Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Browning of America

“Preparing for the Browning of America” by Daniella Gibbs Leger is an interesting article because it discusses what the implications of the browning of America will be in the near future. Meanwhile, the article “The Changing Face of America: Time-lapse map reveals how non-whites will become the majority in U.S. within 30 Years” by the Daily Mail Reporter approached the issue of the browning of America in a more visual way to demonstrate what the projections actually look like. The second approached the issue by providing a lot more detailed statistics about what will actually occur. Before goggling the term “Browning of America”, I never realized how much the majority of the population in the United States was actually shifting. Being from northern California, I’ve seen in recent years the growing number of Latinos, but it never really occurred to me that the population has been shifting across the United States. One of the most interesting statistics that I stumbled upon had to do with the different areas that African-American and Hispanics are most densely populated. The Daily Mail Reporter writes, “The U.S. black and Hispanic populations are mostly concentrated in the South – but whereas the black population is centered in the Southeast, Hispanics are mostly in the Southwest” (Daily Mail Reporter). This statistic really stood out to me because you never realize that these populations live on completely different sides of the country. Why is it that both groups are most densely populated in the South? The maps that are shown on the second link are especially depictive of these trends. I also found the second article interesting in that it incorporated the opinions of individuals on the trend of the browning of America. I found a quote by an Asian American especially interesting. The Daily Mail Reporter shares, “Another commentator added: ‘I am Chinese American and I objected to the grouping under Asian as coloured…Chinese, Japanese and Koreans are not coloured. Our complexion is white if not whiter than Caucasians’” (Daily Mail Reporter). Are they classified as being a part of the browning of America simply because they are a minority group? In that sense, are all groups that are considered to be apart of the minority currently going to be classified under this notion of the browning of America? I think if this term is to be widely accepted, I think there needs to be a common definition of what it means for our nation to be browning---what groups are classified under this movement?

                Both articles stressed the importance of the change in government and funding that needs to take place in order to keep the standard of living up in this country once the “browning of America” turns into being the majority of this country. Leger writes, “As we noted in a recent report, Hispanics and especially African-Americans felt the brunt of the economic downturn and are recovering at a pace slower than whites And if we don’t address these disparities, as the country becomes more diverse, it will have a negative impact on our economy” (Leger). I found this observation to be especially interesting as both articles touched on the importance of reforming education, health care and reducing poverty rates. If this kind of change does not occur, soon our economy will suffer even more as these groups will become the majority. Leger also made a great observation about how the United States is going to face the future different from other countries. Leger observes, “If you look at places like Japan and some European countries, they have a rapidly aging work force with a diminishing number of young people to take their place. Thanks to our booming youth population, we will not face that issue. And our booming youth population is due almost entirely to communities of color” (Leger).  How interesting! If the United States didn’t have these colored communities that were booming in population growth, then the United States would have negative population growth. I never really thought of this situation that way. If you are to look at Japan, they are a very homogeneous population and that fact that all of there people are very affluent and often put their career before having a family probably greatly contributes to their population decline. This is not the case in the United States with the colored groups—and this is not to say that they are not educated or not going to the universities – but rather that these groups have strong tradition values of family which probably contributes to their continued population growth that will soon over take the white population as the majority.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Daniels Chapter 16

After reading this chapter, I became more aware of the overall attitude towards immigration now. Although the book only speculate into the 1980s, Daniels acute observation of a recent return to nativism still holds true in 2012. Daniels points out, “There is one further reason to believe that immigrants will retain its central position on the American agenda: the rediscovery of the immigrant tradition by the American people” (407). It’s interesting that he makes this observation at the time the book was written and it is still very much a centerpiece of both party platforms. Also, the nativist policies of today are unlike those before because now they are not as intentionally racist.

The Immigration Reform Act of 1986 is a very interesting piece of legislation to examine closely. I thought it was interesting that the bill is noted for being nativist in nature but not overtly racist like its counterpart in the 1920s. Despite the aversion from obvious racism, it was interesting to note Republic Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming had to say about cultural homogeneity of the country. Simpson writes, “Furthermore, if language and cultural separation rise about a certain level, the unity and political stability of our nation will—in time – be seriously eroded” (391). I found this quote to be most interesting because it is almost a contradiction to saying that this bill was not intentionally racist. Here, Simpson is asking for the country to become more uniform in language and culture in order to stay politically stable, yet America has been founded on the very backs of immigrants from all different nations, languages and cultural backgrounds. The cultural diversity of our country is what makes it unique, yet Simpson is asking us to come together as one. I can understand why there is a strong push for all using English, but I never understood why there is a strong push to be culturally united.

