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The Paraphrasis of America’s History of Fear

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Autor:   •  October 19, 2016  •  Essay  •  384 Words (2 Pages)  •  378 Views

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Noah Liu

English 4 ACC

Period B


The Paraphrasis of America’s History of Fear

 According to the editor of America’s History of Fear, Nicholas D. Kristof, the key factor that cause the Americans to oppose the newcomers is not their stubborn intolerance, but their great fear, one of living with people who do not hold the same values and believe in different systems or religions. Fearing the differences between the newcomers and them, Americans tend to claim or even prove that these outsiders would harm the US.

As Kristof mentioned later on in the passage, Americans have done and are still taking real actions to oppose the immigrants. The recent one is the opposition against the Islamic center in Lower Manhattan. Nevertheless, among all those movements done by Americans to oppose outsiders who live in different ways, the movement against the Islamic center is just a tiny part of them. The prejudice had led to many other disasters such as burning witches, interning Japanese Americans and turning away Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. From Kristof’s perspective, the most similar one to the movement against the Islamic center is probably the fear spread by the Know Nothing movement about “ the Catholic Menace” in the 19th century.

Indeed, some of the newcomers do have harmful behaviors, and hold different values from the Americans’, but the demagogues, with “great wisdom”, exaggerate these things and turn them into total invective without spreading any good part of them. For example, the “moderate Muslims of Indonesia”, who have elected a female president, are totally unknown, but the evil Wahabis are well known as the majority of Islam.

Kristof mentioned several other examples in the American history that clearly showed their fear toward the immigrants, such as the German rumors, persecution of Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans, the evil Catholicism, etc.

By the end of this article, Kristof believed that this particular pattern of opposing outsiders has become an American heritage or tradition. Besides, it is quite ironic when Kristof mentioned the tradition that Americans claimed to have always in the history, “one of tolerance, amity and religious freedom”; however, the editor still believes in this tradition. Learning from our own proposal for the Muslims to oppose the extremists to hold the tolerance, Kristof appeal the Americans themselves to do same thing as well.


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