immigration/citizenship

A Daily Mail story reports that women lawyers are being told by “image consultants’ that to appear “professional” they should enhance their femininity by wearing skirts and stilettos, but avoid drawing attention to their breasts.  Thoughts about the word “professional” after the screenshot (thanks to Jason S. for the link):

A spokesman for the company doling out this advice says that it’s about being “professional.”  This is a great term to take apart.  What do we really mean when we say “professional”?

How much of it has to do with proper gender display or even, in masculinized workplaces, simply masculine display?

How much of it has to do with whiteness?  Are afros and corn rows unprofessional?   Is speaking Spanish?  Why or why not?

How much of it has to do with appearing attractive, heterosexual, monogamous, and, you know, not one of those “unAmerican” religions?

For that matter, how much of it has to do with pretending like your work is your life, you are devoted to the employer, and your co-workers are like family (anyone play Secret Santa at work this year)?

What do we really mean when we say “professional”?  How does this word get used to coerce people into upholding normative expectations that center certain kinds of people and marginalize others?

I have seen lots of graphs showing rates of immigration to the U.S. over time, but I just found this graph showing the rates of emigration from Mexico from 2006 to early summer of 2008 (from the Migration Information Source website; this is all emigrants, regardless of destination, though of course the vast majority will be to the U.S.):

A quick note on the data: Since it required someone from a family to be left in Mexico to be asked about family emigration patters, it doesn’t include those situations where an entire family left all at once; however, my understanding of immigration patterns is that this type of immigration is a minority of all movements, since most families prefer to send one or two family members to get a foothold in the host country.

As we see, there’s a general overall downward trend during that time period, which isn’t surprising given the downturn in the U.S. economy, especially the construction industry. The Mexican government reports that remittances sent back to Mexico are down this year as well.

 There is also a seasonal pattern, with the period from August to February of each year being the lowpoint and then picking up again in the spring. My first thought, since I study agriculture, was that this might have something to do with the growing season and when agricultural workers are needed in the U.S., but of course it’s a stereotype that most Mexican immigrants are field workers, so that’s probably not it.

Any thoughts on what might explain that pattern?

I just discovered the entirely excellent website Asian Nation, run by C.N. Le and full of great information about the Asian American community. Here are some tables showing what percent of various Asian American groups are married to spouses of the same or other groups, updated as of October 2007 using Census data (an explanation of the three columns follows):

Ok, now to explain the three columns of numbers. The first one presents data for all marriages that include at least one Asian American spouse–this will include large numbers of immigrants who were married before they moved to the U.S. The second column includes only those marriages where at least one spouse was raised in the U.S., defined as either born here or moved here by age 13. The third column includes only those marriages where both spouses were raised in the U.S. According to Le, this group represents less than 25% of all marriages including an Asian partner, but “…has the advantage of including only those who were raised and socialized within American society and its racial dynamics. It is this U.S.-raised population that best represents young Asian Americans, since they are the ones who have the most exposure to prevailing American cultural images and media.”

Not surprisingly, endogamous (in-group) marriage rates drop off significantly among U.S.-raised Asian Americans. There are other interesting gender patterns as well. Notice, for instance, that Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Filipina women are quite a bit more likely to be married to a White partner (the most common out-group spouses) than are men, and for the remaining groups, women are slightly more likely to be married to a White spouse. You might discuss the social and historical factors that might cause that pattern, and compare it to the trend in marriages with a Black and a White spouse, in which the gender pattern is usually reversed–Black men are more likely to be married to Whites than are Black women. It might also be worth noting that Korean and Filipina women are significantly less likely to marry endogamously than the other Asian American ethnic groups.

This graph shows the total number of people allowed into the U.S. under refugee status since 1983, by region of the world:

Here is the key to the numbers on the graph (found here):

*Refers to fiscal years with the exception of 2004, for which data ends in June.
1. Large Cuban and Indochinese waves of refugees, prior to 1983
2a. Cold War period, Glastnost/Perestroika, 1985-1991
2b. Soviet Union dismantled, December 1991
3a. Balkans period: Break-up of Yugoslavia, 1992
3b. Balkans period: Expulsions of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, 1998
4. Civil conflict period: Somalia, Sudan, Liberia, Ethiopia, late 1990s-present
5. Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
Authors’ tabulation of ORR data.
This map shows U.S. cities with the largest numbers of refugees resettled there:

Both of these images were found following links in this essay at Migration Information Source.

