There are some things you might not know about Greek immigration to the United States. This history becomes particularly relevant when watching today’s news and political candidates like Donald Trump, supported by huge and vociferous crowds, call for the complete ban of people from entering the United States based on their race or religion.
This is nothing new. In fact– today’s “undesirable” Muslims (in Donald Trump’s eyes), were yesteryear’s Greeks.
It’s a forgotten history— something that only occasionally comes up by organizations like AHEPA or the occasional historian or sociologist. In fact, many Greek Americans are guilty of not only perpetuating— but also creating— myths of our ancestors coming to this country and being welcomed with open arms.
A look back at history will prove that this usually wasn’t the case for the early Greek immigrants to the United States. Greeks, their race and religion, were seen as “strange” and “dangerous” to America and after decades of open discrimination, Greeks were finally barred— by law— from entering the United States in large numbers.
The Immigration Act of 1924 imposed harsh restrictions on Greeks and other non-western European immigrant groups. Under that law, only one hundred Greeks per year were allowed entry into the United States as new immigrants.
Much like today, when politicians and activists like Donald Trump use language against a particular ethnic group— like his call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, the same was the case a hundred years ago. Except then, Greeks were one of the main targets.
There was a strong, loud and active “nativist” movement that was led by people who believed they were the “true Americans” and the immigrants arriving— mainly Greeks, Italians, Chinese and others who were deemed “different” and even “dangerous” to American ideals, were unfit to come to America.
As early as 1894 a group of men from Harvard University founded the Immigration Restriction League (IRL), proponents of a United States that should be populated with “British, German and Scandinavian stock” and not by “inferior races.” Their biggest targets were Greeks and Italians and the group had a powerful influence with the general public and leaders in the U.S. government in their efforts to keep “undesirables” out of America.
The well-known cartoon “The Fool Pied Piper” by Samuel Erhart appeared in 1909 portraying Uncle Sam as the Pied Piper playing a pipe labeled “Lax Immigration Laws” and leading a horde of rats labeled “Jail Bird, Murderer, Thief, Criminal, Crook, Kidnapper, Incendiary, Assassin, Convict, Bandit, Fire Brand, White Slaver, and Degenerate” toward America. Some rats carry signs that read “Black Hand,” referring to the Italian Mafia. In the background, rulers from France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Greece celebrate the departure of the fleeing rats.
At the beginning of the 1900s tens of thousands of Greek immigrant men began arriving in the United States, fleeing famine and war back home. The 1897 Balkan Wars were especially brutal and tens of thousands of Greek men headed for safer and more prosperous shores. Between 1900 and 1920, according to official U.S. government records, more than 350,000 Greeks immigrated to the United States— 95 percent of the immigrants were men.
In his epic research and meticulous writing, the late Charles Moskos noted in his book “Greek Americans: Struggles and Success” that from 1900 to 1915 close to one out of four men in Greece departed for America. That’s almost 25 per cent of the entire male population of the country.
Greeks scattered throughout the United States. Many settled in mill towns like Lowell, Massachusetts while others went west, taking hard jobs in coal, copper and salt mines. Tens of thousands also settled in Chicago and other Midwest urban centers.
Chicago Greeks arriving during this wave started selling food from pushcarts and lunch wagons in the busy city streets. The Greeks were met with fierce resistance and discrimination— even at an official level. Under the administration of Mayor Carter H. Harrison II, bowing to pressure from “native” Americans, the city passed an ordinance targeted 100% against the Greek food merchants, prohibiting the sale of food on the streets and effectively shutting down thousands of small Greek-immigrant-run businesses.
In South Omaha, Nebraska in February 1909— three thousand Greek families fled their homes in that city’s Greektown neighborhood after an organized community-wide effort to burn down Greek homes and businesses engulfed the city.
A Greek man was arrested and involved in a deadly altercation with a “white” police officer. His charge— being in the company of a “white” woman who was teaching him English. The destruction that followed— tens of millions of dollars in damage to property— and an entire ethnic community banished— disappeared, fleeing for their lives overnight— has gone down as one of the ugliest racist and discriminatory incidents in all of American history.
