Expert Answer:Race And Ethnicity History Of Immigration To The U


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Race and Ethnicity it) the
United States:
Our Differencesand Our Roots
Reid Luhman
Eastern Kentucky University
Australia • Canada • Mexico • Singapore • Spain • United Kingdom • United States
The “NrJJ lmmigt ·tmtI ” a11dtht 014 Minoriiia: I UO-J Mi • t 79
TO Tt-lE
Northwestern Europew
Southeatem Europe…n
‘Each point on gnph includes
live:year tona!sbc:gfoning
with yco.rlisted.
:i :::
New Immigrants from Europe
The United States rece ived much of its modern character from European immigni nt s who arrived between J880 and 1914. The ir numbers alone-26 million new
Americans-w uld Jea·e a perm2nent m.r · Although 11n11ugrnnts
continued co
co111efrom Ger111-.iny
(both Proum11n1 and Catholic), , candinn ia, 2nd the Bmish
Isles, snurhca. tern Europe w~. the SOlrce of mosr (Figure 6. 1). People from C4~t·
cm Genmny, Poland, Russia, July, Greece. Hunl!’ary- all the lav1c counmcSarrivcd in cw York harbor looking for opporrun i~•. ffeeing Oppre~. inn. or both.
pAcc constraints prohlhu doing even minimal 1us ice to this mass of humonicy.
Ra, than rrymg w 1ell tou many scories, we focu. on two groups-Jt~r.~~s
and casrern l:uropc11nJew-to provide a A.a,·oro the ,i1..-ersm·of the..senew 11nm1gr~m.sand 1he dme in istory !.heyarrived. Thcs rwo grou p5, ere ~clccml for
·che s11,e of rhclr ,mmtl!’ration plus their cultural di f..rcnccs from m~m rrcam 1880.
The Italians
The first Italians co enter the United States were men, either single or craveli.og
out their wives and children. ~vpicaUy,they were of working-age uns1:Wed(44 per·
cent), and illitt:race (Brown, 1989; Cohen M, J 992)..The primary go:il
masc was
to earn moner in the new country and rerurn home ni th it ns they had m me past
(Cohen M, 1992). Now ch~tthe Atlantic crossing was quicker, Sil er, and chuper wlth
the coming of the steamship, it was possible for these men to go back ~ndforth several times before finall}’bringing their familiesover. ln many cases, 11
i es and children
would remain i-nItaly for decades before being permanentl · reunit ed with the_ir hus·
bands and fathers. By J 900, the Italian community 1n the United Smcs w-..ssoll only
:5 percent women (Friedman-Kaaba, J996).
Al, with most European unmigrants Ii-omthe mld-J800s on, most ltahans became
urlr.init~ Ut the Un1~d totes. B the 1880s, almost all European immigrants were
heing routed thruugh the immigration processing cemer on Ellis Island in ~e New
Yorkharbor. Aft1:rad01iss
lon, 1 ·e-i· YorkCity was their first ei-perienceof Amenca. One
I RO• Part Two C= of C/111rnaei,:
rmd E.tiir
Thr “Ntw /r,rwig r1111
,.;” a11dthe Old Minodr:ies:1880-1965 • 181
could ?1’d work_there .ancl move into 11p-owmg lcah:111
ethruc community “‘here life
s:emca less for:1gu. Sult, it :allowed co atte11clrh1:publit.”;chool system. Wh·cs ~nd
daughte1’Salso 11
·,irkcd, lmt d1ffc;cnc rules :ipµlie,,·rJ,11
tuch I’-‘ Ilm Jnimb b~y/II rMr/1111

Tht ”New lm111igrn111J”
the Old Mi1u,rit1u:1880-1965 • 185

later reltirneJ ro build another hotel right next co the offending one, except his ’11.-as
built cwice as large (Cohen, 1984). Other Jewish encrepreneurs continued this approac h well into the twentieth century, creating vacation resorts that catered almost
exclusivelyto Jews.
Discrimin11tionalso appeared in privste.schools, dubs, proressional organiz:itions,
and housing. Re11l
esmte in upscale neighborhoods was comm1>nlylimited by re.snicU’ecoven211is.much like their modem versions (e.g .. restrictions regarding house design) except they included listSof nicial and cthruc groups who could not buy the
property even if the current owner wished to sell to them. Such restrictions were legal until declared unconscirutional by the Supreme Court in Sh~lky v. Krr.emn-in
1948. A!:.for schools and professional organi1.:1cions,
only wealthier Jews were likely lo
encounter such problems; it would cake a generation before eastern European Jews
sought higher education -and professional c11reersfor themselves. On the case coast,
they found themselves largely limited to state instirucions of higherlearning when the
ivy-covered doors did not open.
Jews became included in a growing anti-immigration sentiment that stemmed
from the massive overall tum-of-the-century immigration. Although these attitudes
did not reach their peak until after World W~r 1, the beginnings were already pre.~ent.
In 1907, Congress a·eated the Dilllngham Commission co study the question of immigration to the lJnited States. Three years of srudy produced a forcy-cwovolume report, published in J910 and 1911. The Commission conduded rhac (l) humans come
from a wide variecyof races, which genetically determined inferiority and superiority;
(2) recent immigrants to the United States (including all Jews) were all of the inferior
type; and (3) the government should strongly consider restricting immigration (Carter
et al., I 996; Cohen, 1984). Congress took all of chis advice in 1924.

200 • Part Two Th, Casiof Char1U1m:
Entrancuand &iu

The “New lmmigr4nts” ond tbt OldMinorities: 1880-I965 • 201

T he Anti-Immigrant Twenties
One might assume that the politicalchanges that began in cheAfricanAmerican community during the 1920swould have rivetedEuropean Americ’1IIattention in that direction. Strangely enough, Africm Americnnswere reallynot seen a~all that much of
a threat during that decade; the thre2t would not be perceiveduntil the beginnings of
the Civil RighcsMovement in the l950s . During the 1920s, Protestant America was
much more focusedon Asians, Catholics,and Jews, allof whom were current 2nd potential future immigrants. An interesting collection of historical, economic, and scientific circumsi:lncesseemed to work almost in unison to …
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