Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ellis Island Project

I have found a video which shows a school project involving students simulating an Ellis Island experience. In theory the children are learning first hand what it would have been like, the teacher says "you understand because you feel it, you understand because you carry the emotions and that we have the volunteers today yelling at them and being very brisk and being very not understanding necessarily of any issues they may have had. The kids will truly take that whole piece away about what it was really like." This is simply just not true. Not once in the video do you see the school children doing anything but enjoying themselves and proudly boasting about making it through to America. They do not experience the unhygienic conditions, the illness, the prejudice or the inability to speak the language of their new home. I think that in this case immigration is being presented as something that is overcome as soon as the immigrant reaches America, although they did mention to the children that America was the land of freedom and not of help. This is not surprising as the children are aged 11/12 and are probably not used to learning about such obvious suffering. I don't think it is being taught in an anti-immigration or racist way but it is definitely being taught in a pro American way. It shows the children that it was hard to reach America but it doesn't necessarily show them how Americans would have treated them and the hardships that would have followed.

1 comment:

  1. Which school? Where? What age kids? The video is good, but you are only telling half the story if you don't do this analysis