The New York Times carried an article about the riot stating that 3,000 “American” men looted Greek homes and businesses, beat Greek men, women and children, and burnt down every building in the area. The entire population of Greeks in South Omaha were warned to leave the city within one day, or risk the ongoing wrath of the mob. Within a few days, all the Greeks living in South Omaha fled the city, moving to Council Bluffs, Sioux City and Salt Lake City.
The Omaha Daily News, justifying the exodus of the Greeks wrote, “Their quarters have been unsanitary; they have insulted women… Herded together in lodging houses and living cheaply, Greeks are a menace to the American laboring man.”
“Pure American. No Rats, No Greeks”
In the west, numerous restaurants owned by native born Americans posted signs in their windows that said ‘Operated by an American” or “Pure American. No Rats, No Greeks.”
In places such as Idaho, Greeks could not live in certain neighborhoods and were restricted from using public parks.
In 1909, the Rhode Island legislature debated a bill that would have banned non-citizens from fishing for lobsters. It was aimed at Greeks by “native” locals who felt Greeks were crowding native Americans out of a profitable trade and gaining too much control over the industry in the region.
In 1911, a Greek immigrant who hauled trash from various restaurants was warned to “get out of the garbage business or we will kill all of you Greeks.”
A violent uprising took place against Greek lumberman in Grays Harbor, Washington in 1912 where hundreds of Greeks were forcibly expelled from the town by boat and train.
Violent uprisings— often led by the U.S. military and national guard also took place in mining towns like Bingham, Utah and of course, Ludlow, Colorado, where newly naturalized community activist Louis Tikas was gunned down by a member of the U.S. National Guard during what has been called the “Ludlow Massacre”.
These incidents were fueled by anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner elements that were prevalent in America at the time.
In 1916, a Phoenix, Arizona labor journal accused Greek businesses of imperiling the future of local merchants, informing readers that Greeks “are a menace to YOU!”
Official movements by citizen groups and the government were bolstered by openly racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, which specifically targeted Greeks, amongst the numerous other “undesirable” groups, including African Americans, Jews and Catholics.
But as the story goes— despite this open discrimination, racial antagonism and even an entire government mechanism working against this community, the Greeks in this country prospered, organized and became an active and vibrant part of its fabric.
A look at calls for closed borders today by politicians and activists— and complete bans on certain groups entering the nation based on race, nationality or religion, are nothing new. In fact, they’re a big part of American history. Fortunately, though, we have the mistakes of the past to draw on so that we don’t repeat these same mistakes in the future.
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I didn’t know about most of these things….a valuable history lesson, indeed.
Go home Greg, you are drunk. Greeks never cheered “death to America!” And wanted to bring their own law. Apples and oranges.
the ban by Trump was in direct response to legitimate security concerns.
Don’t compare Greek Americans to lesser people who are loathsome by nature and deserving of discrimination.
Really! You obviously were unable to read and understand the article. Back to school for you.
I have heard of all this from old Greeks here in Kansas City, Missouri, which had a huge Greek population because of the stock yards and the railroad-Many moved out of the city after the flood of the 1950’s. They were not allowed to go into the barber shops, and they were called Degos, like the Italians. Also, much of the government imposing Greeks coming into the country was because of the Greek Communist Parties in Greece. We came to the US in 1969- it was a very long process to get approved and I remember all the questions about being or not being a communist
The key word is that they became part of the social fabric rolled with the punches and earned there place, these new immigrants predominately from Muslim lands do not roll with punches they come fighting, demanding, trying to usurp power…even the Greeks never took up arms and subterfuge against the Americans, unlike the fake jihadists ( fake cause they couldn’t give a crap what’s going on oversees they just want a reason) also the first American hysteria against immigrants can be forgives we were the first wave, this current hysteria against Muslims is not unfounded but well documented…article is nice a a history lesson but not the same with what’s going on today
Right because ALL the Muslims come here and tke up arms…….keep listening to Trump and his hatred and not relising he would do the same things to GREEKS today in a heartbeat
Despoina, do you really believe that Trump “would do the same things to GREEKS today in a heartbeat”? Why would he do that? Are Greeks massacring their fellow citizens? Are Greeks setting the world on fire, beheading Christians, Yazidis, and selling children into sex slavery for 10 cents? Be sensible. The article overall is excellent but comparing Greeks to Muslim terrorists is a leftist trope that is irrational and even ignorant.
