8-30-12 Links Roundup

The young people, mostly from Mexico and Central America, ride to the border on the roofs of freight trains or the backs of buses. They cross the Rio Grande on inner tubes, or hike for days through extremes of heat and chill in Arizona deserts. The smallest children, like Juan, are most often brought by smugglers.

The youths pose troubling difficulties for American immigration courts. Unlike in criminal or family courts, in immigration court there is no right to a lawyer paid by the government for people who cannot afford one. And immigration law contains few protections specifically for minors. So even a child as young as Juan has to go before an immigration judge — confronting a prosecutor and trying to fight deportation — without the help of a lawyer, if one is not privately provided.

So far this year, more than 11,000 unaccompanied minors have been placed in deportation proceedings, nearly double last year’s numbers.

Young migrants say they are fleeing sharply escalating criminal violence in their home countries. Federal agencies have scrambled to muster adequate detention facilities, while legal groups try to find lawyers to represent them. Judges, for their part, have struggled to offer fair hearings to penniless youths who speak little English and often do not even understand why they are in court.

“Today, the first generation of Chinese Americans who grew up in the area is coming of age. To many of them, with their often halting Chinese and brash American ways, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong seem distant and strange. At the same time, they don’t want to abandon the world their parents left behind.

“You don’t fit anywhere, so you create something new,” says Aileen Xu, 21, who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley. “A lot of us don’t necessarily connect to our homeland. We’re not from China. We speak English.”

This new creation is not entirely formed, but you can see the signs of it in song and dance; food from a dozen provinces with an American twist; a funny way of talking that mixes bits of dialect from across China and American hip-hop.

There are new clothing lines and music labels and a reincarnation of Taiwanese shaved ice with a frozen yogurt spin, marketed as Fluff Ice. T-shirts, emblazoned with “Six-Two-Six,” are selling briskly.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s face (pictured) is superimposed over an 1800 female slave painting by French artist Marie-Guilhelmine Benoist. Seated on a chair covered with the American Flag, right breast exposed, and wearing an Aunt Jemina headscarf, the image is part of a feature article examining Mrs. Obama’s popularity among the American public.
“…Behind every great man there is a great woman [which best] describes the Obama marriage. In the shadow of the U.S. President is a person whose popularity ratings exceed those of Barack’s own. This person is none other than his wife Michelle,” reads the roughly translated description for “Michelle Tataranieta De Esclava, Dueña De América” (Michelle, Granddaughter Of A Slave. Lady Of America).

In an open lettter to the Republican Party, Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos writes that the GOP has strayed from the party of Ronald Reagan and that in order to succeed in gaining the votes of more Latinos, it needs to take a page from its own history.

“Dear Republicans,” he writes, “you are going to lose the Hispanic vote in the upcoming presidential elections.”

But that isn’t the worst part, Ramos continues. “I am writing to tell you that, unless you change several of your anti-immigrant positions, you could be condemned to lose the White House for many decades.”

The latest Latino Decisions poll shows Republican candidate Mitt Romney with 22 percent of the Latino vote. Since Ronald Reagan, Ramos writes, any presidential candidate who gets less than one-third of the vote has lost the election. “Will things be any different this year?” he wonders.

George W. Bush received 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, the largest percentage ever attained by a Republican. It was due in no small part to Bush’s support for immigration reform. Yet it was Republicans in Congress who were responsible for blocking immigration reform, something that Latinos will not soon forget, Ramos writes.

There are plenty of artists who share his vibe in Korea, however. PSY belongs to an established genre of entertainers that pop pundits there have dubbed “gwang-dae,” after a caste of performers traditionally attached to royal households.

“Gwang-dae are more clown or jester-like,” says Kang. “They don’t have to be sexy idols to be popular. Their songs are either very humorous, or can sound serious, but with silly lyrics.”

The closest Western comparison that Kang can think of is Andy Samberg’s sketch troupe Lonely Island — but she notes, while they have big viral hits, they don’t actually sell a lot of records, and are seen as musical comedians rather than an actual pop act: “In Korea, gwang-dae actually top the music charts, perform on big music shows, and so on.”

  • Alaroye

    “First Lady Michelle Obama’s face (pictured) is superimposed over an 1800 female slave painting by French artist Marie-Guilhelmine Benoist.” In the interest of context, it should be noted that Benoist’s painting was produced, six years after the abolition of slavery in France, and that the image was intended to comment on the legal abolition of slavery and the complexities, and perhaps promises, of that new legal status for black women. That does not change the way Mrs. Obama was contextualized on the magazine cover, but it does propose a more nuanced interpretation of the image mashup than seems to be provided in the NewsOne report.