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February 7, 2014

Challenging Anti-Immigrant Bias with Education

Criticism of immigrant policy is not an excuse to undermine the humanity of others with the kind of vitriol that dominated the internet, especially Twitter, after the Atlanta-based Coca Cola Company aired a commercial with “America the Beautiful,” sung in different languages and featuring a diversity of people during the Super Bowl.

The term immigrant is a descriptor, not a slur. However, it is often used in a pejorative way. For those who are willing to denigrate others because of immigration status, perceived immigration status, or the misguided perception that spoken language relates to immigration status, we need to make one thing clear. Bias and hate have no place in civil society.

President John F. Kennedy reminded us in his 1963 acceptance speech for ADL’s America’s Democratic Legacy Award, “The contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national life. We see it in religion, in politics, in business, in the arts, in education, and even in athletics, and entertainment. There is no part of our nation that has not been touched by our immigrant background.”

Prejudice is learned and counter speech is an important part of challenging prejudice and bias wherever we see it, including online and in our everyday lives.

Everyone can engage in counter speech by responding when they see bias and challenging misinformation. Unfortunately, instances of racism and xenophobia related to the topic of immigration are common. In addition, educators can play a unique role in addressing bias in society by using the classroom to challenge biased ideals, and in this case, challenging anti-immigrant bias among youth. The lesson plan  “Huddled Mass or Second Class: Challenging Anti-Immigrant Bias” for grades 3 to 12 can help educators move our nation closer to a more perfect, less biased nation. Don’t have the time to do a full anti-bias lesson? Familiarize yourself with some myths and facts on immigrants and immigration.

  • D.G. Williams

    It is not immigration people don’t like, it’s those people who sneak across our borders illegally. We need protected borders because in this day and age we have terrorists who come here to kill. I know personally many, many people who have immigrated to the USA. They did it legally by following the law and going through the proper procedures. They are welcome and bring their gifts to our country. I’m proud of them.

    As far as language is concerned. I support the use of one language. I have lived in countries that each ethnic or tribal group speaks a different language or dialect. It is very divisive. Remember the story in the Bible about the Tower of Babel. When my husband and I lived in foreign countries for business reasons, we were always told to learn as much of the native language because otherwise we would be putting ourselves in a bubble. Even the spouses were asked to take a quick course in the native language and use it as much as possible. How can we get along with someone and become their friend, if we cannot understand each other. When my husband’s family came to the country, they didn’t speak English. They mastered the English language fairly quickly. By the way, they came here legally.

  • Robert S.

    I’m not anti imigration. I’m anti illegal imigration. The snow flakes are illegal aliens. If you check, I would bet, not one of them has a passport or greencard. Lets deport them and send them back where they came from.

  • jerry

    Why do Jewish people push immigration so much? Why aren’t you pushing multicultialism in Japan, or Korea, or China. Why in just areas of white people like you have in Sweden. Sweden was forced into bringing in people with total different values and religion by a Jewish lady from Israel who moved to Sweden. Why do Jews push immigration? Can we as a country decide our own immigration policy? Why are you pushing for the US to let in millions of people illegally? The reason is to get more democrats to push your communist agenda. The goal of the Jew is to have all land and all people be for the Jew. I know your hatred for Christian people, I have read some of your Talmud. and I tell you this I am not your cattle, goyim, or your inferior, or one of your 2500 slaves. I will not live in your UN one world order of communism, with a Jew in every corner in my business. You may be the chosen of Lucifer the God of this world, but you need to gain humility and repent and follow Jesus Christ, then and only then will you be Israel. Sorry to tell you this, all who follow the Savior Jesus Christ are Israel.