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xenophobia, graphic descriptions of historical violence 

A neighbor turned up a news story from 1887 about a railroad “accident” not far from our town, on what is still an active passenger and freight line. The Italian American laborers are dehumanized first by being treated as a disposable commodity (“accidents” were frequent enough that they carried metal ID tags), and second by being depicted as irrational hotheads for reacting to the trauma of seeing their comrades run over by a train.

xenophobia, graphic descriptions of historical violence 

Then they have the audacity to protest when the “padrone” (labor procurer for the railroad) loots their comrades’ bodies with vague promises about handing over the money to the Italian consulate in trust for their families. (And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.)

xenophobia, graphic descriptions of historical violence 

I can picture the section of railroad where this happened. It’s chilling. And as with so many injustices, the world just moves on.

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