Looks Like A Distinction Without a Difference on Refugees
It seems that many want to ignore or disregard appeals to historical parallels such as our nation’s callous response to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. They have labeled these comparisons as bogus for there was no worldwide Jewish supremacist movement engaged in massive acts of terrorism on virtually every continent.
Distinction Without A Difference
Certainly FDR shoulders a big portion of the blame, but it was above all else a failure of the American people. The polling from the time on the issue shows Americans were largely opposed to letting Jews in from Europe even in 1939. The federal government certainly didn’t make these decisions in a vacuum.
Similar to what we hear today, one of the excuses the anti-refugee crowd used at that time was that Jewish refugees would undermine America and our Democracy. They pointed to the fact that some Jews, like Leon Trotsky, had been involved in Communist and other revolutionary movements in Europe and argued that for every group of innocent jews allowed in, some smaller segment would sow discord and become a drain on the country. As a result, most of the world closed their doors to the jewish people and the result was a horrific genocide.
In addition to religion, these refugees being different linguistically, culturally, and racially is also put forth as a reason to exclude them. These same claims were made about Jewish refugees including claims that they hadn’t and wouldn’t assimilate, wouldn’t embrace the English language, and that they would take jobs away from “real” americans and driving wages down.
We’re talking about a program to take in 10,000 refugees, and the collective world as we know it will end let some people tell it. It seems that the degree of “whiteness” is the key point of differentiation in some people’s minds. There are actually plenty of parallels here in spite of claims to the contrary.