Thursday, 30 January 2014

Fair Immigration vs Latino's United


The Latino's United organisation believes in making the gaining of citizenship for latino's more available. It has 6 key principles which mainly are focused around the improvement of civil rights and citizenship rules. However, there are some principles which it discusses that are rather contrary to what we would expect from a website that from an organisation that discusses the reuniting and preservation of unity in families. It states how current law restrictions don't allow Latinos to unite with their "nuclear family" and these restrictions should be uplifted. This includes allowing people who already have citizenship into the country to be with their family "immigrants waiting in line should have their admission expedited". The website appears to be reluctant to address issues such as the growing population of Latinos of the United States and the loss of identity they may cause. This may seem obvious to leave this but proves there is.


The fair immigration organisation are very focused on what they deem to be fair laws for immigrants who enter the United States. They also think of themselves as a group that are very pro active in helping the people of America aware what is taking place in terms of immigration. Also they are willing to help those people have a voice and an influence in their community "provide tools, information and strategic assistance to local organizations to make positive policy changes at the local, state and national levels.". It interesting how they talk about making "positive" changes. They are potentially being purposely ambiguous in order to attract more people to supporting their organisation and as a result by not being so concise in their messages they appear more welcoming and agreable. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Hispanic Immigration Issues

Pro -

Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform are an organisation that has been active since 2009 in order to promote reforms for immigration in particular to make it 'humane, just and reasonable'. 
Their framework for their legislation is that while they support immigration they think it should be controlled more and increase Border Patrol.  However they believe undocumented immigrants should be able to safely apply for citizenship, and states that it 'requires those who came or remained in the United States without our permission to register with the government. This will include passing a background check and settling their debt to society by paying a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary legal status, which will allow them to live and work legally in the United States.' After this probationary legal status is granted they are required to 'pass an additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency'. 
I believe the way they are proposing to handle immigration is more sustainable especially for the economy and society as they are willing to help the immigrants, in many cases the language barrier is a problem and is addressed in Huntington's work as he fears a 'balkanisation' of America, but having the immigrants learn English and pass tests helps them assimilate into the new culture and language this could reduce hostilities by local communities towards them. It also provides for them a chance to be more educated/ better jobs which will help keep the American economy growing. 
The Federation for American Immigration Reform formed in 1979 is a large organisation with 250,000 members and supporters - many of whom are conservative or liberal. And has regularly testified on immigration reforms in Congress.  The organisation believes in reducing the amount of immigrants each year - 300,000 is preferred. And of course want to stop illegal immigration and improve border security. They are also of the view to stop amnesty for the millions undocumented as this is unfair. It is easy to understand their views as immigration does mean a strain on jobs/ healthcare/ education etc. And it may be in the best interests of the American nation to restrict large scale immigration, however many illegal immigrants already in the country may have worked for months and years which helps the US economy and so restricting their rights to become legal citizens is unfair.

Anti and Pro Immigration Websites

anti immigration -
This website for the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR) is anti-immigration and focuses on the problems caused by the influx of the Latino immigrants. It was founded by Barbara Coe in 1994 and has lobbied the government in California, unsuccessfully, to crack down on both legal and illegal immigration. They regularly hold rallies with other organisations to protest immigration and these have been the focus of media attention and occasionally clashes with immigration supporters. Recently they claimed they had uncovered a Mexican conspiracy to reclaim the southwest United States using edited comments by Latino leaders as proof. The group is often charged with racism and hate speech, which the leaders dispute. The group has lost prominence recently with Coe dying in 2013, which has meant it has had to reorganise. The website calls for people to wake up before, “the Mexicans, self-serving politicians and cheap labour advocates ruin the United States and its way of life.”

pro immigration - 
This website is for a bipartisan group founded by business leaders, with the goal of supporting policies which will keep the economy of the US competitive. The main policies it supports are ones that call for immigration reform and also education reform which they believe are two areas that are vital to the US economy. It calls for the government to allow immigrants into the US and support them through education, which will allow for companies to have a stronger labour force. The website states its four goals which are: to secure the border, strengthen immigrant families, provide a pathway to citizenship for the illegal immigrants living and working in America and develop a simple way to verify employment. The group doesn’t focus on Latino immigration but all immigrants and it also supports securing the border, which shows that they don’t want open borders where anyone can come in but a controlled system which allows for workforce needs to be met.

