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"World-Wide Welcome": No, Cuccinelli, the Statue of Liberty and Lazarus Poem Are Not About European Whiteness

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/15/world-wide-welcome-no-cuccinelli-statue-liberty-and-lazarus-poem-are-not-about

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Thanks for the historical perspective, Juan. Ignorance is one thing I can always afford to lose.

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Thank you for a real history lesson. Ignorance is NOT BLISS.

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It is worth pointing out that the original statue held broken shackles instead of a book, see the work of Dr. Joy DeGruy

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The “Cooch” was not mistaken in the version of history he put forth, he was deliberately distorting the truth for political gain. Like most politicians, he does that a lot.

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Cole sez:
"… contrary to what Cuccinelli said, the poem actually contains the phrase ‘world-wide welcome.’”

Ah, but see, that line is silent. Much like the 2nd Amendment clause, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State …”

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a wonderful post Juan, informative AND inspiring.
And, a shout-out to Emma Lazarus if she can only know her words still resonate

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I won’t repeat the names Cuccinelli’s immigrant ancestors were called. The man has no self respect.

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Good post.

Writer Gene Lyons takes to task those of his own Ireland heritage in a recent commentary that I read in The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2019, “Trump’s Brand of Racism is Nothing New, But It’s Still Ugly.” An excellent historical reflection.

From Lyons, “Anyway, what with Irish-surnamed lunkheads helping Trump spread his bigotry far and wide, it seems appropriate to remind people that from the 17th century onward, every racial slur that was ever used to describe black slaves was first applied to the native Irish.”

While Lyons points this out for those of Ireland heritage, his point is also for those whose ancestors were scorned arrivals from Italy, or Poland, or anyone whose ancestors were held in contempt, with slurs and bigotry. Cuccinelli? Let me take a guess…

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“Cuccinelli said that in 1882 just before the penning of the “A New Colossus” poem, a law had been recently passed about immigrants being able to support themselves
“That is a historical distortion, since public assistance as we now have it did not exist, and the law simply required that immigrants be sane and healthy and able to support themselves

Wait, so the law is on the books since 1882?

Great research Juan. Originally, the poem was written to a contribution–one of many contributions–to be auctioned to raise funds for the pedestal, which was America’s responsibility to create. After the statue was erected, the poem was ignored until two or so decades later when a friend lobbied for its inclusion somewhere on/in the statue. The poem was placed on the second floor landing where it resided until approx 1940’s when the national park service, which now took over the monument, moved it to the outside. The poem had been rehabilitated, so to speak, and the immigration motif now became predominant. But as you say, the statue was originally all about liberty–not about immigration. Emma Lazarus was personally deeply concerned about eastern eurpoean jews and the victims of russian anti-semitism–these individuals were her primary focus. Liberty holds a tablet. On it the only words: July 4, 1776. This was the original emphasis and spirit behind the statue–designed to be delivered just before the American Revolution centennial. But as scholars clearly state, the statue has undergone at least five “meaning” transitions over time–like a chameleon, it has been used for different purposes, and it has been re-defined variously in order to suit different agendas and imperatives. But in the minds of its creators, it was designed to show Liberty shining a light upon the world, and was meant to describe a spirit of democracy that would inspire all nations.