Nick Legue, Reporter

Historical Myopia and Amnesia is a plague hitting America in 2019!  Sadly, this disease comes from when Americans have forgotten the lesson of our ancestors and will continue to discriminate against groups as it causes people to fear mostly anyone different than ourselves.  If only we all looked the same.

Where I came from is like millions of other American families.  We are immigrants. On my Dad’s side of the family, we have been in America since it’s beginning (they trace their roots back to the British Isles and Ireland), my Grandfather on my Mom’s side is a Canadian immigrant (of mostly Irish, English, and some French ancestry) who moved to Detroit around the 60’s or 70’s, and my Grandma on my mom’s side was the daughter of an Austrian-Slavic immigrant from Czechoslovakia (during the breakup of Austria-Hungary after WW1).

My Grandma’s family, who risked, and possibly faced, discrimination for their status as new immigrants were faced with a hard choice. Keep their culture and roots but face discrimination for being perceived as backward and anti-American, or go through the tough and unbelievably difficult process of semi-forced assimilation in order to become “American”, but eventually forget where they came from and the difficulties of being an immigrant. My grandma even told me she remembers her mom basically telling her not to speak Austrian and to only speak English in order to integrate into American Society. While my Grandpa may not have had to go through the harsh difficulties of being an immigrant, unlike my Grandmother and her family, his ancestors did (As they were of Irish and possibly French ancestry, who’s immigrant groups were discriminated against in America and Canada up until the 50’s).

My dad’s side of the family (their ancestors) probably faced discrimination too as lower/middle-class English people when they arrived on the shores of America during the 1690s-1770s. Yet what disturbs me most, is that despite all these hard lessons our immigrant ancestors learned, most of my conservative family members and/or Trump supporters seem to have forgotten them. It was especially clear that was the case when they started endorsing Trump’s anti-immigration policies. But it wasn’t only happening in my family. Millions of white Americans who were of Slavic, Irish, and Italian descent (and from other marginalized groups) seemed to basically say “lets forget the lessons our ancestors learned, and that we’re all immigrants” and jumped on the Trump bandwagon.

There has been huge controversy within the Italian and Irish-American communities, as despite being formerly marginalized groups, (according to Irish Central) 45% of the Irish-Americans interviewed and polled said they supported Trump (less than 41% supported Clinton or were uncertain). Italian-Americans have also been leaning more conservative as of recently. I’ve heard many of Trump supports give the same excuses about why they’re nativist even though they were ancestors of immigrants and marginalized groups.

“Oh my family came here legally.”

“They’ll steal our jobs!”

“They won’t ‘assimilate’ to American society.”

“They’ll take our language!”

These excuses are not only incredibly offensive and hypocritical, but they show that Trump and his supporters are going down the dangerous path of a deadly disease: Historical Myopia and Amnesia. And it doesn’t just affect immigrants when Americans discriminate them. It affects other marginalized groups too. When white Americans are hateful towards black Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans they still show signs of amnesia and hypocrisy.

Also when a Conservative Italian or Irish-American says, “Well we got over slavery, why can’t African-Americans do the same?” It doesn’t sound smart because Italians and Irish people were discriminated against, but never enslaved (I’m bringing this up because there’s a myth going around that Irish-Americans were slaves).

To finish, America needs rid itself of these signs of Historical Myopia and Amnesia. We as Americans have forgotten the lesson your ancestors learned and must stop discrimination against immigrant groups. There is only one way to stop or treat the disease. Don’t forget who you are, and where you came from.

Remember the “No Irish Need Apply” Signs your ancestors saw. Remember the Anti-Italian Sentiment the resulted in a mass lynching of Italians in New Orleans in 1891. Remember the Anti-Slavic immigrant laws and sentiment directed towards Slavic immigrants. For those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.