Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Ironically, both Pro and anti sides of the arguments I have used are supported by Latino Americans.
The website I have used to support anti-immigration of Latinos to the United States is an interview with a Mexican native real-estate business leader named Arturo Morales-LLan. He himself came to America seeking what many other Latinos before him have sought, a better life where he wasn't always hungry and exhausted from working himself to the bone every day on poor wages.
He said that many others like him "[think] about America like you think about Disneyland," "It was this great magical kingdom."
However, it is there that his sympathy with illegal immigrants ends. He says that his own experiences under a corrupt government who have little respect for their own laws, and even allowed him to bribe his way to achieving a diploma, has taught him that should immigration be permitted, would be the same as "inviting corruption to creep over the border and eat away at all that makes the United States great."
Mr LLan had been able to retake his high school classes in a private school and through a sponsor, was able to learn english and apply for college. He gained a green card when he met and married a woman from Salt Lake City, but even then it took him years to be granted the opportunity of citizenship.
He says that when he took an oath to become an American citizen, he swore that he would defend the constitution and the laws of the United States of America.
He claims that he meant this, and says that Immigrants who slip over the border unnoticed and get jobs using false identities are "making a mockery of American laws."
He ends by saying "There is no love for America in illegal immigration, there is no sense of patriotism. There is no sense of duty. There are only broken laws."
This resource I have chosen to represent "Pro" immigration of Latinos is also from an interview, however it is an interview with an illegal alien in the United States.
He is not identified, but is given the name Jose by the interviewer.
It is possible that Jose was discovered as he had been trying to interact with a store clerk, but struggles with his english, as must be commonplace with those who make it in to the United States, but cannot afford to learn english, therefore this could draw attention to the fact that they are not a native of America, as they would have to have learnt the language in an American school.
He claims that he was originally from Nicaragua and had come to the United States after a fire burnt down his home, forcing him to make trips there in order to generate income to support his family.
Jose says that whilst he loves his own country, it is ravaged by conflicts which affect even those who try to live peaceful lives.
He admits that this is his fourth trip to the United States but says that every trip is hard. Having paid most of his money just getting to the border, and then having to walk long periods on foot with limited food and water supplies. Sometimes he runs out of money on the trips and has to go hungry, however this is not the worst part, as he states that "There are people along the frontera who will kill you. On both sides. You are not safe just because you enter the US."
He says that whilst he endures sickness and that his feet odten bleed, the trip is much worse for women, as he states: "There are things that happen to women trying to come to the US that are worse than anything that happens to men. There are worse things than dying and pain.”
He is asked why he makes the trip if it is so difficult. To which Jose says “You do anything for your family. If you can make life better for your mother by suffering, you suffer. My life here is not better than in Nicaragua. I work hard and have nothing. But my family has things. When my mother was sick, I could send her money to get better. My sister is in University. She will not remember what life was like during the fighting and she will have a good life because I work. If you are a man, you take care of your family. I am here to take care of my family.”
Discussing how immigration is now, Jose says that "right now, killers can come here [the US] easier than doctors." and he hopes that president Obama can change this, and if situations change, that both countries will benefit from a positive union.
When asked about the law and if he fears being caught by the police, Jose makes a very down to earth point that I think sums up the situation of many, if not all Latinos who consider becoming an illegal alien in the United States: "It is hard to live in fear but it is harder to live in suffering.”
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
This website primarily focuses on the attitude that while the war on terror rages on in Afghanistan there is a more sinister threat closer to home. This website is all about how to defend Texan citizens from immigrants and drug cartels that may, in the an effort to scramble over the border, get violent. It includes a range of testimonies from various Texans, all of whom have had more grizzly dealings with fleeing immigrants. While the website only makes vague references to guns and encouraging people to use their 2nd amendment rights to protect themselves, there is no explicit call to arms. As the founder, Commissioner Todd Staples says:
'America’s war on terrorism has sent thousands of troops overseas, but the reality is, there is a growing threat here at home. At an increasingly alarming rate, violent Mexican drug cartels are invading Texas farms and ranches, threatening the lives of our fellow citizens and jeopardizing our nation’s food supply.