Along these lines, I found the discussion of Amnesty which was established under the Immigration Reform Act of 1986 quite interesting. In order to become eligible for amnesty you had to meet one of two requirements, either  an “illegal alien who could prove that they had been in the United States continuously since December 31, 1981” or  “demonstrate that they had worked in U.S. agriculture for at least ninety days between May 1, 1985 and May 1, 1986” (392-293). Under these provisions, 3.1 million people were accepted into the program to eventually be granted citizenship, but there were many obstacles to face along the way. Some of the requirements included: “have no criminal convictions or pending prosecutions, submit a negative test for AIDS antibodies, not have been on welfare and otherwise demonstrate financial responsibility, and demonstrate knowledge of the English language and United States history” (393). This seems like a lot to ask of someone just to be granted citizenship. In addition, many native born Americans barely know United States history or can say they’ve never had a criminal conviction. In addition, most people applying for amnesty were males from Mexico but their families were not eligible for amnesty, especially their children, because they had not been working here. Although amnesty seemed like a good idea, it also managed to create a lot of additional problems linked to chain migration. Also, people coming after the cutoff date were not eligible for amnesty.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Daniels Ch. 14

Daniels- Ch. 14 Blog Entry

I found it interesting to learn that the majority of Asian immigrants ended up settling in the western states. On top of that, some groups also settled within certain regions within California. For example, the Asian Indians coming in the first group settled mainly in the Imperial Valley and the northern Sacramento Valley in California. I find it interesting that a lot of these Asian groups tend to stick with each other in where they settle and help each other assimilate/get their footing once they are in the United States. The Chinese immigrants are known for their Chinatowns which are dispersed throughout the country. The most famous of the Chinatowns are in San Francisco. For the fresh-off-the-boat Chinese immigrants, they are more likely to live within these inner-city Chinatowns. Daniels writes, “There is, however, a greater tendency for recent immigrants to be poorly educated, deficient in English, and to work in the low-paid service trades, such as laundries, restaurants, and the sweatshop enterprises typical of the inner city” (355). The more well to do and educated American born Chinese tend to live outside of Chinatowns and hold more middle class occupations. I found it interesting that the Asian Indians would often create jobs for those relatives and others coming in after them once they were here. Although many Asian Indians are highly educated, they often flock towards opening businesses such as newspaper kiosks and convenience food stores (although this is more common in London and Copenhagen).  As business owners, the Asian Indians have the ability to hire workers and create jobs. Daniels shares, “What these operations have in common is a need for large numbers of low-paid employees, which is often filled by newly arrived relatives who enter as chain migrants” (363). This is a way in which they can help their family members come in.

                One of the most interesting things about this chapter was the difference between the Vietnamese and the rest of the Asian Immigrants.  Unlike their Asian counterparts, the Vietnamese were more pushed out of Vietnam as opposed to being pulled to the United States. Daniels shares, “Rather than self-selecting immigrants reasonably well-qualified for success in America, Vietnamese, or many of them, have been poorly equipped for life in an urban society” (368). The majority left in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Daniels continues, “Had they not been refugees—and refugees about whom the United States, with good reason, had a guilty conscience—most could not have qualified for admission” (368). This is alarming to me that the United States forced so many people to leave Vietnam! Daniels mentions that by 1990, the number of Vietnamese War refugees and their children in the United States will exceed 1.25 million. That’s so many people that have come to the United States that were pushed out of their homeland due to an unnecessary war. The most alarming thing to me about all of this is how many of the Vietnamese people struggle to get ahead in society. Many are poorly educated and have low incomes. Most of them are below the poverty line and more than a quarter of all Vietnamese families receive some sort of U.S. government aid. Also, many of them choose to live in California because they tend to receive more government aid here. The United States created this problem!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Daniels Chapter 13

Coming to America—Chapter 13: Changing the Rules Blog Entry

After reading this chapter, it was interesting to learn what the difference was between a refugee and an “asylee”.  According to Daniels, he writes, “An asylee is a person who applies for entry into the United States while already here, either legally, such as a person who came in on a student or visitor’s visa or, as has often been the case since 1980, arrived illegally” (Daniels 346). I found it interesting that an asylee still had to meet the same standards and conditions that a refugee had to meet with the exception that they were already in the United States. Also, one other interesting difference between the two is when they are counted towards the immigration statistics. A refugee appears in the statistics under the year that they arrived whereas an asylee is counted when their status is approved. This new category added to refugee did not even get added until around 1968 when the UN sought to broaden the definition of “refugee”. I thought it was interesting that when looking at Table 13.4 titled “Number of Refugees and Asylees Admitted, 1981-1985” that the number of refugees was significantly higher in every year in comparison to asylees. For example, in the year 1982, there were 93,252 refugees counted whereas there were 4,731 asylees counted in the statistics for a total of 97,983. Because the definition of an asylee is much narrower, there are far fewer individuals that fall under this category. In addition, Daniels notes, “The 1980 Act put a cap of five thousand asylees annually, although almost immediately, partially because of federal court orders, that cap was exceeded and in 1984 more than doubled” (Daniels 346). According to statistics, the actual number of asylees in 1984 was 11,627. They really did almost double the cap!! I just think it’s interesting that more asylees are not granted. Is this because people are fearful of applying and being turned away? Does the conflict/discrimination in your country have to be so great in order to just be considered? Being an asylee does not automatically make you a citizen. Just like a refugee and other immigrants, it takes five years for an asylee to be eligible for naturalization and to gain all the rights of citizenship as well as be able to bring in relatives.

