In this editorial piece by Jerome Viala-Gaudefroy on The Conversation, he tries to tackle the issues plaguing American society of today and how it is similar in comparison to the America of the 1920s. Tensions brought about by racial divides are the common denominator despite the century of movements and reforms that the United States underwent. Today is merely a rehash, a resurgence of the past issues except now, there is a shift in the groups who are being targeted from Eastern and Southern Europeans to Central and Latin Americans.
Back then, just like today, rapid change in society was a prime reason for the tension – the most critical change having to do with demography and ethnicity. These changes bring back to the surface America’s original sin: a nation defined exclusively in terms of whiteness, which explains why immigration is such a hot divisive issue. Today, the fear of immigration focuses on hispanics. In the 1920s, it was centered on Southern and Eastern Europeans.
Despite the growing diversity of America and the positive benefits brought about by it, there is still a group of people in America who stick to tribal mentalities and try to push away all the people who espouse American values and the American spirit despite not being "originally from America". To think, America is a nation of immigrants in the first place, now a group of people is trying to define it through an exclusive set of traits that have nothing to do with the origins of the nation. Heck, even the original Americans are being considered outsiders in their own land. Now, America is at the cusp of a crucial point in their history. What will you do America?
(Image credit: New York Public Library)