Reflect: Connections and Discussion Questions

This page is about reflection.

You’ll find a section called intersectionality to encourage thinking about how different issues are connected, and discussion questions to encourage deeper thinking. Take some time to answer the questions.

The content on this site is not complete: there are countless numbers of people and so many stories — from small acts of defiance to major leadership positions — that didn’t get recorded or that don’t often make it into textbooks.

This website is meant to be grown and improved upon. We’ve included some of the heroes, but if you know people we are missing, let us know so we can include their stories too.

 

Intersectionality

People of immigrant communities often have to deal with overlapping systems of oppression upon their arrival in the United States.

In addition to the xenophobia an irrational fear of or prejudice against people from other countries. In the United States, this manifests as discrimination against immigrants, most often immigrants of color that has historically motivated white non-immigrants to seek disenfranchisement of immigrants, many of their attitudes are also rooted in racism and cultural prejudice.

An example of this discussed earlier in this section was the Know-Nothing Party’s prejudice against specifically Catholic immigrants, as well as the later attempts by the federal government to stop Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens in order to limit the voting powers of Asian Americans.

A good example of this today is the intersection of xenophobia, racism and Islamophobia that Muslim immigrant communities face.

While xenophobic attitudes toward immigrants affect each community, it is important to consider how the intersecting identities of individual immigrants have historically contributed and presently contribute to their experiences on American soil.

Discussion Questions: 
What does it mean to “assimilate” into another culture? Do you think assimilation is good? Are there consequences, positive or negative?
Why do you think there has been a link between assimilation and voting rights? Is there still a link?
As you read through the text, did you notice any themes that are relevant to society today?
Respond to the following statement from the text (from Nativism and the Know-Nothing Party section): “Some politicians fought against them (voter suppression tools, like literacy tests) because they recognized that immigrants or their children would eventually become voters – they did not want to offend them by targeting them.” What do you think about the motives behind their more tolerant actions?