Sunday, 29 January 2012

Immigration - K12 project

The website which I found;, offers a task designed for a class which is grade 11. The task set fourth is entitled “American Immigration Past and Present: A Simulation Activity.” The task is designed to further the class’s historical knowledge of immigration as well as the issues that arise around immigration in America today. The first section of the task is designed to give the back ground knowledge to immigration; it explains the main changes in the nationalities which migrated to America and the number of immigrants.

The second section provides “Issues to consider” these issues include “cultural differences and language barriers among different ethnic groups have frequently given rise to hostilities between them.” One of the more interesting issues which this websites sees as an issue is “immigrants' inability to quickly assimilate themselves to the norms of mainstream American social life have often prevented them from realizing the economic advancement they sought when they left their homelands,” this giving the perception that America is superior to any nation that should move there. It is also seen as a problem not to fit into ‘mainstream’ America and is a hindrance to themselves in not conforming. Within the ‘Issues to consider’ the question whether “we should continue our longstanding policy of openness, or "close the gates" in order to protect the existing levels of prosperity that most American citizens enjoy.” Despite offering both sides as an option, i feel that there is a biased towards the latter. The idea of protecting American prosperity and to do so is to put a stop to immigration, so that “American citizens [can] enjoy” there liberty to prosperity without the fear of immigrants taking it away from them. This is further reiterated when they are not only asked to take on the roles of the immigrants but to focus on the questions “Can we accommodate them? Should we accommodate them?” and the affect on American citizens quality of due to immigration policies.

The conclusion states “Why are borders and immigration policies needed?” implies that the answer to the question of immigration is that there is a problem with it and restrictions are needed in preventing large numbers of immigrants entering America.

The purpose of this lesson is to “In addition to teaching students the main historical facts of America's immigration heritage and the important issues” but “to reflect upon personal values and priorities surrounding an issue” here the student is asked to generate their own personal feelings towards immigration. This could for many be to limit immigration, in order to protect their rights as an American citizen. However as there are such high levels of immigrants in America it could be them doing the assessment so therefore they could encourage immigration, allowing others the opportunity that they had.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

K12 Immigration Task

For this task I found this website:

It is an immigration Web-quest for a 7th grade class. It asks questions for the kids to answer and provides a link to useful websites to help them answer the questions.

Its the 4th question is in relation to this weeks web blog task:
From 1880-1930 what country did most immigrants come from? What country did the fewest come from?

With this question the kids are provided with this link:

This takes you to the official Ellis Island records websites - Ellis Island being one of the main places where immigrants originally had to pass through to gain access to America. I think this website gives a fairly balanced opinion on American immigration. It states that for many people (especially Jews, Mexicans and Armenians) this period of history was good for immigration. However it also points out that for Asian immigrants it was a difficult period, highlighting the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. It also notes that towards the end of this period Americas attitude towards immigration was greatly changing due to World War 1.

The Melting Pot - K-12 project

Through searching, I have found a website from a young american student, whose age is not specified, that talks about immigration and specifically focuses on African Americans being "labelled' as immigrants which is considered wrong by the student.

The student also points out that Blacks or African Americans are perceived as people that try to cling to the there culture and language.

The student says that Americans Came to the US off their own initiative with no force, which shows that they wont be told what to do or be by anyone.

To answer the question: How does it present the aspect of US History to American School children today?" I would say that is presents US history and America as a place of freedom and dreams to be fulfilled and something to remember as it once was, as it talked about the immigrants coming to the US off their own initiative.

American immigration 1880-1930

After scouring the internet in search for an appropriate source for this week’s blog task I eventually came across, a site which is aimed at giving teachers the resources to inform their students about a variety of subjects but also gives students a chance to learn interactively. Within this site I was lucky enough to discover a fantastic page dedicated to immigration, giving students a run-through of immigration from the 1900s to the present day. The sub-section that caught my attention was one named 'Coming to America: Meet Seymour Rechtzeit who arrived in 1920'. This section leads to an eight step guide to Seymour's journey to America.

