This note indicates her covert racism regarding foreigners: she considers them “inferior species

This note indicates her covert racism regarding foreigners: she considers them “inferior species

The conversation also suggests that such girls have loose morals: Bea asks Tina if she “got a fella now,” and the latter answers that his name is “Yim Yacobson

In Main Street, the conversation between the maids Bea and Tina implies, first, that foreigners are materialistic: Bea wants to earn six dollars, which is a relatively high price to pay a hired girl in Gopher Prairie. ” To add, instead of the word “six” (referring to the price she wants), the word is printed as “sex”-this not only imitates Bea’s specific accent, it could as well refer to the girls’ debauchery. Therefore, although Carol, the protagonist, likes associating with foreigners, there are limits that she cannot cross and taboos that she cannot breach: “However charitable toward the Lower Classes she may have thought herself, Carol had been reared to assume that servants belong to a distinct and inferior species” (112). ” 5 Meeting Miles Bjornstam, Carol sympathizes with him. ” Then again, these “distinctions” signify the dividing line between those in the American circle, and those outside. Thus, she is also a hypocrite since although she considers them friendly people she cannot have them as friends because they are foreigners: “she continues to regard them installment loans in New Mexico as retainers and herself as a lady” (Lewis, 2012 , p. 240).

The indictment of foreigners as threatening elements goes beyond the fictional world as it corresponds with the real one. In the late nineteenth century, Frank Russell, D.D., Field Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance, admits in a conference entitled “Alliance Methods” that violations of the moral code also happened among native-born Americans, but he warns of the immigrants’ negative role worsening such a situation in America: “Here are evils that rise threateningly against us and require the activity of all our forces to meet them […] and immigration with all its blessings, surely strengthen [sic] these threatening evils” (Russell, 1890 , p. 102).

Still, when she invites him to dine with her maid, Bea, in the kitchen she does not dine with them because of the “social distinctions,” as well as “her own taboos

The previous description of the foreigners seems to rely upon the Eugenics Theory developed by Francis Galton in the 1880s and popular in the 1920s, whereby immigrants were considered biologically inferior. This theory found a home with the American Eugenics Society established in 1922. Harry Laughlin, a prominent Eugenicist proposed the Eugenical Sterilization Law, subsequently adopted by many American states, 6 whereby large numbers of foreigners were submitted to sterilization. Laughlin was appointed superintendent of the Eugenics Record Office (1910–1939), and served on the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization of the House of Representatives of Washington D.C (1920). These facts explain the passing of the Johnson-Reed Act 1924. 7 In the 1920s, immigrant inferiority was linked to the soaring crime rate. Immigrants were considered by many detrimental to the American race and stock. One example is Laughlin’s testimony before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1923 where he classifies Italians, Greeks, and Asiatics as people of “low mentality and disorders of the personality” (Laughlin, 1923 , p. 741).

Scientists of eugenics sought to maintain the purity of the Anglo-American race by limiting the reproduction of the inferior races of the poor genetic stock. Therefore, immigrants from southern and eastern Europe were subjected to forced sterilization. (Morrow, 2004 , p. 303). In his first annual message, President Coolidge said that “America must be kept American” (The American Presidency Project, 1923). Even as recent as 1973 ten African-American women out of thirteen were forcibly sterilized in Montgomery, Alabama (Dula Goering, 1994 , p. 17). The article “It’s time for California to compensate its forced-sterilization victims” published in Los Angeles Times last year Bold ( 2015 ) condemns the shameful actions of the states who adopted the sterilization law including Virginia and California.

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