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Word Count: 1,628
The appalling conditions of New York Citys immigrants were disclosed by Jacob Riis in How the Other Half Lives Being an immigrant from Denmark himself Riis felt it was his duty to present others the disturbing life that many immigrants endured including children Riis a photographer was able to portray the slums as no other person had been able to do before He brought to light the crime disease and hopelessness of the tenements His book and photographs led to legislation throughout New York State Due to the hopelessness of the immigrants and children along with his obligation to the truth Riis felt social reforms were needed in the slums of New YorkThere were two groups Jacob Riis documented extensively He and the rest of American society in the late 1800s felt that children were the innocent victims of poverty How the Other Half Lives depicts the situation of the poor children as being out of their control Riis spoke kindly of their struggles throughout the documentary and fought on their behalf for reforms The other group discussed by Riis were the immigrants There were two types of immigrants that came to America in the late 1800s for new opportunities Those who had the same physical characteristics as the people who were already here and those who did not Northern and Western immigrants looked and talked similar to people in the United States African Americans Jews Italians and the Chinese were physically different Americans felt threatened by those who were not like themselves They thought that they were just over here to make money and then go back home However Americans felt less threatened by those who looked and talked similar Riis treated northern and western European immigrants with respect while he was not so kind to other immigrants He constantly ridiculed and dehumanized those immigrants that lived in the tenements Fortunately there were times when he showed compassion and spoke of them kindly
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