Thursday, April 4, 2013

Entry Denied

Posted by Caitlin Endyke

I was always a sucker for any historical museum that did it's best to put visitors in the shoes of the people or the time period the museum was trying to illustrate.  As a kid (and future history major) my favorite family vacation was to Colonial Williamsburg.  So I was intrigued when I came across this link shared by someone I know on Facebook.  The site, run by a Jewish organization but focused on progressive immigration reform, takes users through how their ancestor's immigration story would play out if they were coming to America under current laws and regulations.  Its goal is to illustrate how hard a pathway to citizenship has become since boats of Western European immigrants were unloading at Ellis Island (though conditions then were not exactly great either, and new immigrants often faced various forms of discrimination), and to remind visitors that at one time or another most of our ancestors were similarly coming to America hoping to find a better life.

 Recently, we've become increasingly focused on individualism (take my recent post on "Prepping", for example), to the detriment of commons-based policies and practices that would be more beneficial for society as a whole . Too often we not only forget to put ourselves in the current shoes of those around us, but we also forget the common histories that link us all together.

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