Despoina, you left home this morning without taking your meds……again
He does have 5 members of his staff with Greek ancestry.
I’ve seen footage of President Trump honoring Greek Independence Day, and noting his acquaintances with Greek ancestry.
But the truth is that many of the South and East European immigrants were communists, anarchists, mafiosi, etc. They DID engage in violence, corruption, vagrancy when they arrived. Sometimes because of oppression and alienation they encountered- but they also brought it with them.
There is literally no difference between painting all Muslim and or Arab with the same brush. To ignore this is to be the definition of a bigot.
Thanks for your honesty. The article is disingenuous. The Omaha Daily News extract pictured specifically refers to the murder of a policeman by a Greek and Mr Pappas does not even mention this.
So because a Greek murdered a policeman, all the other Greeks deserved to have their homes burned down? Wow, too bad they can’t teach critical thinking in school…
Please check L O U I S – T I K A S documentary.
GREGORY PAPPA I think more historical research needs to be done at the local and regional level regarding the Greek experience. What happened in South Omaha does not seem to have been the case for South Dakota, North Dakota Iowa and Minnesota. The KKK was not strong in the Upper-Midwest. Stephen Cusulos
Thanks for the history lesson. How exactly does this compare to what’s happening in the world right now? The Greeks came with bombs strapped to themselves? Ridiculous to even compare.
Really? Because all Muslim refugees come with bombs strapped on themselves? Way to generalize a whole ethnicity……pretty much the same way the Greeks were generalised in this article
Once again, Despoina, you make an argument of moral equivalence. What I have learned about people like yourself is that you can never bring yourselves to condemn Muslim terrorists, only those who condemn Muslim terrorists. For you, the real enemy is not Muslims but Christians or conservatives. All Muslims are good and all conservatives are evil in your ideological framework. Is that correct? Or do you condemn Muslim terrorism unequivocally without blame-shifting to our policies or racism or the Crusades or global warming as Bernie Sanders does?
Are you kidding me? Was there fear of terrorism associated to the Greeks coming in at that time? No. Dont come down on me honey, take a close look at who the real enemy is. So go ahead, join hands and sing to acceptance and love…they will be on the sidelines aiming to kill.
Tina, you made sense more than all the previous comments, you can’t compare Greeks to the Muslim terrorists!
Did the Greeks blow anything up, i don’t think so, whatever they were asked do they did.
try that these days with the Muslims.
Growing up in Chicago ,1930 to1945, (age 1- 15)with both parents immigrants from Greece,I lived through much of the”Anglo-Saxon.” Bias/ prejudice towards Mediterranen people, including. Myself,especially during WW 2 .the Italians suffered most.The Greek immigrants worked hard, opened businesses, sent us to schools for higher education,etc. The rich history of Greece and their contributions to society deserved better than those biased attitudes.