As early as the first step of the sequence, it is clear that the writer of the section wants to allow the reader connect with Seymour, establishing a tangible feel to the boy's story, therefore having a more profound effect on the student reading the story. This is evident in an extensive back story of the child's, beginning with the short introduction "My name is Seymour Rechtzeit and I was born in Lódz, Poland, in 1912". This shows the importance of immigration in the eyes of the site, and its willingness to inform and educate its readers, despite their age. Further forward in Seymour's introduction, it becomes clear that another layer of information is added to the lesson on immigration. When he states that "My family decided that I should come to America, where there would be more opportunities for me", the American Dream sensation becomes identifiable. This strongly suggests that immigration is going to be presented as something positive and encouraging in the story, and that it was a good era of US History.

The way in which the story is split into eight sections is both highly symbolic and very efficient. By progressing from 'Good-bye Poland' to 'Star of Yiddish Theater', the association between immigration and success is once again explored, further creating the image of this period of immigration being very positive. Sections in between the start and end such as 'Stuck on Ellis Island' further symbolise the plight of Immigrants in their search for the American Dream. This idea that Seymour has had to work hard to become the 'Star of Yiddish Theater' strongly associates itself with the ideal way of American living through hard work. This shows no disparity between Immigrants and Americans in the eyes of the writer.

Despite the heavily positive portrayal of Seymour and his family as well as other immigrants, the story is clearly been strongly sensationalised. The idea that a young immigrant can almost immediately become a star of theater after arriving in America is very rare. It could be suggested that the way in which the writer of the piece depicts Seymour as a random, average example of an immigrant misinforms the reader, and perhaps they should be learning instead about the more common examples of immigrant living. These would tell the reader that most Eastern European immigrants found themselves living in Ghettos in New York on a weak income, living in poor conditions. On one hand it is understandable that the writer depicts immigration as wonderful, through this inspiring story, but it is also very important to show the other side of immigration which suggests that the period between 1880 and 1930 was a difficult and treacherous one.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Idea of the Melting Pot- K12 Projects

I chose because it is aimed at children and is easy to navigate around, and although not specified, I think it is mainly for children around the ages of 10-12. The website focuses on New York (The Big Apple) and under the section ‘Coming to America’ there is a timeline and links to click on that tells of a specific time and what was happening in terms of immigration at that time. For example, 1881 is titled ‘The Second Wave of Immigrants’ and describes how different groups of people from Europe came to America. presents this aspect of American history as positive because it mentions how the German immigrants brought “their skills, education, and political beliefs” as well as stating how they “often led the struggle for trade unions”. This shows that immigration helped to improve and strengthen the country through educational and political means. The word “led” also implies that immigration was good and keeps in theme with Winthorpe’s idea of the “city upon the hill”, showing that they were an example to others. As well as this, the website also states that German immigrants brought “self-help schools”, an attribute to the American Dream and shows they were interested in working hard to help themselves, something that De Crevecoeur touched upon in his book Letters from an American Farmer; and “orchestras” which shows that immigration brought different cultures and helped to make America multi-cultural. Also, in the ‘The First Wave of Immigrants’ section, it ends with: “Like immigrants before and since, the newcomers and especially their American-born children began the slow process of assimilation, finding ways to fit into a new society and to unify as Americans”; showing that people tried hard to become a part of the American culture. These in turn support the theory of the Melting Pot because they are part of the American ideal.

‘The Second Wave of Immigrants’ states that most of the immigrants came from Italy and the Russian empire; during which Mussolini and Lenin headed the Italian and Russian states. Their radical ideologies such as fascism and Marxism, did not agree with the democracy of America, and so emphasis on Italian and Russian immigrants suggests that they were escaping this oppression and encourages American children to believe that America is a safe haven for many, and that fascism and Marxism is wrong. In addition, other groups fled to America such as the Eastern European Jews fleeing “poverty, oppression and violence”. This again links back to “city upon the hill” because it shows how people saw America as an example and wanted to live there, where it appeared that all were free.

The immigrants are described as “ambitious people pursuing a dream of a better life”, linking back to the idea of the American Dream and shows that Americans are ambitious. However this idea of a better life contradicts some of the realities, such as shown in Anzia Yezierska’s short stories The Lost “Beautifulness” and Soap And Water which depict a grimmer experience. For example The Lost “Beautifulness” shows how immigrants could be charged more than they could afford for housing and Soap And Water shows how immigrants found it hard to rise from their predominantly lower-class status.