The second website I have found is a far more liberal and balanced site. It is designed to show the two sides to almost every contemporary issue, whether it be international or internal, in modern America. It uses a range of sources, and quotes them directly enabling the user to access their source. One of the links I found most interesting however, was the argument for the use of the term 'illegal alien'. According to the The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, they find the term to not only be offensive but also not useful, as the status of so called 'illegal aliens' can change in a very short amount of time. Another group refers to it as being 'inaccurate... and dehumanizing' as well as a term that allows the right wing to make the situation of many immigrants to be a seedy, secretive and inhuman journey.
Monday, March 14, 2011
This blog is run by a black African American man who identifies himself as a victim of Americanism and the American Nightmare. Although his blog doesn’t focus just on Latino immigration into the US (Canadian, Asian and European immigration are brought up a lot) it does seem to be the main thread. Throughout his nearly five years of running this pro-immigration blog, many Latino issues have been discussed, with the up-most passion on his behalf.
The blogger discusses such issues as Chris Simcox, the founder of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, who was heard saying “we need the National Guard to clean out all our cities and round them [Mexicans] up. They are hard-core criminals. They have no problem slitting your throat and taking your money or selling drugs to your kids or raping your daughters and they are evil people.”
Another article I discovered, a year after this one was posted, showed an interview with Minuteman in which they believed Mexicans carried out the 9/11 attacks.
The blogger talks about the American Dream regarding Latinos. Many of who feel that there is no such thing. In a survey carried out, nearly 10% of Latinos said they had been stopped by police or other authorities and asked about their immigration status in the last year, including 8% of Latinos born in the U.S. Nearly 15% said it had been hard to find or keep a job because they were Latino, and 10% said the same thing about finding or keeping housing.
A counter argument for these anti-immigrant people is an article the blogger posted about the country of Panama. In a Panamanian newspaper, it spoke about the American immigrants into their country. Many of who, would be middle class citizens in the states, but are treated like millionaires in Panama. The blog states: “that Panama has the politest, warmest, most affectionate, most friendly, happiest people worldwide (Then, it was TRUE what the previous study of themeasure of happiness said about Tropical Paradises like Panama who ended in # 5 happiest country worldwide...compared to this, it means that these Americansimmigrants are running away from the rudeness, impoliteness, unfriendliness andunhappiness proper of America, Canada and Europe....but it is NOT MY PROBLEM that Americans had built a rude, unpolite, materialistic, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, racist society of their own....Moreover, Panamanians are not famous for emigrate to nowhere unlike other nationalities...Then, WHY do we, panamanians, have totolerate their American invasion of our country?)”
The reason I was first drawn to this blog was the passion that the blogger had for immigrants. But over time and throughout reading his posts, it seems that he is somewhat equally racist towards people who may not believe in the rights of illegal immigrants. He calls them all xenophobes, which means the “hatred or fear of foreigners or strangers” but surely there are some Americans who do not necessarily mind foreigners but do mind if they enter the country illegally?
And just as he is focusing on the hatred and extreme that some people are heading towards – Lou Dobbs brings up that he would like the killing of “Mexican Aliens” – the blogger is sending it right back with his opinion of that Dobbs should be killed. I don’t believe there is a difference. He is equally as ignorant and horrible as Lou Dobbs.
My second website and the anti-Latino immigration is a group called FAIR, the Federation of American Immigration Reform. It’s a “national, non-profit, public-interest, membership organization of concerned citizens who share a common belief that our nation's immigration policies must be reformed to serve the national interest.”
They talk mostly about the elimination of illegal immigrants, which I feel is understandable. They present facts about all immigration into the United States, just as the first website did. They believe that with over a million legal and illegal immigrants settling in the states every year, is has a major impact on education, healthcare, government budgets, employment, the environment, crime and countless other areas of American life. This website and their followers give reasons and explain why they feel they do, in a very large contrast to the first blog I posted about.
The one thing about this website which I do not really agree on is the use of the word “alien” when talking about immigrants.
