Monday, August 13, 2012

Good old Scandinavians in the Northwest--a product of racist immigration policies?

That could be a "yes". Immigration trends hardly ever happen by accident, and Scandinavian immigration to the U.S. was promoted around the turn of the century because Scandinavians were more  Aryan than others, while immigration reform against Italians, Jews, Poles, and others limited the quotas to almost nothing. I was reminded of this when reading the dedication of Mike Lofgren's new book to his grandfather, who he labels an immigrant from Scandinavia.....and who was likely able to immigrate because someone who was Jewish or Italian was prevented from doing so. In any case, I'm looking forward to the book, which looks like a good take down of the current Republican Party.

And yes, "Aryan" is the right word to use. The folks who instituted the immigration restrictions against people from Southern and Eastern Europe specifically said they wanted to "preserve the character of the country", but, strangely enough, Scandinavians, who were here in fairly small numbers, were regarded as being in the character of the country, along with Germans, who were here in much larger numbers, because both were related to Anglo-Saxons as Germanic peoples. Finns, who were originally an Asian people, were given a pass because folks said that centuries of interbreeding had made them as white as the Swedes.


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