links for 2011-07-06

  • "The legal claims came from employees in a wide range of departments and concerned a diverse array of alleged biases: in one six-week period from late 2008 to early 2009, the city paid $300,000 to settle a claim from a male police officer who alleged that his female supervisor had sexually harassed him; $225,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim from a secretary at the Department for the Aging; and a total of $316,500 in seven settlements for grievances stemming from demotions or alleging racial bias and age discrimination.

    "Critics of the Bloomberg administration say the heavy caseload and the settlement payouts raise questions about the city’s efforts to tackle discrimination."

  • "Much of the work by mixed-race artists, though certainly not all of it, reveals the fault lines and pressure points that still exist in a rapidly changing America. It is on these rough edges that many multiracial people live, and where many artists find the themes that animate their work: the limits of tolerance, hidden or unacknowledged assumptions about identity, and issues of racial privilege and marginalization."
  • "Local rights organisations, such as Aware (the Association of Women for Action and Research), have also expressed dismay at the OWC's seemingly regressive stance on women's rights. 'What the club signifies is a regression, a moving backwards, in [what] women and other progressive men – Muslim and non-Muslim – are trying to do for gender equality here in Singapore,' said its vice president Halijah Mohamed."
  • "A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments — expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families — are suppressing [undocumented-immigrant] traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States.

    "Douglas S. Massey, co-director of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton, an extensive, long-term survey in Mexican emigration hubs, said his research showed that interest in heading to the United States for the first time had fallen to its lowest level since at least the 1950s. 'No one wants to hear it, but the flow has already stopped,' Mr. Massey said, referring to illegal traffic. 'For the first time in 60 years, the net traffic has gone to zero and is probably a little bit negative.'”

  • "Seventy percent of the 57,000 American Indians living in New York City are of Hispanic origin, according to census figures. That is 40,000 American Indians from Latin America — up 70 percent from a decade ago.

    "The trend is part of a demographic growth taking place nationwide of Hispanics using 'American Indian' to identify their race. The number of Amerindians — a blanket term for indigenous people of the Americas, North and South — who also identify themselves as Hispanic has tripled since 2000, to 1.2 million from 400,000.'"

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  • Anonymous

    I read the NYT article, and I’m a little hesitant to fully accept its conclusions, but all in all, I always believed that so many poor Mexicans came north because their country couldn’t get it together.  I never really believed that the whole “searching for a better life” trope so many immigrants are stuck spewing out to provincial Americans was the case for everyone, or even most, at least, because many immigrants come here (the US) simply for the money, particularly the middle-class ones.  Not everyone is escaping a totalitarian regime, a genocidal pogrom, or absolute poverty: sometimes they come simply because the payout and the environment is just that much more worthwhile or what they’ve grown used to.  My parents weren’t poor or were “searching for a better life,” they were college students (my dad being the pampered son of the second wife from a rich lawyer’s family; my mom, whose late father was a middle-class farmer with three wives who could afford to send her to Seventh-Day Adventist boarding school) paying out of pocket who were going to study, get their degrees, and then, take their kids back to Nigeria when the time was right.  However, they, ultimately out of convenience, ended up being stuck here, especially after the Nigerian economy bust in the ’80s and after one military dictatorship after another made living in the SWATS of Atlanta during the mid ’80s (during which time *I* was born :P), despite the racist environment and their working 2-3 jobs to feed my brothers, that much more a sensible choice.  Many immigrants would stay home if they could, but they can’t, for whatever reason.  So, for many, it does not always necessarily mean they love their new country more than their original one, except that they like it enough that it is more convenient to remain here than return back there.  Mom would’ve remained Nigerian if she could — she has complained many times that her old bank job back in the ’70s paid well with long vacation time and benefits, things that would be luxuries for many Americans — but circumstances, including the troubles Igbos suffer currently in Nigeria, demand that she stay here in the US and send money back home to help out whenever she can.

    In any case, not every immigrant’s a practical refugee.  Some of them simply remain until something better comes along elsewhere or back home.

  • Emily

    Why is it that in the whole article they don’t once mention any of the Indigenous people who speak an Indigenous language or are members of an Indigenous community in their home country?  There are hundreds of Mixtecs living in New York that could have been interviewed for this article.  Why interview mestizos?  Why is it that when Mixtecs, Triquis, Zapotecs are interviewed about issues of racism and discrimination in the US, they so often mention mistreatment at the hands of mestizos?  

  • AngryBroomstick

    I honestly don’t understand why many Indigenous people still choose to identify themselves as “Indian,” when that term is problematic for so many reasons — being that Christopher ColumBUTT thought he landed in India and called them “Indians” and then credited for “discovering” the New World. Indigenous folks aren’t Indian, and not from India!

    as an Indian (from India), I feel offended when non-Indigenous folks refer to Indigenous folks as “Indian” and I feel confused when Indigenous folks call themselves “Indian.”

    • Anonymous

      I wouldn’t know, either, but I guess like many black Americans still calling themselves “black” after all these years, rather than African American…

      ….. (a good many of them feeling that that term is fake and unnecessary — being many generations removed from Africa, they don’t identify with being called African, while it’s more than obvious that I, only one generation removed from Nigeria, would)…

      …Many Native Americans might feel the “Indian” term is more “real” or to the point, less clinical and/or even “PC.”

      In any case, I guess, after several centuries, the label has stuck, and there might be little point in changing it so soon in the modern era, never mind how correct the newer terms may be.

      Of course, one could make the counter-argument that “India” itself is a British term for that whole area, when it might have been better to have called it (Maha?)bharta or Hindustan or some other locally influenced name.  Of course, quite a few of the Indian nationals I see on message boards I lurk on online prefer “India” to any other, much like some of them think the city name change from Bombay to Mumbai was pretentious and unnecessary. 😉  Also, colonial names like Nigeria don’t really make much sense in the modern era, as well, but Nigerians identify with it too much to change it at this stage. 

      It’s complicated, I guess.  Others may know about it more than I ever will.

    • Anonymous

      It’s possible for there to be more than one definition for the term “Indian.” The impression I’ve gathered is that most US citizens and even most people of the world will call a native person in US territory “Indian” or “Native American.” This isn’t an idea that native peoples created, it was made to define them outside of their proper context. 

      I’ve read that sometimes it’s just an easier term to use b/c that’s what most people are familiar with. Not everyone is native and not everyone is socially aware regarding indigenous issues. So, some native people won’t take much offense to being referred to as “Indian.” Some do in fact refer to themselves as Indian but for myriad reasons. Of course, some will take offense to being called Indian. It really depends on the individual. 

      Nowadays I wouldn’t refer to native peoples with that term just because I know a little more about the history and literature. But that doesn’t mean my choice of label is acceptable to everyone I encounter. So, best thing to do is call people by how they self-identify if possible. 

      But be aware that in the US consciousness and historical record that how you see yourself as “Indian” and how natives are labeled “Indian” are two distinct things. 

      The only comparison I could consider is perhaps why some blacks call themselves “African American” or “Negro.” These aren’t self-made terms, but still they can encapsulate part of one’s identity. Sometimes we’re in places where we tread the crux between reality and stereotype. Defining who we are, in spite of other people’s judgement, is always a challenge. Some things we can internalize from outsiders, but we can also reinvent ourselves and even combine elements of an outsider’s gaze and tools of our self-determination.