The Irish Need Not Apply

» New York Times, Timothy Egan: Not Like Us

Donald Trump is attracting quite a following with his comments about Mexican immigrants:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

(And Ted Cruz endorses him!)

This NYT Op-Ed by Timothy Egan reminds us of history. Before the Mexicans, there were the Chinese, and before them… as Egan describes,

They were criminals — thugs and thieves — a single ethnic group that filled the jails of big cities. “Scum unloaded on American wharves,” one speaker in Philadelphia said of them. Dirty, filthy, foreign. As for their children, they were “utterly ignorant of a place such as school,” The New York Herald reported.

The Irish, in the 1850s. (Hello! My name is Mark Kelly, with a family line aligned to Ireland and the Isle of Man.) Anyone remember from their history books, The Irish need not apply?

Every era has its immigrants to demonize, and there is always a (lower) class of American society eager to demonize the outsiders. Trump is tapping into the Republican base enthusiastic to do so. He will win his base, and lose in any larger election.

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