Pro and Against Latino/Hispanic Immigration

This website is pro Latino/Hispanic immigration and discusses the integration of Latinos and Hispanics as one that will benefit the American community. As an organisation, they aim to get Latinos involved with all areas of decision making, to get them on an equal level with others in their area of expertise (eg jobs), close the gap between American achievement and Latino achievement in schools, to give them the security and safety of an affordable house, and finally, for the advocation of fair immigration and integration within society.
I think that as a premise, their organisation is an extremely effective and  has the ability to change ideas about Latino and Hispanic immigration, as it focuses on the ways in which they can contribute to American society and proves that they are actually willing to do this.
However, in regards to the education aims, because of the sheer amount of immigration and therefore, bilingual children in schools, there is always the danger that Huntington discusses of situations such as 'The schools of Los Angeles are becoming Mexican' and as a country that should keep its roots as an English speaking country, I believe that this transformation of schools is not necessarily right.

Although this is not a website focusing on anti Latino/Hispanic immigration, it does focus on the 'hate' that immigrants are facing. It seems to be stereotypical ideas of immigrants that are the fuel behind these fires and many people blame them for problems that are caused in society. It has also become apparent that the media is a breeding ground for violence against Latinos and Hispanics and public figures seem to be advocating these hate crimes publically.
Perhaps people are angry at the extent to which immigration has risen and perhaps they feel threatened by their new neighbours, however, I believe that it is never acceptable to voice hate crime, especially from members of the public eye and the use of stereotypes to distinguish Latinos and Hispanics is an outdated and incorrect way of labelling them.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

This project from an Ohio high school prompts the students to pretend to be modern illegal immigrants from Latino communities entering the United States in search of opportunity. Erica Vieyra's project is unusual as most K-12 projects on immigration focus on the legal immigration of Western Europeans and treat it as a historical phenomena. This project however treats immigration as an ongoing issue facing the United States government and particularly focuses on the humanitarian and political issues involved. 
The students quote of :
“I can’t begin to fathom how they can survive here,” said Yana Lyon, 17. “Everywhere you turn if you try to become legal or help yourself, there’s a roadblock.” 
Shows that they are considering a salad bowl image of American immigration as it shows immigrants as different, other, compared to established American citizens. The project is intended to show the students the reality of the separation between legal citizens and illegal immigrants.

The civil rights project

The civil rights projects is very much focused on the bringing together of all races without a particular focus on any race. They very much believe in the "no child left behind" policy that was established in 2002. The way they want this to be done is to bring together people of all races in order to provide children with an understanding of people of different ethnicity. They are also keen on teaching civil rights in schools. Again, this is probably more for the education and the promoting of tolerance of others. They therefore have also a strong belief in equal opportunities for all. As a result, I believe that this project would represent the "salad bowl" hypotheses.  They seem the believe the dressing that brings them together is the premise, use and value of education.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Immigration Project

This website has an Immigration project for grades 3 - 5 to complete over a few weeks. It is mostly researched based and involves looking into the Ellis Island website and Angel Island to get more information and understanding about the immigration process into the US.

The children will get a vast understanding for the history of immigration into the US and how it still continues today. I believe that the project helps the children understand their origins and culture whether their ancestors came in earlier times of immigration or they are recent immigrants today, as this will impact how they view their society. And have an impact on the culture of America. I think the task of making a quilt to show their origin, shows them they all come from different backgrounds but it also demonstrates the 'tapestry' or 'mosaic' of American society and so presents the children with the understanding that even though they are from different groups shows them that when put together they are all under one society.

High School Immigration Project

Robert Cox from Pearland High School in Texas has set up the project for his high school students to write a historical fiction book for children about immigration into America. It is useful not only when considering the factors that faced those immigrating into America, but also how different nationalities and types of people were facing the same situation.

Therefore, it can be said that Cox's project for his students highlights the idea of both the Melting Pot and the Salad Bowl. The Melting Pot is a metaphor for the 'melting' or integrating of nationalities into the American identity, so that there is essentially just the identity of 'the American', no matter of a person's actual identity or country of origin. Whereas the Salad Bowl embraces difference and demonstrates how different people, nationalities, personalities or groups join together to create 'the American'.
The research links at the bottom of the page that have been given highlight both of these factors. The fact that topics such as 'German Immigration to America', 'French Immigration', 'Swedish Immigration' and 'Becoming an American: The Chinese Experience' are all covered, make the concept of the Salad Bowl clear as their nationalities are at the forefront of the discussion. Additionally, when Cox poses the question 'what did your immigrants contribute to our country?', the idea of individualism and each country or group of people having their own contributing factors to America, sees immigration as a more accepting and integrating process as opposed to the idea of the Melting Pot.
Whereas the 'Chinese Experience' of 'Becoming an American' refers more to the Melting Pot because the Chinese are almost having to change their identities to become American, hence the 'melting' into a particular type that suits the American identity.

