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The matter of naturalization is under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Naturalization, Department of Labor, and community committees are urged to cooperate with the Commissioner of Naturalization and his examiners in all matters pertaining to this important factor in the process of Americanization.
COST OF LIVING.
As a rule the better and more dependable stores are not convenient to the foreign born. Thus they are left to the mercies of hucksters and those keepers of small stores whose prices must necessarily be high because of the limited amount of their business. Community committees may, therefore, with great profit study ways anıt means of bringing the consumers among the foreign born closer to the producers. Cooperative buying plans, curb markets, and the like may be instituted which will reduce materially the extreme cost of living among the foreign born and permit them with the same expenditure materially to raise their standard of living.
Domestic science teachers and those women with such training or experience can, through classes of foreign-born women, render most valuable assistance. The field is not one for “reformers” or “uplifters.” It is a field for a woman filled with love for her sister women, anxious to help and with the tact to offer assistance without offending. It can not be urged too strongly that ways must be studied out to make the necessary contact with the women of the foreign born by giving them opportunities to teach as well as to learn.
A young domestic science teacher who was working with a group of foreignborn mothers taught them how to make gingerbread, a very good thing in itself. The trouble was that the teacher was very young and was having her first experience, and she felt that she had taken these mothers several generastions ahead in their knowledge of the art of cooking. The mothers, in an innocent act of friendliness, taught her differently. A few days after the gingerbread lesson they sent her a large plate of that delicious “stroudel,” that wonderful pastry that we can never learn to make with the skill that these foreign women inherited as part of their birthright. The young teacher was wise, even in her youthful inexperience, and she invited the group to teach her how to make the “stroudel.” Her greatest return for this spirit of exchange came during the days which followed, and it was part of her work to teach the conservation of wheat, sugar, and other ingredients dear to the hearts of all good housekeepers. These women not only were willing for the sake of the teacher to learn to use the food substitutes but became missionaries and taught other foreign women.'
Those communities which provide material assistance in securing, plowing, and harrowing garden plats can thereby perform Americanization service which will at once create thrift, provide recrea
1 Mrs. Harriet P. Dow, in Conference Proceedings.
tion, reduce the cost of living, and encourage fellowship! Surely no more valuable work in citizenship can be undertaken. In many communities whole blocks of unkept vacant lots have been turned into beautiful gardens by the foreign born through the stimulus of assistance in securing and preparing the lots, regular inspection, and a system of prizes. Such lots may be prepared for planting at a small cost of money and labor when done by wholesale, where the effort required to prepare a single lot is often prohibitive.
EDUCATING THE COMMUNITY.
Some one has proposed the following definition of Americanization as presenting the most pressing phase of the problem: “ The preparation of the hearts of the native born to receive into full fellowship those born in other lands." There can be no doubt that the failure of the foreign born to find their place in America can often be traced to the neglect and lack of understanding of those born of immigrants of other generations.
Community committees should encourage in every possible way the meeting together as neighbors and citizens of a common community of those of all races, including the American Americanization waits upon mutual respect, which in turn waits upon acquaintance. Community forums, pageantry, recreation, community sings, and other methods have been described. The moving-picture theaters, the churches, the lodges, the labor unions, the women's clubs offer other facilities for the welding together of our peoples which will be taken advantage of by committees with vision and purpose.
The American and foreign-language press will be glad to cooperate with community committees by printing live news and contributed articles which will point the way to this fuller understanding. which is so necessary. They will without doubt be glad to eliminate from their own columns any matter which committees will point out to them as being harmful to this better understanding.
Speakers' bureaus have been formed in some communities to carry to the foreign born correct information in regard to America's purpose and ideals. Heretofore this opportunity has been left to those with an “ism” to urge, to the ignorant and unscrupulous. In New York City a “flying squadron ” has been formed under what is almost a military discipline to carry on such a propaganda of patriotism. Wherever they find the enemies of this Government at work upon the “ soap box," there representatives of the flying squadron are ordered with soap boxes of their own. The distorted and insidious arguments of the agitator are met by a calm and intelligent presentation of the facts. Such a squadron can perform valiant service in
any community, not only in combating dangerous propaganda but in presenting, wherever men may gather, the community's duty in the creation of a homogeneous citizenship.
