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Not a Nation of Immigrants: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion

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Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immi Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US's history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today. She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity--founded and built by immigrants--was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonialization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel good--but inaccurate--story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception. While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This paradigm shifting new book from the highly acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States charges that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and a historical idea and embrace the real (and often horrific) history of the United States.


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Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immi Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US's history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today. She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity--founded and built by immigrants--was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonialization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel good--but inaccurate--story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception. While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This paradigm shifting new book from the highly acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States charges that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and a historical idea and embrace the real (and often horrific) history of the United States.

30 review for Not a Nation of Immigrants: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Benja

    4.5. Def important book. scope is very broad though which makes it a little disorganized and there are times where you want more info. very worth the read though!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carl

    Carries identity politics off the deep end making me feel like - gasp - a Republican. For me, Jared Diamond is the book to read about the wrongs of colonialism & maybe the only book to read. As for racism, it might suffice to recognize the dichotomy between "us" and "other". We are not the only racist society, just one of the very few struggling to come to terms with our racism. Think this is a case of academics having no clue about "enough is enough"! Carries identity politics off the deep end making me feel like - gasp - a Republican. For me, Jared Diamond is the book to read about the wrongs of colonialism & maybe the only book to read. As for racism, it might suffice to recognize the dichotomy between "us" and "other". We are not the only racist society, just one of the very few struggling to come to terms with our racism. Think this is a case of academics having no clue about "enough is enough"!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Josephine Ensign

    Having liked her previous book, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, I expected to like this book as well. I found its tone to be off-putting and detracting from the power of the story, as well as unfocused and even confusing in its attempt to cover every possible racial and ethnic group in the United States. Having liked her previous book, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, I expected to like this book as well. I found its tone to be off-putting and detracting from the power of the story, as well as unfocused and even confusing in its attempt to cover every possible racial and ethnic group in the United States.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wayfaring_Jessica

    This is an amazing book. I think this is so important for every American to read. This is full of the facts and information that gets swept under the rug and needs to be aired out, faced, understood, and accepted. In order to truly understand our country and the issues faced by those who live in it, we must face the facts of our history.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sydne

    A good introduction to the topic

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Ware

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Holihan

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Nolan

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erika Piquero

  11. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark Heintz

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Tiede

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lian Mann

  15. 4 out of 5

    Relena_reads

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kasia

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Spiegel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bob Foster

  20. 5 out of 5

    Logan Horsford

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janet Conaci

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  25. 4 out of 5

    Traci Rai

  26. 5 out of 5

    SB

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Gomez

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gayatri Sethi Desi Book Aunty

  29. 4 out of 5

    Greg Olson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Daniel May

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