “coloured peoples” as you say in the US last year? The Help, a movie were a group of Black women are employed as maids, doing the “crappy work” that their white mistresses apparently can’t or won’t do despite the fact that they don’t seem to be busy doing anything else. The “coloured peoples” have always been associated with “crappy work”. The value of non-whites in the US has always been tied with up labor, with work, crappy or otherwise. Non-white minorities are characterized by work: either they sterotypically work hard, being particularly good at specific labor (asians are good at math, black men are good at sports), or they’re too lazy and are taking all the resources. Their value is tied up with work. White people’s value as americans and as citizens is almost never characterized as a function of their labor at all.
And what do you mean “let’s LET everyone come here”? Who’s saying that, who’s saying “let’s let everyone come HERE”? The indigenous people who were here the whole time? No, right? You’re creating an argument where White Americans are in power by default already, and you don’t explain how this happened, and you say they are deciding who they “let” in “their” country or not.
And America had a hard time with its initially mostly-white population taking in first the huge swathes of Mexican territory after the Mexican War (with it millions of former Mexicans), then freeing the black slaves, and so on.—You can only refer to the population of the US as “initially mostly-white” if you take an incredibly Euro-centric point of view that pretty much erases the existence and importance of indigenous people, you know, the original inhabitants of the entire American continent, including the US. White people were only the majority in very particular areas where they settled and which they took from the Native Americans that were already living there, the areas where they were (and are) the majority were created by force. This isn’t just minor growing pains as you seem to characterize it. And there weren’t “millions of former Mexicans” in the territory that was taken by the US after the Mexican-American War. And “freeing the black slaves, and so on” is just a minor blip, apparently.
It just happened, with various tragedies along the way, but there was no great White Person Plan for America. — I saw this post on the Lati-negr@s tumblr. I have to say that I don’t usually reblog and respond to people that much in this blog, where I just pretty much post random facts about Latin America or whatever, and I certainly don’t respond to people who do not address this blog directly, but this has to be one of the most incredibly crass, dismissive statements about the history of the Americas I have ever read in my entire life. And typed out so casually on tumblr! I honesly cannot believe this is real. So colonialism, Black slavery, the genocide of indigenous people, violence on the part of Whites against non-Whites in this continent and in the US in particular for hundreds of years can just be summed up casually as “various tragedies along the way”? Along the way to what? “There was no great White Person Plan for America”? Are you serious? Of course there was. I don’t even know what to say.
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