Sorry, Donald: Minnesota's Norwegian immigrants fled a shithole too

tags: racism, immigration, Trump

Susan Du  is a staff writer for City Pages.

He'd really like to see more immigrants from Norway, President Trump recently announced to fellow lawmakers, and fewer guys from "shithole countries" like Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa (a continent).

There's a small problem with his logic. People usually don't uproot themselves from their homelands, cross oceans carrying all their worldly possessions, and resettle in a strange land if they're not trying to leave behind something shitty.

For the ancestors of Minnesota's large Norwegian population, it was the old country's total dearth of land and opportunity.

A common fable tells that in the mid-19th century, women's rights were so evolved that instead of the inheritance going to the eldest son, family farms were divided evenly among all the children. If you were one of a dozen kids, you might just get left with three rocks and a tree.

That's actually the romantic revisioning. The real story's way shittier, says St. Olaf Professor Emeritus Odd Lovoll, retired editor of the Norwegian-American Historical Association in Northfield. ...

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