On the whole, immigration is presented to young children as a positive thing that helped many people to get better lives, but does not show the difficulties that most immigrants faced.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Week 1 Same Sex Marriage in America

Homosexuality and same sex marriages within the United States as a whole is viewed very negatively. Being gay is not recognised by the federal government of The United States of America, and thus the gay community is oppressed by the country which they live in.

The topic of sexuality and marriage is greatly disputed. The website that I found looks at both for and against gay marriage, evaluating them in a ‘pro and con’ table in which the two arguments for each side’s are stated. The idea that ‘Gay marriage is protected by the Constitution's commitments to liberty and equality’ stands out to me as an area in which gay marriage is justified. It is as a American their right to freedom so therefore who they marry shouldn’t be governed by gender. This idea also shows links to The Declaration of Independence as is the right as an American to ‘The pursuit of Happiness’ and for homosexuals this could refer to happiness being attained by marriage to someone of the same sex.

Despite plenty of legitimate and fair reasons for legalizing gay marriages there is a great opposition, to same sex marriages. They believe it is un-natural and that marriage is to be between man and women only. In a popular interview between John McCain; a strong advocate apposing same sex marriages, and in the past said "On the issue of gay marriage, I believe that if people want to have private ceremonies that's fine. I do not believe that gay marriages should be legal." He talks to Ellen Degeneres; a famous talk show host and gay icon in America. The interview takes place on The Ellen Degeneres show. She states that she believes that gay marriage is ‘Only fair and only natural.’ She proceeds to compare the oppression of gay marriage to that of ‘blacks and women’ referring to their inability to vote in the past. Ellen like many pro gay people see the con’s to gay marriages as an ‘old way of thinking’ and that people and the government should recognise, like with race and gender that we are ‘all the same.’ McCain remains true to his beliefs in stating his ‘disagreement’ to equal rights for gays. Despite this he wishes Ellen ‘every happiness,’ this I feel is not nesissariarly true as I think he feels an obligation to say this as he is on the ‘Ellen Degeneres Show.’ For him to truly wish her happiness and want her to be happy he would have to be pro gay marriage, and he most certainly isn’t. Ellen Degeneres concludes the interview by say that she wishes her ‘marriage’ could be called that and not a ‘contract.’

Despite the growing numbers of opposition and publication of same sex marriage, there is little change to the laws surrounding it, only 6 states allow gay marriage, and many have laws against it. I find the idea of denying equal rights in marriage unfair and unjust, as America is seen to be the land of freedom and hope to be a gay man or women goes against everything that America prides itself on being.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

American Identity Task: Jewish Americans

For the American Identity task I have chosen the website of an American TV channel PBS which did a documentary on being Jewish in America and also set up pages on their websites for this, which can be seen on the above link.

It is really interesting as it examines what is like to be Jewish now and how the Jews came to settle in America. According to the website; although American Jews are now a bedrock in the society of America they were not welcomed when they tried to settle in New Amsterdam (now modern day New York) even though according the Constitution they had the rights to freedom from religious persecution. Many states could prevent them from voting and participating in many other important things until the passing of "The Jew Bills".

The Jews have faced many problems while trying to fit into American society, especially in terms of prejudiced, and some Jews now fell they have become to blended and are losing their respect for Jewish traditions. I think they feel that if they lose these traditions they will lose their Jewish identity.

It is a very interesting website with lots of very interesting clips which are worth watching if you have the time.

Identity - what it means to be Puerto Rican in the USA

Even though this website I have found is not specifically focussed on Puerto Rican Identity, it is more of an account from a Puerto Rican native explaining how he is getting used to living life in America and being accepted there by others.

He goes on to say such things like he's trying keep his identity and who he is with him wherever he goes, because this is his identity.

More importantly he goes on to say that he is living in two separate ways one being Puerto Rican and the other being American. he say that Outside the home he spoke English but at home he always spoke Spanish. This shows that even though he has one nationality or identity, he will always live in two separate lives.

To answer the question: What is being asserted about having an identity?

I would definitely say that because he was misunderstood as White because of the colour of his skin, Identity is an important part of who we are as individuals and how live our lives.

American identity..........

Saturday, 21 January 2012

American identity.....