From the handbook of the flying squadron of the National Security League of New York are taken the following excellent suggestions to speakers:
Speakers should choose a definite subject and develop it. Do not talk at random. Use simple English. Avoid vulgar and profane language. Do not be patronizing. Be earnest always. Never lose your self-control. Assume that your audience is patriotic. Announce that you will answer pertinent questions at the close of your speech. Do not tolerate hostile interruptions.
Begin with a positive, concrete, striking statement. Tell your audience something at the start that will immediately grip their attention. Use short sentences. Try to make one word do the work of two. Avoid fine phrases. You aren't there to give them an earfull, but a mindfull. Talk to the back row of your audience; you'll hit everything closer in. Talk to the simplest intelligence in your audience; you'll touch everything higher up. Be natural and direct. Sincerity wears no frills. Speak slowly. A jumbled sentence is a wasted sentence. Finish strong and short.
In California this plan has been used in carrying messages by speakers in foreign languages to those who understand only those languages:
These certified foreign speakers should go wherever foreign groups are found-to their own gathering places. They should stress particularly
(a) The obligation that democracy places upon the citizen.
(6) The fact that national unity can not be secured while race prejudice exists.
(c) The advantages of democracy to the foreign born and his children.
(d) The impossibility of securing national unity unless each citizen becomes an effective unit.
(e) The contribution of the foreign born to America and the world.
* From the program of State Commission of Immigration and Housing of California,
ORGANIZING THE COMMUNITY.
A community about to interest itself in Americanization should, first of all, take stock of its resources. This can be done through a survey or similar study in which both the existing facilities and the possible facilities for work are determined as accurately as possible. Such a study will show what activities can be entered upon without aduling to the equipment at hand.
When a community takes stock of its resources, it should look not only for physical equipment but also for existing organizations and individuals capable of rendering effective service. The next step is to bring these resources together, under a single purpose, with a willingness to pool their interests for the common good. Such a scheme as this does not rob any agency of its individuality. It simply directs individuality into the most effective channels.'
Americanization, in the last analysis, must be a community problem. The foreign born come in contact but little if at all with the Federal Government. Unless the people of the communities make the foreign born a part of the life of that community, they can never be a part of the life of the Nation. Just as the Nation raised its enormous funds for war by asking each community to produce its quota, so this task of bringing our boreign-born people into full citizenship must depend upon the communities. The field for work as described in the previous pages is a great
Here is a task in which every power for good in every community can find a part. Here is a task that no one agency alone can ever solve. All the forces of the community must be mobilized and coordinated. It should not be necessary to create new agencies. Every community has agencies which, properly enthused and directed, can carry out the work.
It is not possible definitely to lay out a program for each agency for the reason that the number and strength of these agencies vary so materially in different communities. Suggestions can only be made as to some of the ways in which the various agencies can serve. Without coordination and cordial teamwork, but little can be accomplished. The ambitions and jealousies of organizations must be controlled and eliminated for the sake of a better America. Just as that man is not a good member of an organization who is not willing to submerge himself for the sake of the organization, so that organization is not a good member which is not willing to submerge itself
1 Charles H. Paull, in Conference Proceedings.
THE COUNCILS OF DEFENSE,
COMMUNITY CENTERS.---The formation of community centers in the schools and elsewhere and their use as means of education, recreation, entertainment,
fellowship, and the inculcation of the fundamentals of the Americanization program.
their own problems,
food demonstrations, etc.
greater courtesy in dealing with them, and for the elimination of nicknames. RECREATION.-Provision of healthful and interesting recreation and occupation to take the place of undesirable customs or activities. Extension of playgrounds
and parks, Provisions for pageants and parades and of community singing for the stimulation of patriotism and nationalization, HOUSING.-Elimination of adverse and unsuitable housing conditions; better sanitation; adequate building and sanitary codes; Increased work for public health
and safety; child welfare.