They write about issues such as George Bush sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Mexico and Mexican people living illegally in the States. “It would gain greater U.S. Social Security benefits for Mexicans who have worked in the United States, including those who worked illegally, and for their family members.” Their argument is not in violence (unlike pro-immigration blog) but to show the Americans where their money is going and that it shouldn’t necessarily be stopped because we’re all countries that offer help; but to stop illegal immigrants entering the US.
There are significant differences between the two websites. I originally believed that I would agree more with the pro-immigration website as I believe that there are many people in horrendous poverty and migrating is the only way out. But through their delivery, I am siding more with the anti-immigration website. The first website just seems very angry. He doesn’t seem to point out any advantages of immigrants and I realise that I know nothing about the situation other than he hates xenophobes – who he categorises as everyone against immigrants (both legal and illegal) without knowing the reason behind their opinion. Whereas the second website gives statistics and reason for their beliefs. They back up what they are saying and understand what is happening as a result of legal and illegal immigration.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The video relates to the film 'Dangerous Minds' in which African American and Hispanic teenagers are living in a run down district in the US, (a ghetto) implying that most concerned individuals do not / cannot remove themselves from this lifestyle. It reinforced the common stigma of that time that in this case, namely Black Americans did not succeed easily due to their socioeconomic position. During the sane period in which the song was released/first recognised occurrences such as the beating of Rodney King (prior to the song's release in 1991), and the OJ Simpson murder, 1994-1995 were happening which undoubtedly contributed to this racial group's then tainted image.
It is also significant how the first line of the song is a quoted from the Bible (Psalm 23, verse 4), 'As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..'. It shows that this racial group has absorbed the Christian teachings that were most likely imposed onto them when their forefathers previously entered the USA. However was is noteworthy is the differing ways in which Christianity is related to by African Americans and White individuals: for example the latter predominantly focus on the bright, positive parts of the Bible whereas the former, as seen in the above video, relate to the darker, more sinister parts of Christian teachings. This is likely in direct relatiionship with the suffering that their people endured prior to this time, and how in 1995 they still felt as if they were tolerating injusticies.
Furthermore it seems that when living in this environment, religion is one of their only solaces, hence lyrics at the end of the first verse '...on my knees in the night, sayin prayers in the street light ...'. Here it is implied that they do not have a comfortable, sheltered prayer area, but rather that they are products of the street so only have the streets to pray on - no comfortable and/or welcoming house is available.
Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays a teacher in the flim the soundtrack is related to, is also shown in the video as listening to Coolio and his anecdotes. It portrays the White person's naivety and seperation to gang culture, as well as their higher social class which is represented by her clothes in the video (pristine black coat), and is also eveident in the film Dangerous Minds in which she is portayed as a stranger coming into the gangster environment. Strong emphasis is thus put on the differences and division of races.
Violence is also touched upon, '...As they grew I see myself in the pistol smoke...', as well as the fact that gang culture is wrong, '...I'm an educated fool with money on my mind, got my ten in my hand and a gleam in my eye ...', but addictive as it serves as an immediate source of income that most are simply desperate for and therefore once they get involved in such a slife find it hard to subsequently escape. This is unfortunately despite the risks and their unfavourable fate which is usually and ultimately death.
'...Power and the money, money and the power
Minute after minute, hour after hour
Everybody's runnin, but half of them ain't lookin
What's goin on in the kitchen, but I dont know what's cookin ...'
Moreover the narrating gangster believes that those that say they will help, for example the government, in actual fact do not really care, and do little to help them.
'...They say I got ta learn, but nobody's here to teach me,
If they cant understand it, how can they reach me?
I guess they can't; I guess they won't
I guess they front; that's why I know my life is outta luck, fool!'
According they believe they are just an unlucky people and consequently the '...Too much television watchin' got me chasin' dreams...' becomes just a day-dream that passes the time - these ethnic minority groups have lost faith in the government, and faith in the 'American Dream' of which they are excluded from.
At the beginning of the 1900's, it was not uncommon for people of black ethnicity to be forbidden entry to any type of music or sports clubs, with signs hung outside businesses reading such odious messages as "Whites only". This attitude meant that although white bands in rock and roll and early Jazz murmerings existed throughout America, many young and talented black Americans were forced to practice their instruments in the isolation of their homes.