K12 Immigration Project

I have chosen a detailed 4-5 week project aimed at 4th - 8th grade students. It is a guide that teachers can use to organise the project which they can follow over the course of the 4-5 weeks. The guide/lesson plan is put together by the American Immigration Law Foundation.

It starts with the pupils finding out about their ancestors, by interviewing their families, and experiencing what it was like getting to Ellis Island. Using this information they then create an "immigration profile" which they use to gather information, such as why they are leaving their homeland and trying to get into the United States. The pupils then have to go through the Ellis Island process and face the inspectors from the various departments, with some being denied entry. They then have to discuss the way they felt during the inspections and what it was like to be told to return to their homeland. Pupils then pick a country to research and discover what it was like for people living there and why they would choose to leave, looking at clothing, traditions, climate and economy. They wold then look at what was lost in leaving and what was brought to American culture. They will gather their research together and present it in class on display boards. The final part of the project is to present in class the impact of the immigrants from their country on the United States.

 The stated objective of the project is “to make the study of immigration a meaningful experience for students and to give them the opportunity to discover how important the immigrants have been to our (Untied States) culture.”

I think this lesson plan and project is a fun and interactive way for children to learn about immigration and by using their own personal family ancestry adds a personal interest to it. I think the objective is good and the lesson plan is clear and helpful.  

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Emma's Wk1 post copied to new blog National Council of Negro Women

African American Women

This organisation is called the National Council of Negro Women. It was established by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935. It main aims were to provide women of African descent to be able to have equal rights and opportunities to be able to make a better United States.
It provides the resources needed to support young girls through their schooling and lead them into higher education and college and have a career. This is especially important as research shown by has suggested that African american communities are likely to be in poverty, as 45% of black children are reported to be in poverty. According to Janice Ferebee, BPDC Director, “Girls of African descent in the 21st century are faced with challenges that threaten their future including poverty, low academic achievement, poor self-esteem, teen pregnancy, high drop-out rates, media exploitation, sophisticated cyber bullying, and lack of positive leadership and mentoring.”  and so the program is very important in helping these girls out of these situations. It has indeed successfully managed to provide girls with education and information about their health, as it addresses obesity rates within poverty ridden communities where it is most highest - for example in the state of Mississippi where it is the poorest and obese st state.   
Organisations like these show that there is a long way to go to enhance equality or even equal opportunities in the USA, as even though there have been civil rights from the 1950's and women's rights from the 70's these seem to not reflect the lives of many African American women. This shows their identity is more than being an 'American' as they are mostly seen as 'African American Women' and this is important as the ideals of having an American identity or what is defined as one, i e being free/equal opportunities is not naturally applied to them as it is to other 'Americans'. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Black Atheists of America

Due to religion playing such a fundamental part of African America life and so few being atheists the BAAm has tried to play a role in bringing together and giving support to the African America atheist who see themselves as such a tiny minority. It could be said they're a minority in a minority. Not only have the BAAm played an effort in supporting African American atheists but are also trying to educate those who come across the website as well. It has the on the website Youtube videos that have been posted and have been used to help educate or feed the person on the website with information that they may find interesting.

It could be said that the layout of the website is rather basic which could suggest that the campaign and opinion that they represent hasn't got a great amount of support. This could be further proven in the merchandise because what they sell does not connote or suggest that it represents African American atheists, instead it's much more generally aimed any type of atheist. It can be therefore be seen to be a website that is lacking support to a degree.

It is clear that even in such small minorities such as black atheists need support would mean that American is not one united nation. If this wasn't the case there wouldn't be such a need to create organisations such as the BAAm.  So I believe there is a lack cohesion and togetherness in the United States, because of the existence of this type of website. Also it gives evidence that there is not a singular identity that all Americans come as well.

Jewish American Identity
I have chosen to discuss Jewish Americans, and have located the AJC website, which is the Global Jewish Advocacy. Although called 'global', it was founded by Jewish Americans. They are dedicated to helping support Jews worldwide, which suggests that their identity as Jewish is more important than their identity as Americans. They don't seem to draw geological boundaries. Yet, on their page on Immigration Reform, they talk about how America is kept strong by supporting the right of immigrants. This shows that they have considered their identity as Americans. However, it is a view that might be thought un-American by others. For an example of this, the Americans Against Illegal Immigration Facebook page has a lot of overtly patriotic quotes, images and videos, showing that the American identity is bound up with not accepting people they consider to be outsiders.

