Month: September 2009

September 28, 2009 / / Open Thread
September 28, 2009 / / Uncategorized
September 28, 2009 / / immigration

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

Restore FairnessHere’s a summary of my thoughts on im/migration so far:

  • Short of 1st Nations people, everyone living in the US emigrated—whether by choice or force, whether the im/migrant is themselves and/or their ancestors or current family members—from somewhere else. And we’re squatting on 1st Nation lands.
  • For those who want to argue that the Black people who came to the US cannot be immigrants in that Ellis Island/American Odyssey Mythology sense because that group were forced by white slave traders and slaveowners to be on these shores: no, we—and I say “we” because I’m the great-granddaughter of an enslaved Africans and African Americans, so I’m of that group–didn’t see Ellis Island. That does not negate that we moved or “migrated,” albeit involuntarily, from one part of the world to another—which is the definition of an “immigrant.” Or that we don’t have our own American Odyssey. That’s also another post for another day.
  • The US government needs to give undocumented people amnesty and broader roads to citizenship, if that’s what they seek, instead of assigning inherent criminality to them based on some racialized rhetoric. They don’t have papers, usually because the system is so labyrinthine and expensive that it’s discouraging. Or they’re trying to get residency and/or citizenship and are stuck in the process. And the reality that’s clouded by the vitriol is, among other things, that undocumented immigrants not only contribute to this economy—sometimes endangering their health in the process–they also contribute to the economies of the places from which they moved.
  • Thanks to the nasty racialized rhetoric, people who have US residency, of not citizenship, are getting caught in the dragnet to catch “those people” who, according to the heuristics, allegedly look nothing like the people spouting the rhetoric. (And, to the clear, the folks spouting the rhetoric aren’t always white, either—my mom and uncle will hiss about the “Mexicans” taking “our” jobs and trying to have children in the US so the parents can stay in the country and “take advantage” of “our” public services. Like I said, allegedly.)

My pro-immigration stance isn’t radical or revolutionary; honestly, I think it’s quite middle-of-the-road, compared to writers and other creatives who have extensively and award-winningly written on the topic and advocates who tirelessly work on this issue.  (Usually, these groups overlap.)

But my middle-of-the-road thoughts don’t stop me from wondering if an advocate seems to be doing a bait-and-switch for the cause.

Case in point: Restore Fairness, a campaign spearheaded by Breakthrough, a human-rights organization which is, according to its website:

Read the Post This Documentary Would Go Well With…

September 25, 2009 / / advertising

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

Last night while I was browsing the Sociological Images website, I saw this:

Sociological Images explains that the ad is for Swiss company Max Shoes, to advertises its sturdy laces.  The ad made me immediately think of these cell phone charms that my bf’s friend brought back from Japan:

Called Oshibari Girls (does anyone know what “oshibari” means?), the cell phone charms come in six different styles, including school girl, office lady and police officer.

The sight of a bound East Asian woman hanging from a cell phone upset me deeply, but I didn’t know how to articulate that to my bf’s friend in a way he would understand, especially not over Saturday drinks on a summer night.

But the commenters on Sociological Images’ shoe post had an interesting take on the tied-up Japanese woman thing:

Some people enjoy bondage, and she has a stereotypical but realistic come-hither look on her face. The Kimono is a bit much, but I don’t find this violent at all.

Read the Post Bound Japanese Women: Violence or Sexual Liberation?

September 25, 2009 / / diversity
September 25, 2009 / / beauty

By Guest Contributor Momo Chang, originally published at the Hyphen Magazine Blog

Recently learned that the city of Oakland is trying to make it a lot harder for people to open nail salons and laundromats, via an emergency ordinance. What is that, you ask? The gist of it is that if you want to operate a new nail salon or laundromat, you’d have to apply for a major conditional use permit, which costs around $3,000, which means that many mom and pop owners will think twice about opening a nail shop in Oakland.

What do we know about nail salons? A lot, and also not a lot. In the latest issue of Hyphen, I wrote about the trend of green nail salons. For years now we’ve known and suspected that the chemicals used in nail salons are not good for the workers, or for consumers. We also know that upwards of 80 percent of nail shops in California are owned and run by Asian immigrants, mostly Vietnamese. It is a popular field for new refugees/immigrants because you don’t need good English skills and there is whole existing community to help new people get into the field (cosmetology tests in Vietnamese, Vietnamese cosmetology schools, Asian-owned shops, etc.).

According to the city’s resolution, this additional barrier would be “necessary to preserve the public peace, health, welfare, or safety and to avoid a direct threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the community….” At first when I read that, I thought they were talking about the health and safety issues of the workers in nail salons because of the chemicals issue and lack of proper ventilation. But no, the reasoning behind it is because nail salons are not attractive, and would deter more high end businesses from moving in.

Read the Post Nail Salons in Oakland

September 24, 2009 / / cultural appropriation