English First is an organization advocating the adoption of English-only laws in the U.S., which would mean government agencies and officials would not be allowed to conduct any type of business in a language other than English. They also oppose bilingual education and bilingual ballots. Here is a screenshot of their homepage’s banner; perhaps you will note a small irony, coming from an organization concerned about people being unable to use the English language:

There is a very clear anti-immigrant stance, which in some cases bleeds over into a general anti-Latino perspective. For instance, the website has a link to a letter sent to Attorney General Mukasey, expressing concern over Department of Justice statements about plans to crack down on voter intimidation:

Yet under the new DOJ policies as we understand them, anyone who dares complain when they see a busload of illegal aliens pulling up to a polling place could be arrested on the spot by agents of their own government.

What’s interesting here is the idea that you could immediately spot “a busload of illegal aliens.” I could be wrong here, but I’m guessing that to at least some members of the organization, any vehicle with Latinos (or other brown-skinned people) in it might be targeted as full of “illegal aliens.”

The organization also blames Hispanic legislators for the failure of the original financial bailout bill.

One of English First’s projects is No Statehood for Puerto Rico. Technically speaking, the population of Puerto Rico has the right to become a state, should a majority ever vote to do so. All Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and can travel freely between the island and the mainland, with no need for a passport or visa. Here are some images from the homepage:

I think the hand at the bottom of that last image is supposed to be begging for a handout.

All of these images portray Puerto Rico as a money-sucking burden on the rest of the U.S. The website questions Puerto Ricans’ patriotism (because they protest military training at Vieques, unlike the good people of Oklahoma, who do not protest military training at Ft. Sill), links Puerto Rico to terrorism, and argues that Puerto Rico is a “proud, Spanish-speaking nation” and thus wouldn’t want to be a state anyway (leading to questions of why any of this is an issue, since the population would presumably never vote for statehood anyway). I am unclear whether English First advocates total Puerto Rican independence from the U.S., or just keeping it from becoming a state.

English First has a handy list of states that have English-Only laws, as well as which ones have been overturned.

You might also check out Lisa’s recent post on an organization that linked anti-immigration and pro-environment stances.

I’ve posted about the phenomenon of what I’ve called leftist balkanization or the way in which leftist causes tend to be narrowly focused such that they undermine other leftist causes (see here for my original post and here and here for two follow-ups).  Perhaps the opposite of such balkanization is social movements that try to bring together issues that find themselves on opposite sides of the political spectrum.  Below are two advertisements for the pro-environment anti-immigration movement.  The argument is that restricting immigration is good for the environment.

This first commercial from the Californians for Population Stabilization makes exactly this point:

You might be asking yourself whether this pro-environment anti-immigration message is really just an anti-immigration message shrouded in leftist rhetoric.   In this case, at least based on the commercial below from the same organization, the answer appears to be “yes.”

Of course, it’s not necessarily true that all anti-immigrant pro-environment messages are secretly simply xenophobic. For a great discussion of this troubled movement, see Leslie King’s great article that shows how challenging it is to mobilize a grass roots movement when one half of your message offends one half of the population and the other half of your message offends the other.

Via copyranter.

Highjive at MulticultClassics writes: “The foreigner is stealing trade secrets. The White man is addicted to porn. And the woman is a shopaholic. Maybe the advertiser’s name should be changed to Stereotypes 360.”

NEW!  Jasmine sent us more banal stereotypes!  These are for eye care (found here).

Because old people NEVER have sex:

And all black people love the blues:

Yesterday Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President.  In the cartoon below, syndicated cartoonist Gordon Campbell compares Powell to Benedicte Arnold, a general in the American Revolutionary War who defected to the British Empire.  So, Powell’s endorsement makes him a traitor.   Comments after the image.

As Rob Tornoe discusses at Politicker, this feeds into the idea that Obama isn’t a real American and, accordingly, neither is Powell.  That this is about skin color is revealed by the fact that he put Arnold in blackface. and uses the term “Race Patriot.”  The implication is, Powell is endorsing Obama because he’s black and that’s treason (i.e, anti-white and therefore anti-American).

It also speaks to white privilege and a phenomenon I’ve seen elsewhere during this election.  It is white privilege to be able to vote for Obama without your endorsement being attributed to the color of your skin.

(Found via Jezebel.)