Inculcating the "us" versus "them" mentality is starting young these days. The Washington Post reported yesterday that a school in Prince George's County in MD cancelled a skit called "The Uninvited Guest" that was to be performed in a third grade class after objections from parents over the skit's content. (h/t Hillary Stebbins) The skit was downloaded from a website providing supplementary material to secondary school teachers. The Post has reprinted that skit here. It is true it is a skit for the third grade class, but still, there is a difference between glossing over major complexities to make the material age appropriate and feeding biased propaganda to small children.
It is essentially about a number of guests who meet at Uncle Sam's party in the "Country Haven." The name of the fictitious country alone, particularly the word "haven" already evokes drawbridges and moats, and the need to guard against undesirables. The character of "Uncle Sam" is obviously to symbolize the U.S., but elides the democratic processes and inputs that go into making U.S. immigration policy. No public policy is ever just about one person "liking" you or not. Even third graders should learn that.
A guest asks Uncle Sam whether the has really invited "all these people" to the party. This exchange follows:
Uncle Sam: No invitations are needed to come to Country Haven. It's open to everyone who lives here.
Guest #3: But I overheard that guest say something about someone being on a visa.
Uncle Sam: Oh yes. A visa lets in people who don't live here. People who want to come for a visit just need to get my approval. If I like them and I have the space, I welcome them in. I tell them how long they can stay and if they want to stay longer, I think it over.
Guest #3: So getting a visa is like being invited to the party, right? And it's a party that anyone can come to?
Uncle Sam: Well, not just anyone. Outsiders who may pose a threat to the health or safety of my family aren't welcome here. I don't want anyone drug addicts or drug traffickers to come in either. No criminals. We have enough problems, we don't need to invite more!
Guest #3: That makes sense. I wouldn't invite those people into my house. That's just asking for trouble.
Where does one even start?
"And I have enough space" co-notates geographical territory in the U.S. rather than an issue of resource scarcity, the use of public goods, and access to the freedom and privileges and immunities of the nation. I suppose the analogy to "space" was to get across there are limited (geographical?) resources, but there is no discussion of why those lucky enough to win the birth lottery are more entitled to those resources than others.
The analogy of "a party" also leads one astray in that a party is a private affair where one can limit guests at will.
In addition to being wrong on so many levels, the skit suggests that "unwanted guests", presumably undocumented immigrants, only mean the nation harm and could not never be a boon to Country Haven. Undocumented immigrants are only drug dealers, traffickers and criminals? Hmm.
I suppose it's a minor technicality that the Native Americans most certainly did not invite the pilgrims and colonists into Country Haven. Details, details, that we need not concern third graders with.