Posted: March 21st, 2022

Ellis Island Oral History Archive: Interview with Thomas Allan

Ellis Island Oral History Archive: Interview with Thomas Allan
The excerpt is about Thomas Allan, a Scottish citizen traveling to America to meet his father. Thomas had a younger brother Wee Willie. His mother died during the birth of Allan’s third brother, which heart broke his father. He decided to travel to the US in search of a new and better life. A few years later, the father sends them to stay with him in the US after settling and remarrying a new wife. The two brothers had a greater expectation about their journey and even the new country they were migrating to. The higher expectations were mainly due to the great stories they were told about the country. Thomas recounts what happens on their way to America, searching for new life and meeting their father.
A tag was placed on the brothers’ necks then they were placed on the boat. Thomas describes how their journey was eventful. On their way, there was a big storm on the sea that tampered with the ship. Also, they were quarantined because his brother, Willie, had chickenpox. Thomas tried to plea with them, trying to tell them he already had chickenpox. But his request was in vain due to his young age. Due to quarantine, the two brothers could not meet their father, and they were forced to start a new life on the island. The excerpt was unofficial and its purpose was to demonstrate and educate individuals about social injustice that exists in the world. It was written when a great change was taking place in the settlers of the US. Immigrants were arriving from West and Norther Europe due to economic and political oppression. The paper was intended to be read mainly by the government officials in the land for them to impose laws that may reduce social injustice, discrimination, and bias.
The excerpt is significant as it portrays social differences and discriminations that existed in the US. The story illustrates how authorities discriminated against visitors. The two brothers are quarantined because one of them had chickenpox. In the real scenario, only the brother who had chickenpox, Wee Willie, should have been quarantined. But both Thomas and Willie are quarantined because of injustice and discrimination that was present in the land at that time. Just as the two brothers were treated in the US, many immigrants were also mistreated. Several immigrants were paid less and taken advantage of than others. They do not feel the love, enjoy the rights, and encouragements Americans enjoy. According to Findling et al. (1433), settlers who are either asylum seekers or refugees in the US are weighed down by racism or discrimination nationality, ethnicity, among other factors. They suffered verbal and physical abuse while others had to deal with discrimination for being different.
Besides, the excerpt discusses age discrimination present in the land. Age discrimination occurs when an individual is not given specific opportunities or treated less favorably than other people in the same situation. Individuals may be treated differently mainly because of their young age. The two brothers are mistreated and discriminated against due to their age. Thomas is quarantined due to sickness of his brother. In the old times, the infected immigrants were isolated and quarantined in the Elli Island until they recover. However, that was not the case for the two brothers. Only Willie was infected with chickenpox but even Thomas, who had already been infected and was now free from the disease is getting quarantined. That was injustice, discrimination and bias due to age. The excerpt was highly affective as it met the author’s goals. The author was trying to bring out true picture of injustice and how European immigrants were being treated in the US. His arguments are effective as they clearly explains discrimination, bias, and social injustice. He intended to bring change on how immigrants were being treated in the US. Also, Thomas experiences age discrimination when he tries to explain to his detainees that he is already healed of chickenpox; thus, there is no need to keep him in quarantine. The detainee ignores his plea mainly because of his age. He sees him as a small child who does not deserve to be treated well. As a result, the two brothers are quarantined together.

Works Cited
Findling, Mary G., et al. “Discrimination in the United States: experiences of native Americans.” Health services research 54 (2019): 1431-1441.

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