Such a bs comparison and twisting of the facts. Radical Islam is a political ideology – mission is to convert non believers or eradicate them. All the races Immigrating to this country were treated like dirt – chineese, Irish Italians etc. all trump is saying is put a temporary ban on non us citizens who are Muslim until our law makers figure out how to deal w the problem. Would it surprise you to know the real target in san bernandino were two high schools – 5000. Kids. This enemy is smart – they are doctors, engineers chemists they communicate in encrypted code our law enf cannot crack. Information coming out that the marriage was a front. Imagine a biological or chemical attack which is imminent. What trump is saying makes logical sense
Btw – great article on the Greeks. Hate the BS comparison of trying to connect trump to it. Ahepa was instrumental in helping the African American community in their fight for equal rights. Ahepa took on and beat the Kali klux clan and the Greeks were the first ethnic immigrants to come to the aid of the African Americans
It is unfortunate that this happened to Greek immigrants. Honestly, it happened to Italians, Irish and practically every immigrant group. The issue with Muslims is because they ascribe to Sharia Law which to them supersedes the Constitution. Islam is not only a religion; it is also a political ideology which governs all aspects of Muslim life. Islamic republics have “elected” presidents’, but they take their orders from the religious Mullahs. THAT is the problem – they believe Sharia Law should take precedence over our Constitution and every Muslim’s duty is to spread Islam by Jihad – by force if necessary. They cannon come to America and be loyal to the Constitution AND Sharia Law. The two are diametrically opposed ideologies and cannot co-exist. Discrimination against the Greeks and others was about economic issues (jobs) but this is different. Their aim is to put America under Sharia Law which is a freedom killer.
your analysis is very poor……if you do not like trump that’s your business, but do not try to blend in legitimate racism with today’s events….ashamed of you, will discontinue reading and following your page
happy birthday Mr. Pappas
Come on! Comparing matters pertaining to Greek and Italian immigrants of yesteryear to today’s Middle Eastern, Muslim immigrants, who mainly come to our shores absent of proper documentation, or vetting (or apparent desire to emulate and embrace mainstream American culture) to ensure that there aren’t individuals among them with intent to do harm, act according to numerous jihads declared against America, is comparing apples to oranges.
Why not be forthright about your disagreement with and dislike of Donald Trump, rather than attempt to manipulate truth, and in process, damage your credibility?
Tasos– Please let me know where the “manipulation of the truth” is…? PS… if you know anything about Greek and/or Italian immigration to the United States, you will know that these immigrants were considered dangerous to the American way of life. There were laws enacted against them throughout the nation and the National Guard even came in during strikes because their actions were called “un-American”.
There was a point in our American History where Greeks, Italians and Jews were not let into the Country, very true. In a country that was heavily Protestant and just received millions of immigrants at the turn of the century, I believe that Americans were ill prepared to receive those immigrants but made the best with what they had and honored the new Americans by assimilating these peoples into society.
What this has to do with modern day and Muslims? Already we see that there are some undesirable ideology that is being tucked in between the good Muslims and that is a major cause for concern. Such was also with the Italians where we know very well what happened when a few very criminal people tucked themselves between good Italians that were seeking a better life.
Americans keeping the Greeks, Italians and Jews out of our county at that time was very important to stop any further undesirables from entering the Country. But unlike Italians and Jews, Greeks did not form any criminal organization or cause civil unrest in any way. We were more concerned with keeping our family values and our religion intact. Greeks can be funny people but to say we were criminal is not true and to say we were dangerous to this country is also not true.
“No criminal organizations or civil unrest”
The Newspapers itself (not presented fully) actually explains why. It says a Greek criminal killed a Police Officer. Also it mentions how the Greek immigrants would violate local women. Greek culture at the time was extremely patriarchal, very similar to Islam in that perspective. The reason why refugees are known to “rape women” in Europe.
I respectfully disagree. One of the most important factors left out, was the Greek immigrants were Christians ☦️
The USA is/was founded on Christian/Judeo faith principles by the Christian Founding father of this nation.
Muslims come from the false prophet and are the antiChrist. Look up your scriptures.
Don’t misrepresent this absolute truth.
Because the Muslim Turks forced the Greeks to come as they were under ottoman occupation for 500 years.
