Dark and strange

Greek miners, Utah.

Driven from their native country by extreme poverty, thousands of dark, single men began to arrive in Utah. They looked strange, they didn’t speak English, and they refused to assimilate in the local culture. When they sought work, they were given the most dangerous tasks and they were paid less than the others. The authorities prohibited them from living or owning property in certain areas. Two of the men  were lynched for marrying American girls. Others among these immigrants dared to venture farther west to California, where they were likened to rats and where they were forbidden from entering restaurants. Others, too, ended up in Nebraska, where a local newspaper reported that they were dirty and that they offended women. So many of these dark, subhuman, dirty, and criminal immigrants arrived in the land that the Ku Klux Klan mobilized against them.

No these strangers were neither Muslim, nor African, nor Asians, nor Eastern European, like the immigrants who now live in Athens. They were Greeks — the ancestors of those who now demonize and dehumanize the immigrants in their midst. Perhaps these modern Greeks think that there is something different about them, that they have nothing in common with the KKK, that their hatred is justified.

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