This would not always be the case, however. Enthusiastic up and comers were determined to not let the colour of their skin hold them back from sharing their gifts with the world, As the website here dictates:
As a result, Louisiana was witness to a radical change in its Jazz music culture that was shaken up by the introduction of such taleted black men as Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, James Booker and the Neville Brothers to name a few, who paved the way, (and in some cases, continue to) for many Jazz musicians who now grace blues clubs throughout America.
I would like to take a moment to focus on Louis Armstrong directly, as his own imprint on Jazz culture created a revolution that sparked a new era of African-American presence in the music culture, and inspired many black Americans to make their presence known through music. This also inspired many white Americans to consider the talent that balck Anericans brought to the industry.
This video is a documentary that talks about the effect that Louis Armstrong had on American music at the time and what it meant as the beginning of a new era of music in which black Americans became involved.
At 1:18 in the video, Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis describes Louis's talent with the trumpet as "the sound of a pure, spiritual essence, the sound of America and the freedom that it is supposed to offer."
I had also found this mentioned in other sources when researching Armstrong, that the power of the sound behind his trumpet was almost like a symbol of freedom, and could be seen as the longed-for freedom and justice that was so highly sought by downtrodden members of the black population in America.
Another comment made by the narrator which sums up his impact is at 3:41 "But it took his genius, conquering poverty, rascism and indifference, to turn it into America's most durable and original musical art."
This shows that Armstrong was no different in circumstance to any other African-American, and that he faced the same trials and tribulations as other black people, and in way I think that this may have invigorated others to try to stand up against oppression in a way that could be said to be more effective than violence - by impressing the oppressors to the point where respect and status is gained.
I think that a final quote from the video sums up the strength and respect to which he had gained from transforming the musical culture and uses to reach out to the black community is expressed in 9:34 which states: "In one of his earliest films a short subject rife with appauling stereotypes, he stood ankle deep in soap bubbles wearing a leopard skin, singing a minstrel song. He transcended it all. As a truly free man who could make offensive material serve his own ends. He became a hero to the black community."
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Several quotes stood out from this trailer in particular for me - "We do not accept Jews, because they reject Christ! We do not accept Tapists, because they bow to a Roman dictator! We do not accept Turk, Mongrels, Tartars, Orientals nor Negroes because we are here to protect Anglo-Saxon Democracy, and the American way" This reminded me of Malcolm X's speech from the seminar, where he talks about the Blacks, Jews etc uniting against a common enemy, and the character in this film is the common white enemy Malcolm X is talking about.
The idea of 'Southern Pride' is strong in this movie, with the sheriff stating "The rest of America don't mean a damn thing - you in Mississippi now". Mississippi resembled a kind of separatism here, with the rest of America. They thought they had the right racial values and the rest of America, which had progressed more through the Civil Rights Movement, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was wrong. The whites in the film are taught that segregation is in the Bible, and so is right, and the Mayor says quite literally, "We got two cultures down here; a white culture, and a coloured culture. Now that's the way it always has been, and that's the way it always will be".
Monday, March 7, 2011
I have chosen to focus on a backstage video I found regarding the 2006 film “Glory Road”. It’s a true story from 1967, of a college basketball coach having five black males on his team. Don Haskin from Texas Western College decides to find the best players in the country regardless of race to form a team that can compete for a national championship. At this time in life, basketball, and all other sports for that matter were segregated into whites and blacks.
The black players were men that the other school and colleges didn’t want on their team because of their race. Haskin never had the intention of picking black guys for his team to make some sort of stand, or to change the way sport is seen in society, he just picked the best males for the job, be them black or white. But his commitment to the team enabled the wall of segregation to fall that little bit more.
Of course they felt some setbacks within society of racial aggression and beatings, but they stuck to their beliefs. Like a true fairy-tale for race, the team were triumphant in beating the all-white best team in the country, Kentucky Wildcats; leaving as champions.
In the video, a reporter interviews Josh Lucas, the actor who plays Don Haskin and makes the point that not many people know the story. I didn’t know of the story before researching it today and Josh Lucas didn’t know about the story before he auditioned for the movie. It seems that even though it was such a pivotal moment in Basketball history, not many people are aware of it.
