A PBS affiliate, KQED News in San Francisco, has designed a Common Core lesson plan for public school teachers that casts Donald Trump as a bigoted demagogue and the United States as a nation steeped in anti-immigrant racism.
The lesson plan, titled “Nativism in the United States” and written by Rachel Roberson for an undisclosed age group, tells students to “evaluate how nativist policies have affected various immigrant groups in the United States.” The plan defines “nativism” as “the practice of blaming immigrants for major societal problems.” And, of course, the lesson plan makes a point of coloring Trump’s rhetoric against illegal immigrants and the influx of Syrian refugees as destructive and at odds with the true American spirit.
“While [Trump’s] rhetoric has made headlines, it’s certainly not the first time a politician has questioned the loyalty and motives of immigrant groups or threatened to exclude them.”
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“Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made tough immigration enforcement a keystone of his campaign, pledging to build a wall between the United States and Mexico,” the plan reads. “While his rhetoric has made headlines, it’s certainly not the first time a politician has questioned the loyalty and motives of immigrant groups or threatened to exclude them. In the past, nativist policies in the U.S. have resulted in widespread citizenship bans, mass deportations, and mob violence against immigrant communities.”
As a key part of the lesson, the plan requires students to interact with a graphic comic written and illustrated by Andy Warner called “Fear of Foreigners: A History of Nativism in America.”
“The United States has long been a destination for immigrants seeking a better life. Yet, newcomers haven’t always been welcomed with open arms,” Warner wrote as an explanation for his comic in KQED Monday. “Throughout the nation’s history, immigrants have consistently been blamed for societal problems, commonly viewed with suspicion and fear and accused of lowering the quality of life for established residents.”
What both the hyperbolic comic and the lesson plan fail to emphasize, however, is that Trump’s rhetoric about immigration is largely about restoring the rule of law and ejecting illegal immigrants who have committed felonies and represent a clear danger to Americans.
Warner’s comic features drawings of an angry Trump, and says that the Republican nominee has said some “extreme things” about “undocumented immigrants from Mexico.” The comic also highlights Trump’s controversial call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. as the country deals with the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.
“Some Americans find his rhetoric alarming, but it follows a long tradition of anti-immigrant rhetoric,” the comic reads.
It proceeds to outline the country’s history of anti-immigrant rhetoric, including Benjamin Franklin warning against the dangers that German immigrants posed, Ku Klux Klan members burning a cross and spewing anti-Catholic hate at an Italian immigrant, the Japanese internment camps during WWII, and more. To top it all off, the comic acknowledges anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim examples from the present day.
“But if history is any guide, it’s worth remembering that the anti-immigrant fervor of the moment usually fades,” the comic concludes, sporting an image of a “Kiss me, I’m Irish” mug. “And, more often than not, those targeted newcomers are eventually woven into the patchwork quilt of American society.”