Sharia law has less to do with Islam and more to do with anachronistic and paternalistic societies that are deemed behind the times by critics in the so called civilized countries of the world. In the absence of assimilation into cities and with multiple generations remaining in the same areas for a prolonged period of time an eye for an eye and laws like Hammurabi’s would be the norm. As Christians if we truly beleive that one who does not accept christ will be relegated to hell for all eternity,wouldn’t we be doing them a favor by forcibly converting them? We have shown a penchant for false flag attacks…democrats who are actually neocon war mongers in disguise could be using open borders as a ruse to explain away the next “attack” coming our way. We allow monarchies to commit civil rights atrocities to their own populace and overthrow democratically elected leaders from countries that won’t play ball. There is plenty of room in Jordan and Saudi Arabia to house most who are fleeing Syria (the only ones fleeing now will bee the remainder of the fighting force we assembled still remaining in Aleppo. 200k left in ISIS and Al Nusra controlled areas 1.5 mil in government controlled areas. Trump is right allowing them in without having a clue who the heck they are is setting us up for the next stage of the cabal master plan for all of us. The founding fathers were freemasons by the way and set up a a country based on the separation of church and state. If you’re going to mention judo Christian values you may want to know that Islam is an Abrahamic religion as well. Lastly the false prophet will arrive at the time of the anti christ. He is the false prophet spoken of in revalations I thought. In mind mind equating Jesus as a prophet rather than son of god,which leaves it up to interpretation as to what is meant by that term makes more sense to me. We were supposed to be monotheistic but have strayed from that in many ways . The holy trinity is an entirely man made creation based on select passages in the bible.
The pictured extract from the Omaha Daily News refers to the killing of a policeman by a Greek. How come you don’t mention that in your article? It’s better to tell the full story.
Also, the cartoon with the Greek, Italian etc leaders cheering on the exodus is interesting. It’s clear that the cartoonist does not think “all Greeks” etc are problematic, given the portrayal of the leaders. The implication is that the most undesirable elements from the countries in question were going to the States. Now this may or may not be true, and the “undesirability” could be due to criminal or political reasons (if the latter, it depends, of course, on one’s perspective – one person’s anarchist is another person’s freedom fighter). The most likely case is that amongst the many immigrants, there were criminal elements represented, perhaps disproportionately.
The Omaha Daily News article also referred to the Greek immigrants insulting women, something that was more than likely given the horribly patriarchal nature of Greek society at the turn of last century (don’t forget that scene in Zorba the Greek!), although I hope it would never have been on the scale of the disgusting Cologne attacks.
Great post. I find it very relevant after the Muslim ban was enacted this weekend.
Stop comparing these destructive Third World savages to the founders of civilization emulated by the USA and most of the free world.
The threat of Islamic terrorism exists in Europe only as a result of mass Islamic immigration and forced multiculturalism.
Of course there are Muslims who just want to live their lives and have nothing to do with terrorism, however that doesn’t negate the fact that the ongoing Islamization of Europe and the tensions that are bubbling away under the surface as a result actually exist.
Multiculturalism allows for the creation of naturally segregated communities who differ racially, culturally and religiously and these differences are irreconcilable because that is just how nature works.
Different communities who live in close proximity develop grievances that result in tension and animosity and this is a consequence of ignoring nature by trying to force different groups together.
This tension arises out of distrust, different values, traditions, cultural norms and a different morality.
This happens only in societies that are no longer homogenous.
Multiculturalism is literally a Weapon of Mass Destruction that will bring nothing but conflict and suffering.
That is true for Europeans, just as it is true for non-Europeans.
It is an unnatural way to construct society and as usual it will be the innocent who will, and who are suffering.
When armed police and the military patrol the streets of Europe at Christmas and New Years Eve to protect landmarks and people from terrorism, then you know that something is seriously wrong.
Why doesn’t Mr Pappas tell us what the Islamist Turks did to the Greeks and All Christians in Minor Asia, in Kon/Polis, Anatolia etc ? That’s the Real Sad Story of the Greeks Mr Pappas…when are we going to learn from our History?… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTngfHHEi3M
Why doesn’t Mr Pappas tell us what the Islamist Turks did to the Greeks and All Christians in Minor Asia, in Kon/Polis, Anatolia etc ? That’s the Real Sad Story of the Greeks Mr Pappas…when are we going to learn from our History?… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTngfHHEi3M
Hey Sam– check out The Pappas Post. There are dozens of articles about the topic. Dozens! PS… I know our history well. Very well.
