Posted by: Terri Johnston Fraracci | April 17, 2016

Just how difficult is it to become an accepted American? History tells the story

The NY Times published an article on August 7, 2010 entitled, “Across Nation, Mosque Projects Meet Opposition”. In the article Dr. Mansoor Mirza, a Wisconsin doctor who had a similar experience with a building he owned, said this: “Every new group coming to this country – Jews, Catholics, Irish, Germans, Japanese – has gone through this,” Dr. Mirza said. “Now I think it’s our turn to pay the price, and eventually we will be coming out of this, too.”

Interesting point! So is the opposition to Muslims in America directly tied to the 9/11 tragedy as well as other unspeakable acts committed by Muslim terrorists? Are we opposed to the tenets of their religion? Or must Muslims also follow the path of previous immigrants; suffering prejudice, judgment, and abuse until Americans (almost all of which descend from immigrants themselves) accept them as the majority has finally accepted previous groups.

Fast forward to 2016: “67% of the educators questioned reported hearing students of color — Muslims and Latinos especially, but also African-Americans and others — express fear for their and their families’ futures after the election was 0ver. More than 33% reported a general rise in nasty comments about Muslims and immigrants.”

“One of my students who is Muslim is worried that he will have to wear a microchip identifying him as Muslim.”

You can read more about that here.

Let’s take a look at some of the immigrant history in the United States of America:

The Irish – “In 1840, nearly half of all immigrants arriving in the United States had come from Ireland.
While these immigrants received a cool reception from a xenophobic America at first, over time Irish Americans began to thrive in every facet of this country. They have a great tradition of political service, with notable examples being John F. Kennedy, Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, and Al Smith, the first major party Catholic presidential candidate. The Irish are also known for their contribution to the arts, specifically the written word, with great authors including F. Scott Fitzgerald, playwright Eugene O’Neill, and short story writer Flannery O’Conner. Famous athletes of Irish descent include Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, legendary heavyweight champions John L. Sullivan, Jack Dempsey, and James J. Braddock, and tennis great Jimmy Connors
.” –


Jews – “During early colonization, the number of Jewish immigrants in America was low. In fact, it took nearly one half century from the founding of Jamestown in 1607, the first colony in the new world, before the first recorded Jewish immigrant came to America.  Once in America, they found that New Amsterdam in many ways was no different from where they came. They were treated as separate citizens. They could not engage in retail trade, practice handicrafts, hold public position, serve in the militia or practice their religion in a synagogue or in gatherings.

From the very first Jewish immigrants to those arriving today in the 21st Century, the purpose for their immigration to America has been freedom and opportunity. As a result of Jewish immigration, some of Americas greatest cultural icons have emerged.

Consider a history of American movies without Samuel Goldwyn. American music without George and Ira Gershwin, Benny Goodman, and Leonard Bernstein. American song without Irving Berlin, Al Jolson and Oscar Hammerstein II. American opera without Robert Merrill, Roberta Peters, Richard Tucker or Beverly Sills. American magic without Harry Houdini. American jurisprudence without Louis Brandies. American theater without Arthur Miller or Lillian Hellman. American baseball without Hank Greenberg or Sandy Koufax. American fashion without Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein.

Imagine also the course of American physics without Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer or Leo Szilard. Imagine American medicine without Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin. Imagine the world of American finance without Henry Morgenthau or Bernard Baruch. American business without Levi Strauss or Helena Rubenstein.” – AILF Overview of U.S. Jewish Immigration History  

Mexicans“The lynching of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the Southwest has long been overlooked in American history. This may be due to the fact that most historical records categorized Mexican, Chinese, and Native American lynching victims as white. It is estimated that at least 597 Mexican Americans were lynched between 1848 and 1928.  Most of these lynchings were not instances of “frontier justice”–of the 597 total victims, only 64 were lynched in areas which lacked a formal judicial system. The majority of lynching victims were denied access to a trial while others were convicted in unfair trials. Between 1848 and 1860, at least 163 Mexicans were lynched in California alone. One particularly infamous lynching occurred on July 5, 1851 when a Mexican woman named Josefa Segovia was lynched by a mob in Downieville, California. She was accused of killing a white man who had attempted to assault her after breaking into her home.

Anti-Mexican mob violence and intimidation resulted in Mexicans being displaced from their lands, denied access to natural resources, and becoming politically disenfranchised.” – Wikipedia . “Mexican-Americans have a long list of people who have contributed to the well-being and growth of America as well.” – Wikipedia.

The above is just a small glimpse at what some of our immigrants have gone through to be accepted in America and what they have in turned contributed. There are many more groups and many more stories. Some of those mentioned by the doctor and in this article can consider their experience with prejudice for the most part history. Others still suffer a range of degrees of discrimination today. Others that responded to America’s welcome.


the new coll

A reminder of what the plaque by The Statue of Liberty says to those who are invited, but then must fight to fit in:

Is our nation still a refuge; the home of opportunity, freedom, equality, and second chances? Or is our welcome mat decorated with a lie? Where is our sense of integrity? Would you welcome someone into your home and then treat them like they don’t belong there?  It’s time to take a look at the growing chasm between who Americans say they are and how they behave. Do we welcome immigrants with open arms or not? Our actions need to match our words.

What do our spiritual leaders say about love, fear, and prejudice?

love is what

Love is what we are.

What would they do?

What would love do?

What will you do?

I know what I will do: I will keep living, speaking, modeling, and sharing love. Because I know that there are only two emotions – love and fear; and fear drives hate, and hate fuels the fire of prejudice.

This means that my love must be for both the victim and the perpetrator, because in their entanglement in fear they are both victims. My love must be for all Americans, all immigrants, all of my brothers and sisters.

My love must be my purpose, my message, my way.



 What will you do?

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