There seems to be a constant struggle to reconcile hanging onto one's cultural past and also having an American identity. AJC executive director speaks of a "pluralistic yet socially cohesive America", which gives a view of America as lots of fractured identities trying to work together as a whole. This suggests that there is no one identity of 'American', but that each individual must construct their own identity out of many factors.

I found what the woman they are interviewing said about identity to be particularly interesting. She is against 'hyphenated America' in that she doesn't see why she should have to choose one particular identity out of the several that she has.She also refers to the place that she grew up in as being a "melting pot". She has embraced all of her possible identities, although whether she has allowed them to be subsumed under the one identity of 'American' is unclear. That is what the 'melting pot' would be all about, that nothing matters except being an American, but the fact that she is proud of her mixed heritage suggests that people still want to hang onto their individual identity beyond just being labelled as an American.


NAACP and American Identity

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) is an organisation that represents all coloured people in America. The race riot in Springfield, Illinois in 1908 was the catalyst that led to the NAACP being founded in 1909 by a multi racial group of men and women, to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights and to eliminate race based discrimination. They have their own NAACP Constitution which states their main objectives and how the organisation is set up and run. It has over 150,000 members ranging from youth members to retirees. The website features articles on its history and the legal milestones it has achieved, also its mission statement and current issues it is involved in such as climate justice.

I think this is an interesting choice because its name has no mention of American in it, the organisation and its members use racial signifiers to identify with rather than nationality. It is a strong advocate for Affirmative Action and believes that coloured people need to be promoted in order to be equal citizens within American society.

'Redneck' identity in America

The Redneck Playground

The website I have chosen to look at is ‘The Redneck Playground,’ a site that is aimed at ‘rednecks,’ a term often used to describe white, southern and usually male Americans. The website is keen to establish redneck views and morales and also shows off some of their favourite things: guns, girls and cars.

I have heard the word redneck used many times to describe southern Americans, however I was unaware that a term I thought to be derogatory towards these people has actually been inherited by them as a title. The website is quick to banish stereotypes and has a picture of “what society thinks rednecks do,” showing a picture of the KKK, and a picture of “what they actually do,” showing them outdoors living off the land and then driving big cars. There is a feature laid out similarly to the Bill of Rights called “what a Redneck believes” with the first point being “I like big trucks, big boats, big houses, and naturally, pretty women.”

The ‘second amendment’ of this false Bill of Rights is their defence of the right to bear arms. This is what is most striking about this website and is the strongest definition of their identity in my opinion. Phrases such as “a gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone” and “if guns cause crime, then matches cause arson” seem very alien to me and suggests that this is what is keeping their identity in a bad light. Their belief that man has the right to bear arms is an example of why society thinks of rednecks in this way.

'Identity' beyond America

This website advocates the freedom of same-sex marriage in America (an issue that is still very much in debate across most of America, with only seventeen states having passed the law).

In particular, the blog section of the website gives a more relatable and relaxed view of the issues surrounding same-sex marriage, with particular focuses on couples, their families and the laws that have either been passed to enable their marriage or that are preventing them from marriage. For example, there is a video of a twelve year old discussing the importance of same-sex marriages, how stereotypes surrounding these groups and communities are wrong and how everybody should be given the freedom for equal (marriage) rights.

The Freedom to Marry website is incredibly effective in the way that it supports and portrays this community with love and affection. Even though this community does not make up the majority of the population, it is still a large proportion and it highlights that being in the LGBT community forms an identity that becomes part of yourself and affects your life more dramatically than it should (with the oppressive marriage laws in most states). The website shows that it is an identity that should be celebrated, not oppressed, and that especially in America, the identity of these people are seen in a worse light than they should be.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Find out more about the group that lies behind the project entitled "The Citadel" located in Idaho.
What values, what shared beliefs are expressed in such a development?
And, what is significant about the location?
Look forward to your comments on Thursday.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Welcome to the blog. First post 

Locate, post and analyse any example of a website which acts as an advocate for a minority or other self-defining group (for instance, as defined by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, age, location  or any other marker of identity.  What is asserted by your choice about the importance of an “identity” beyond simply being American?  REMEMBER – a site that contains a video or images that you can use in your post is the most helpful for discussion.