The discussion of identity is a particularly important factor in American because of its relevance in an immigrant nation - America is a society of citizens of different ethnic and racial origins. Thus, the decadal US census is required to count and monitor the changing cultural mix and character of American society. Why is that so?
 Here are the questions asked by the US Census Breau, and a map which reflects why the the factor of identity has significance for America. What are the identity issues that are problematic and politically sensitive?

I look forward to seeing you and hearing your answers on Monday.
And, for an interactive view of changing immigration, spend a moment looking at the changing patterns of immgration for different ethnic groups from 1880 to the present.......

Good wishes,

Friday, 20 January 2012

Latin American Advocacy

The webpage I have decided to analyse is, which stands for the League of United Latin American Citizens, an assocaition which is America's most notable site promoting Latin American equality. The site identifies a variety of areas of possible improvement to the lives of Latin Americans living in the United States. These are recognised as 'Civil Participation', 'Civil Rights', 'Economic Empowerment', 'Education', 'Health', 'Housing', 'Immigration', 'Public Service' and 'Technology'. By following these links LULACs regard for the Latin American community is clear.

The 'Civil Participation' section of the web site is a prime example of this. It focuses on the political side of Latin American equality, explaining 'The Power of the Latino Community' in politics. The way in which the writer of this section understands the differences between the Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican shows a comprehension of the sense of individuality within the Latin American community. He does this by explaining how 'Although Latinos share a common history of Spanish colonialism and similar nation building, they differ in political processes and agendas'. This idea contrasts the stereotypical view of the Latino community that they can be catagorised as one people and that there ideas and needs can be treated the same.

Despite showing a clear interest in establishing different identities within the Latino community, the LULAC association does show evidence of having to comprimise with American society and having to stray from developing the Latin American identity. This is evident through the statement that 'LULAC will be developing a national immigration and citizenship program to assists individuals applying for U.S citizenship'. Although this shows a clear desire to assist the Latino community, it also suggests, contrary to previous evidence, that the LULAC were unable to fully maintain or develop a Latin American identity. This example shows that no matter how much the likes of the LULAC try to do this, Latin American's always have to adapt to their American surroundings and become somewhat American in order to thrive.

The site talks frequently about the toil and hardship that has faced the Latino community over the years in the USA. The 'LULAC history' section focuses on the problems that faced Mexicans in America in the 1900s in particular. It explains that although discrimination against the Black community was being more reconised, 'Mexican Americans were not allowed to learn English' and Mexican 'children had to attend segregated schools known as “Mexican Schools."' In response to this, a group of people 'united all Mexican American organizations under one title', which also involved the group's expansion, concerning every Latin American denomination, and the LULAC was born. This decision in the face of prejudice and segregation clearly shows an overwhelming sense of unity. It was particularly significant as it was the binding of the whole of Latin America in response to problems facing primarily the Mexican community; suggesting that this was the beginning of a strong Latin American identity.

Native American Advocacy is part of the Native American Advocacy Program (NAAP) set up in 1992, and as their website states, aims to: maintain a healthy organisation, to assist Native Americans with disabilities and Native American youths by promoting a healthy lifestyle, providing prevention, education, training, advocacy, support, independent living skills and referrals. As well as this, not only do they want to promote the sense of identity amongst the Native youth, they want to promote a positive sense of identity as they believe that the Native youth need to know their culture and have access to people, places and environments that help them to develop healthy lifestyles, without alcohol, drugs or violence. This contrasts with the previous identity associated with Native Americans which saw them depicted as illiterate alcoholics and drug addicts. By changing this stereotype, they are working to assert a more positive identity.

The NAAP acts to assert the importance of identity through the picture slideshow featured on the homepage; as this shows that traditions are still maintained and upheld among the Native Americans. Their particular interest is with the youth and this can also be seen through the picture slideshow on the homepage which shows children canoeing, being taught by an older man and learning archery. This shows the importance of identity because from a young age, the children can learn to appreciate and be proud of their heritage. This is in contrast to when young children were taking from their tribes, stripped of their culture and forced to conform to the white American ideal.

Other ways in which identity is enforced through the NAAP is by the use of the native language with English translations, for example: hunkesni owicakiyapi meaning helping persons with disabilities. This shows that their language is still important and can be used to give them a stronger identity.