Immigration and Thanksgiving

Last Friday ‘The Indianapolis Star’ published a cartoon depicting a illegal immigrant family crashing a Caucasian family’s thanksgiving dinner.  The cartoon by Gary Varvel showed a white man holding a turkey at the head of the table and saying “Thanks to the President’s immigration order, we’ll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving.”, three darker skinned males are shown climbing through the window. This was published after the day after President Obama announced the temporary shield about 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation. The newspaper later removed the cartoon and said that they made an “err” in publishing it.  Executive director Jeff Taylor called the cartoon inappropriate in an article after its removal.

Immigration and Thanksgiving have always been connected; the story of the start of the holiday tells us it was a feast from the pilgrims to the natives to say thanks. The one crucial thing most Americans tend to forget is that nearly everyone of us here had come from somewhere else. The pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock were the first illegal immigrants to land in the New World.

The true essence of thanksgiving is the celebration of immigration. It is a celebration of welcoming and hospitality. It is the quintessential American teaching about immigration and the spirit of generosity indigenous to our continent. Blending our cultural foods and customs, we can create something new.