Thursday, April 15, 2010

Life in an American Fourth Grade: Teacher Explains, The Statue of Liberty Lies!

By Barry Rubin

Today, the teacher read the fourth-grade class the magnificent Statue of Liberty poem by Emma Lazarus, written in the 1880s:

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Inspiring, no? A tremendous opportunity to explain the greatness of America, including to those new immigrants in the class, right?

Well, no. Because then the teacher told the class that America hadn’t done what the poem promised, or at least not until quite recently. But since the post-Civil War date of the poem excludes claiming that it was hypocritical on the issue of slavery, in fact the words were fulfilled, including for Asian and Latin American immigrants, quite brilliantly.

The irony is that the school is full of kids (including, it’s pretty likely, the principal) whose grandparents or great-grandparents arrived in America penniless and over time the families worked hard to enjoy living standards unequalled for non-aristocrats in world history.

(Personal note: The immigration record shows that my great-grandfather arrived in America exactly a century ago with $10 in his wallet. He died, 23 years later, a wealthy man because he and my grandmother worked around the clock, saved every penny they could, invested, and became entrepreneurs.)

Incidentally, please don’t think I am exaggerating about what goes on in this class, though of course different parts of the United States have quite different schools. But I am not leaving out material taught in the class because it doesn’t fit with the thesis that the kids are being indoctrinated into anti-Americanism. There simply is no such material.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.