Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I don't think that meme means what you think that meme means

John Althouse Cohen comments on this picture which has been making the rounds.

#Perspective #YoureAnImmigrantToo

Posted by Lastrealindians on Friday, November 20, 2015

To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, "I don't think that meme means what you think that meme means."

Cohen observes:
The number of Facebook posts I've seen like this — a picture of Native Americans encountering European settlers, suggesting an analogy to America's current issues with refugees or immigrants — has me concerned for this country's educational system.
First, history: When Europeans arrived in America, this was, on the whole, a very bad thing for Native Americans. That's why if you look around at the United States, you see very little left of Native American culture, which was almost entirely replaced with European culture.

Next, analogies: Who is being analogized to whom? If you're analogizing current-day American citizens to Native Americans in the time of Columbus, then how would you expect Americans to react to that? Since the historical experience for Native Americans was a very bad one, you should expect American citizens who take your analogy seriously to have a negative reaction to whatever you're analogizing to European colonialists. If that isn't the reaction you're hoping to provoke, then it's time to stop and think about whether this is something you really want to post to the internet.

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