Photo of the Day: Yiddish Advertising

March 17th, 2007

IMG_1408, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I always liked this shot. I took it last spring on a walkabout in Williamsburg. I discussed this image and a few of my others on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC our local NPR station last summer. It was very exciting. I listen to the show nearly every day, so actually being a guest was a great experience. This was about a year ago, when protests were erupting all over the country.
I come from a family of immigrants. So does nearly everyone else in this country to some degree. It’s always been inexplicable to me the way some people can call themselves ‘real’ Americans and judge or exclude others because they aren’t from here. The foundation of this nation has always been immigration, people have come here from everywhere for opportunities and freedom. There’s always some group that somebody doesn’t want here. Now it’s the Mexicans, before that it was the Jews or the Irish or the Italians or the Germans. And it’s always the same arguments. “They don’t assimilate into our culture;” “They stay to themselves in enclaves speaking some foreign language;” “They don’t have our values.” It’s always something.
So these signs in Williamsburg struck me. Every immigrant community has the same sort of experience. They come in and form communities for support. They bring some of the comforts of home with them, the food, the language, the music. It’s normal. Yet it really pisses some people off – when some people do it.
Those trying to crack down on immigration complain about ‘these people’ not learning ‘our language.’ But I’ve never seen the Minutemen patrolling these enclaves, harassing these immigrants or telling the Hasidim to speak ‘our language.’

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One Comment:

  1. You forgot the Haitians. And all Arabs.

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