Gregory Pappas- unbelievable the amount of people that don’t want to accept the history of Nativist Americans and anti-immigrant fervor. The fact that White Nationalist leaning white bread Americans otherized Greeks and others they felt were undesirable is not an attack on Greek or Greek immigrants. Its remarkable how many people went full blown defensive in an emotional think skinned sort of way!
It’s sick that you’re more steamed about being compared to Muslims. So, I guess since “Muslims are the true enemy”, I guess White people are completely okay for doing what they did?
Sorry Please delete my first comment which shows my email….instead of my name …THANK YOU
Thanks for the history lesson, but you were off the mark before you even started. Trump’s “undesirable” Muslims are the ones that the whole world – except Liberals for some reason – has seen raping and sexually assaulting women in Europe recently. No, it’s not all Muslims, but a very dangerous swath of them that are almost impossible to distinguish from the good ones. Don’t even try to compare Greeks looking to start a good life to the animals that only seek to harm.
My grandfather came to the US through Ellis Island in 1906 from Greece. he was 14 and alone. I remember him telling me about “no dogs or Greeks allowed” signs. He was in Chicago for a couple years with an uncle then moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where he started a bakery business. During the depression he let a lot of folks buy bread on “credit” – which very few ever paid. So he was kind, a “good American” who helped his neighbors.
I grew up in Salt Lake City, as well. I was married at Holy Trinity. My children were baptized there. I am full blood Greek. You have no idea what discrimination is like, until you are surrounded my Mormons!
So because of that ancient history we need to now support anyone and everyone coming into the country? Kind of like we do in Greece now? How’s that working out? Éleos piá!
The Greeks in America Theodoros Saloutos Harvard Univ. Press-1964
Greeks Americans:Struggle and Success-Charles Moskos 1980
Greek Immigrationn Henry Pratt Fairchild 1911
Greek Immigrants Thomas Burgess Greek Immigrants. in the 1920’s and 193o’s Greek Immigrants sented some $200? Million in Remittances back to their patrida!!!
Mr Pappas ;
I read your total synopsis of how things worked.You are speaking in a very liberal sense.Some of the statements you made correlating Greeks with moslems,please retract all this nonesense.The Muslims and the turks are out to kill us all.we do not have anyghing to do with Muslims not even close.You should re direct your thinking the spectrum you are thinking of is not a metamorphosis of proper facts.We were all dicriminated against while entering the country.Even the Irish were treated like dogs.Remembering five points Nyc if you are very astute in immigration facts the White ptotestants were in charge of the US A we were all encroaching on them no one was educated then.We evolved into one of the best citizens.My father peter athens was a navy war veteran,my grand father Aristedes panagakos was a war veteran,I am a vietnam war Veteran decorated as such.I find your litany of facts a leading statement to correlate us with undesirable people and so do many other people.Please watch what you say, thank you…
The article makes sense, it speaks to stereotyping a group of people and otherizing them. It was wrong to do it to Southern European immigrants and its wrong to do it to Muslim immigrants. End of story, period.
I guess my comment of Oct 3, 2018 shut down the debate! Lol!
Your absolutely right, I will say this sometimes the bullied forgets he was bullied,, such the case here, with some Greeks taking offense.
It worries be how many bigoted Greeks are on this comment section. It seems like Greeks are more steamed about “being compared to evil Muslims” than the meaning of the article. I’m a Republican myself, but being a bigot isn’t right. I see a whole lot of “Greeks were good people, Muslims are dangerous so you can’t compare”.
Well, Greeks too were seen as dangerous, and just because most Greeks were ‘genuine’ and hardworking, doesn’t mean some of their boats were full of Greeks who were involved in criminality. Greeks and Italians were often associated with criminality back then, and in some cases it were actually true. In the Omaha newspaper is even mentions a Police Officer being killed by a Greek. Also, Greek culture at the time was more more ‘Islamic’ seeming in terms of patriarchy. Many Greek men did indeed assault American white women often times, which was also mentioned in the Omaha Newspaper!
Reasons like the ones listed above are the real reasons of racism, not skin color or ethnicity. As a Greek I will admit that Greeks weren’t all perfect people, and those bad ones are the reasons for Anti-Greek racism in America. Plain and simple!
