The history of America’s treatment of the “poor and huddled masses” tells a very different story than the one we’re often accustomed to hearing, one of hostility and exclusion toward outsiders who looked to America to live up to its promise. Contrary to popular belief, the poor and huddled masses were never welcome in America.
On this episode, we discuss America’s dark history of demonizing and excluding immigrants, and how the current xenophobia and racism exhibited by the Trump administration toward Mexican and Muslim immigrants and refugees is only the latest chapter in a long series of immigrant panics. Included in our survey is the anti-Catholic conspiracy theories of the nineteenth century, the discrimination and harassment experienced by German-Americans during WWI, the mass internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, and the unfounded fear of Jewish immigrants and refugees from Nazi Germany. We also discuss why the concept of race has no validity in science and use statistics and evidence to debunk present-day fears of Muslim “terrorists.”
Joining me as my special guest for this uncomfortable but hugely relevant and important discussion is Robert E. Bartholomew, one of the two authors of the book “American Intolerance: Our Dark History of Demonizing Immigrants” (Prometheus Books, 2018). Bartholomew is an American-born medical sociologist, journalist, and human rights advocate who currently serves as a history instructor at Botany College, in Auckland, New Zealand. He has written 15 books and published more than 60 articles in a number of professional journals. According to his website, Dr. Bartholomew “has written on an array of topics ranging from human social and cultural diversity, to mass hysteria, social delusions, moral panics, fads, collective behavior, the history of tabloid journalism, history of the paranormal, popular myths and folklore.”
Robert E. Bartholomew’s website: https://robertebartholomew.com/.
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The opening clip is an excerpt from the audiobook “God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, courtesy of Hachette Audio. Text Copyright 2007 by Christopher Hitchens. Audio production copyright 2007, Hachette Audio. Used with permission.
The opening and ending music is “Jade” by Esther Nicholson and is used under license.
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