The Racialicious Links Roundup 9.26.13

    • For Migrants, New Land of Opportunity Is Mexico (The New York Times)

      Some Mexicans and foreigners say Europeans are given special treatment because they are perceived to be of a higher class, a legacy of colonialism when lighter skin led to greater privileges. But like many other entrepreneurs from foreign lands, Mr. Pace and his partners are both benefiting from and helping to shape how Mexico works. Mr. Rodríguez, the former Interior Ministry official, Cuban by birth, said that foreigners had helped make Mexico City more socially liberal.

      And with so many Mexicans working in the informal economy, foreigners have little trouble starting new ventures. Many immigrants say Mexico is attractive because it feels disorderly, like a work in progress, with the blueprints of success, hierarchy and legality still being drawn. “Not everyone follows the rules here, so if you really want to make something happen you can make it happen,” said Ms. Téllez, 34, whose food business served more than 500 visitors last year. “No one is going to fault you for not following all the rules.”

      Mr. Lee said that compared with South Korea, where career options were limited by test scores and universities attended, Mexico allowed for more rapid advancement. As an intern at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency here, he said he learned up close how Samsung and other Korean exporters worked. “Here,” he said, “the doors are more open for all Koreans.” He added that among his friends back home, learning Spanish was now second only to learning English.

      The results of that interest are becoming increasingly clear. There were 10 times as many Koreans living in Mexico in 2010 as in 2000. Officials at a newly opened Korean cultural center here say at least 12,000 Koreans now call Mexico home, and young Mexicans in particular are welcoming them with open arms: there are now 70 fan clubs for Korean pop music in Mexico, with at least 60,000 members.


    • Brad Paisley and the Politics of Offense and Offense-Taking (The Atlantic)

      If you accept that the Confederacy fought to preserve and expand slavery, then you might begin to understand how the descendants of the enslaved might regard symbols of that era. And you might also begin to understand that “offense” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Reading Penthouse while having Christmas dinner with your grandmother is offensive. Donning the symbols of those who fought for right to sell Henry Brown’s wife and child is immoral.

      It is important to speak this way. Nothing is changed by banishing the Confederate Flag out of a desire to be polite or inoffensive. The Confederate Flag should not die because black people have come to feel a certain way about their country, it should die when white people come to feel a certain way about themselves. It can’t be for me. It has to be for you.


    • Census data mask poverty suffered by some Asian American groups (The Los Angeles Times)

      “There’s always been a recession in our community,” said Lian Cheun, executive director of the nonprofit Khmer Girls in Action. “The pain has always been there. It’s just not well known.”

      Tongan Americans have even more stunning poverty rates, the report found, with more than half estimated to be living under the poverty line countywide between 2006 and 2010. Because the community is so small, the estimates are rough and the actual poverty rate might be somewhat lower — but still far above the county average.

      The new report seeks to uncover such problems, using U.S. Census Bureau and other government data to poke holes in the “model minority” stereotype and illustrate the changes sweeping such communities.

      Asian Americans have become the fastest-growing group in Los Angeles County, which now has not only the biggest Chinese and Korean communities in the country, but also the largest number of people of Thai, Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Filipino, Cambodian, Burmese and Taiwanese descent, the report found.

      As the recession barreled down, their growing numbers also meant more people in need. In Los Angeles County, the number of Asian Americans who were jobless jumped 89% after the downturn, according to the report. Among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, the number more than doubled.


    • Burning The Bridge (Grantland)

      The writers of “The Bridge,” parked out in California, don’t know Juárez well enough to realize this. The show’s pilot opens with one upper and one lower torso dumped on the Cordova Bridge. One of the torsos, female, belongs to the conservative judge from El Paso. The other torso, as the cliché demands, is half of a pretty young girl from Juárez. According to a message relayed by the shadowy killer, the Juárez victim, Cristina Fuentes, “died 14 months ago. Nobody investigated. Nobody cared. Just another dead girl.”

      But now that the El Paso police are involved, somebody finally cares. Specifically a beautiful, blonde detective with Asperger’s syndrome named Sonya Cross. (She’s played by Diane Kruger.) Her cohort from the Chihuahua State Police, Marco Ruiz (Demián Bichir) has to explain to her why Fuentes’s disappearance wasn’t looked into. She was “only one of 250 girls who disappeared last year. They go missing from buses, factories, always 15 to 20 years old. Dark hair, beautiful.”

      “So you have a serial killer?” asks Cross.

      “Nobody knows,” Ruiz responds. “There’s just too many. The chiefs, they really don’t want us to investigate. Easier that way.”

      Not mentioned: More men and boys disappear every year in Juárez than do women and girls. And, crucially, if this really were Juárez, on the day Fuentes’s body was discovered the remains of as many as nine men and boys might have been found, too. And nobody would have investigated the deaths of those male victims, either. Gender has nothing to do with this police failure. To ignore this context is to grotesquely misrepresent what’s happening in the city.


    • Playing ‘Indian’ and Color-Blind Racism (Indian Country Today Media Network)

      Natives do experience the covertness of color-blind racism that limits life opportunities. Under the logic of colorblind racism, if I don’t make as much money as a white woman who does the same job, it’s because I’m not as experienced or competent. If Natives, on average, have less college attainment, it’s has nothing to do with the 500+ years of internal colonization and genocide or the eras of removal, relocation, reservation internment, and forced boarding school attendance. It’s because Indians are lazy drunks. No thought is given to historical context or constrained opportunities. Race scholars admit that marginalized groups still experience inequality, but argue that racism is expressed increasingly without direct racist terminology.

      But this certainly does not hold true for Indigenous Peoples in the U.S. We also routinely experience overt racism in the form of racial epithets like redskin, injun or squaw and horribly distorted depictions of Natives as mascots, reminiscent of the propaganda used against black, Irish and Jewish people in the 19th and 20th centuries. And this overt racism is not confined to hate groups, but is visible in everyday communication and throughout the media.

      We still live under the prevalence of Native misrepresentations in the media, archaic notions of Indianness, and the federal government’s appropriation of Indian names and words as code for military purposes. Racist informal statements are common expressions—statements like being an “Indian-giver,” sitting “Indian-style,” learning to count through the “one little, two little, three little Indians” song, or getting together to “pow wow” over a business idea.

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  • Delevan

    I have only heard Asian Americans use that term, so I suggest you take it down a notch.