To say that “Greeks, unlike Italians and Jews, never formed any criminal associations”. I call BS. In Mani and Crete, just like Sicily, there are tons of Greek family Clans that existed since the Ottoman Empire, they were fierce warriors. You don’t think any of these Clan members crept their way through too?
As a Greek “American”, I am aghast at some of the comments here comparing contemporary events without context and understanding of the racism in the US. As Greeks who suffered Ottoman occupation for 400 years, we should know the levers of tyranny when we see, hear them and participate in our society.
I have personally experienced good cops and unfortunately seen the worst in a few bad apples who are intoxicated with the power to yield life altering decisions with the power of authority which we as citizens entrust them to serve and protect us. All too often, we expect these officers to be without fault! Like all people, they have their own struggles, biases and are operating in a constant state of militarization of their job. Non of this is an excuse for not living up to their civic responsibilities as officers and serving the public which is what we expect! And yes, as defined in the Constitution of the US not as they interpret. My interaction with a Florida police officer in 1985 at West Palm Beach could have ended my life if it was not for the actions of another officer. I was visiting my aunt at the time who was very concerned about me driving in Florida because i was from the northeast. I laughed it off and said i would be fine, i just wanted to grab a burger and would be right back. My uncle said whatever you do, don’t get pulled over. I thought nothing of it. It did not take long before I was in pulled over for allegedly speeding during a terrestrial downpour while i was barely able to see from the windshield. The officer walked up to the car and asked me for my license and registration and when I asked why I was pulled over his response: you were speeding. I said i don’t understand how that could be possible as i was barely going 10 miles and hour due to the heavy rain and handed the officer my drivers license and the insurance card. Here is where things became dangerous. The officers first comment, “you a damn Yankee boy” and “a foreigner” after intently butchering my name which he could not and would not pronounce. He asked me to get out of the car which I replied I was afraid too and he stated that I was resisting his commands and would have to teach me a lesson. Afraid, I said I was opening the door and getting out and I stood in front of the officer. My friend who came with me from CT and was with me, stated that he could not talk to us like that and attempted to get out of the car. The officer pulled his revolver and literally glued it to my head, I can still feel the cold steal and impression of the gun on my forehead. He tells me if my friend says or moves another step, he was going to blow me away! By then two other police vehicles showed up and a sergeant walking over kept asking the officer to put his weapon down as they approached us. The cop with the gun to my head was unresponsive and kept the weapon to my forehead. The sergeant literally walked up and had to remove the gun from his officers hand and calm me down as I was shaking in fear.
Racism, discrimination and targeting are very real and while I have not had another experience like that, I know of I was black, brown, colored or if the cops came a few minutes later than they did, I could have had a very different outcome because I was “a Yankee and a Foreigner”. I can’t imagine the fear and intimidation minorities who appear to be different, in color, or other characteristics are treated when stopped.
Unless you have been under a rock, no one deserves to be choked, killed or maimed for a $20 counterfeit bill that turned out to be real, nor to be shot in your bed or killed simply because you are “different”. This has nothing to do with religion, it has everything to do with being a decent human being. I support the mission of the police to serve the public good and to protect but not at the point of a gun, baton, fear and intimidation. Amazing how they attached innocent protestors while a few bad elements looted! I guess we are all the enemy when they have a badge and can use force indiscriminately!
Not now, now while we have a constitution and while we can still demonstrate as a right enshrined in the very thing they are sworn to protect!
Say their names: George Floyd, Breana Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Trayvon Martin, Clark, Castile, and many many others!
This is about humanity and decency!
Wow, “Proud Greek”…line up for your swastika at tonight’s RNC
Y’all are phony as hell. Greeks are prejudiced. How many times have you heard comments about “mauvri” or “hebreí”… it’s even “funnier” when it is said in Greek in public places ignoring that there may be others who speak Greek. It’s gets more complicated when a Greek is involved with an “hebrea” or someone that is not Greek or Anglo.