TEXT

'What Has Happened to America?'

This letter was republished in Teaching Tolerance’s Us and Them: A History of Intolerance in America in 2006. This flier is a primary source and message of hate and is not to be taught as an exemplar. Use it with the Nine Essential Areas for Civil Rights Education, focusing on the "Opposition" area (page 12).
Author
Bristol Knights
Grade Level
6-8

Dear Homeowner,

I saw the for sale sign in front of your home. Hopefully, the American dream is coming true for you and your family. You are selling your home and moving into a bigger, more beautiful one. …

The truth, so many times, is that Americans are being forced from their homes. They must sell out their dream. …

What has happened to America in 30 short years? Is it our destiny to decline as other great nations have in the past? … Only you can save America. I don’t care if you know some good non-Whites. The White Race built this nation, and ever since we let the flood gates open to non-white immigrants and gave non-Whites “equal rights,” we have been declining.

If you think it’s bad now, wait till the minority becomes the majority. And at the rate they’re multiplying, and immigrating here, it won’t be long. We don’t have to allow that to happen. America is our country!

Source
Courtesy of Southern Poverty Law Center.
Text Dependent Questions
Question
What is the purpose of the second scenario presented in the opening paragraph (of being forced from their home)?
Answer
If the homeowners are being forced to sell their home because of bad fortune, the letter’s writer hopes to capitalize on their feelings of anger or sadness and direct them toward “non-Whites,” the group who is likely responsible for the homeowners’ bad fortune, according to the letter’s writer.
Question
The author opens the third paragraph with two questions, followed by the statement, “Only you can save America.” What is the purpose of following the questions with this statement?
Answer
Through his/her questions, the author implies that America is declining in its power and greatness. Through his/her statement, the author directly states that the homeowners are personally responsible for stopping the decline and “saving” America.
Question
Who is responsible for the decline of America?
Answer
All non-White immigrants
Question
What is the purpose of the final paragraph?
Answer
The purpose of the final sentences of the letter is to instill fear in the homeowners and call them to action.