I’m going to link this to an article that I discovered whilst doing research. In January 2010 it was proposed to create an All-White Basketball League. Don Lewis is the founder of The All-American Basketball Alliance which hopes to have a team in Augusta – where the Masters Golf tournament is held each year, an event which also has history of racial issues.
Lewis claims that he doesn’t “hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now.” So the All-American Basketball Alliance would be “a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like”
This doesn’t just exclude African-Americans, but Hispanics, Chinese, Japanese, Iraqis etc. Anybody born in another country cannot play within this league.
Lewis stated in an interview that he wanted to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of “street-ball”, which he says is played by “people of color”.
"Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?" he said. "That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction."
This isn’t just reverting back to pre-civil rights era, but it’s going further.
Cb4 is a film about a trio of black youths in the 90's who find fame and fortune as a gangsta rap group. Its half 'mockcumentary', half comedy, and is inspired by the hugely popular west-coast rap of groups such as N.W.A, and solo-artists Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. In the scene I have chosen, one of the members of CB4, who having been influenced by the 'back to Africa' movement that was an inspiration to many rappers of the period, goes solo and releases a song entitled 'I'm Black' in which he states over and over again that he's 'blackety black' and 'black and I'm back'. The scene is an obvious reference to a certain type of rap in the 90's.
Post LA Riots, many rappers and young black men felt a new pride in their colour, many felt as though the events of the 1992 riots had been caused by underlying racism in America, and so looked to where it all started for many African-Americans - Africa. This new respect and love of Africa was more inspired by Malcolm X than it was Martin Luther King Jr, and groups such as De La Soul showed this new-found pride by sporting Africa shaped pendants.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
This is presented in the way of a lesson plan looking at immigration satistics in census data and examining maps in order to try and explain what the implications are of it, with the real aim to gain an understanding towards the kinds of people that choose to come to America and why.
Particularly, students are asked if they know the current population of their own state, where population is currently the most dense and others concerning density change since the 1950s and how much population has grown in the past decade.
With regards to recognising the implications of immigration, one activity encourages students to identify slogans such as: “It’s in Our Hands,” “It’s About Us,” “Today, We Count,” “Snapshot of America,” “Portrait of America,” “It’s Time: Make Yourself Count” and “We Can’t Move Forward Until You Mail It Back”. These slogans are taken from the 2010 census video, which, having viewed does not just target adults but also contains scenes where children are being educated as to the importance of the census through activities that are made to be fun as well as informative. I also happened to stumble across several other videos regarding the census that vary from President Barack Obama filling out his census form, to Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer also doing so.
Students are also being taught to look at historical trends in immigration, and how such drops in the levels of prosperity on society, such as the Great Depression has affected population changes from 1920 to 1930. From this they can then trace the changes that different states witnessed during this time and throughout the subequent decades that followed, through to the present day.
Website used: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/connecting-the-dots-interpreting-u-s-census-data/
2010 Census video: http://2010.census.gov/mediacenter/mailout-mailback/the-story-of-the-2010-census.php
It seems to be commonly taught that 'most came from Ireland and Germany, where devastating crop failures forced many residents to leave their homelands'.
Furthermore most settled in the city of New York 'where the population increased from 200,000 residents in 1830 to 515,000 in 1850. By 1860, New York was home to over one million residents. More than half of the city's population at that time were immigrants and their American-born children'.
For approximately 50 years before the First World War a lot of immigration was encouraged in order to boost the economy in the industries that required physical labour as immigrants were always willing to do any job.
What is evident is that Black slaves are not recognized as being immigrants to the US, it is just assumed that they were they due to previous shipping of slaves. Moreover the actuality that Natives existed before Europeans and other racial groups started moving into and occupying land in America is noted, but not hightlighted in the way that the European immigration occurrence generally is. For example, Eliis Island seems to be acknowledged frequently as opposed to the limited acknowledgement of the Natives, and the fact that (even though sparsely spread) they actually occupied the vast majority of the US lands prior to the immigrant invasion.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011