Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Vincent N. Parrillo
The Dillingham Flaw is a relatively new concept to describe a centuries-old phenomenon of faulty logic when nativists misinterpret and react to the presence of immigrants in their midst. It ignores diversity and assumes homogeneity, thereby setting a framework for negativity about newcomers. The term draws its name from a special commission created in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt to look into the “immigration problem.” Chaired by Senator William P. Dillingham of Vermont, the commission, over a 4-year period, listened to testimony from civic leaders, educators, social scientists, and social workers and made onsite visits to Ellis Island and New York's Lower East Side. In 1911, the commission issued a 41-volume report of its findings. Unfortunately, the report was flawed in its application and interpretation of the data that the commission had so tirelessly collected. Social scientists agree that the commission erred in its use of simplistic categories for diverse ...