I found the Mariel Crisis that began on April 21, 1980 to be most interesting. This crisis was over “the right of asylum for some 3,500 dissident Cubans in the Peruvian Embassy in Havana” (Daniels 347). Fidel Castro announced that anyone who wanted to could leave Cuba as long as they went straight to the United States. As this was announced, boats were charted from the Mariel port in Cuba to Key West and other ports along the Florida shores. Daniels notes, “In a matter of weeks some 125,000 Cubans had arrived, shattering all notions about an ‘orderly’ refugee policy” (Daniels 347). These individuals simply came in without permission and were bringing all of their relatives and friends with them. President Carter, although initially opposed to this, had to turn in favor of support to them because the situation was well publicized. After much dispute, Daniels notes, “In July 1985—more than five years after the crisis—all but about 2,500 of the Marielitos were allowed to adjust to permanent resident alien status, and in 1990 most of them would begin to be eligible to bring in family members” (Daniels 348). For the longest time, the status of these asylees was questioned and they were forced to wait in limbo because they were neither considered to be refugees or asylees. Part of the reason why they were finally granted to stay was because they were seeking political asylum from a communist leader. Meanwhile, the people of Haiti who were seeking relief from severe economic conditions were denied asylum and sent back to Haiti. It is interesting to see what distinctions are made between the right reasons to admit asylees and the wrong reasons to admit them.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Daniels Chapter 11

I was shocked to learn that many Jews were not given visa in the majority of cases during World War II. Many of these Jews were losing their lives to the Holocaust occurring in Nazi Germany, yet the United States was doing little to grant visas or even refugee status to the average Jewish person. In fact, it was difficult for many Jewish refugees to be accepted to the United States because of State Department often made it difficult for them to come over. Daniels writes, “The State Department, however, and especially Avra M. Warren, head of its Visa Division, continually raised—one is tempted to say ‘invented’ – difficulties” (298). It’s alarming to me that someone in the State Department would go out of their way to limit the number of Jewish immigrants coming in when their lives were threatened in their home country. However, in the case of those Jewish intellect and individuals that the Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Cincinnati wanted to bring to the United States, the individuals coming from Nazi Germany and war-torn Europe had little problem coming over. Individuals such as Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann hardly experienced problems when trying to I never really thought of such important individuals avoided being taken into the Nazi concentration camps and instead taken to the United States.

It really struck me when I read how the quota for Germany that was set was never actually met during the war years. Yet, there were numerous cases of Jews from Germany being denied acceptance to the United States. Daniels shares, “For the years 1933-40 there were 211,895 German quota spaces. Only 100,987 were actually used” (300). Why was this the case? It struck me when I learned that most people were rejected because of a concern over German spies would come into the U.S. unnoticed along with the rest of the immigrants. In this way, more Germans were restricted from coming in because of potential spies.

In a much different way, most Asian Americans and Asian immigrants also suffered because of the war. Many of the Japanese were interned in concentration camps throughout the United States because the government felt that they could be sabotages and could report back to their Japanese enemy. The government felt as though even though many Japanese were Americans, they still felt deeply committed to their home country. I also found it interesting that the Japanese originally the “gentlemen’s agreement” with the United States allowing a select group of Japanese to come into the United States in earlier periods. Ironically enough, the Chinese who were barred from becoming citizens before the war were able to become citizens. Because the Chinese were on the American side, the U.S. government decided to repeal the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and allowed the Chinese to become citizens. Daniels shares, “During the eight years 1945-52, when there were a total of 840 Chinese quota slots, just over 11,000 Chinese actually emigrated to the United States” (304). Of these Chinese that were coming, many of them came under the 1946 Act that allowed Chinese wives of American citizens to be admitted to the United States without being part of the quota. One of the main goals of this period of immigration was the emphasis on family reunification.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Daniels- Ch 10. "The Triumph of Nativism"

Coming to America- Ch. 10 “The Triumph of Nativism”

                After reading this chapter, I was shocked to learn of all the restrictions that were placed on immigration and how most of their effects were minimum (with the exception of the Chinese Exclusion Act). One of the things that stood out to me the most is that there were 7 factors said to have limited immigration by 1917. Daniels writes, “Admission was denied to Asians (except for Japanese and Filipinos, the latter because they were held to be American nationals); criminals; persons who failed to meet certain moral standards; persons with various diseases; paupers; assorted radicals; and illiterates” (279). Of these 7 imposing factors, the fact that they would restrict people who were to be idiots and insane people bothered me the most. Of the small percentage of people who were deported back home, many of them were deported back for mental reasons and diseases. One man who worked as an interpreter on Ellis Island revealed that the majority of people who were deported for “mental diseases” were unjustly sent back. In most of these cases, it was because the immigrant had norms that the doctor was unfamiliar with or the immigrant was ignorant.  For these reasons, it seems as though the doctors were unaware of what to look for when it came to “mental diseases” and were ignorant of other cultures. Even then, I feel as though was wrong to keep people out of the country because they suffered a mental disease—I can understand a little more why they would want to keep someone out with a contagious disease. For those individuals who were deported back, they were often left with the no place to go when they were sent back and a family member would often have to go back with them. Also, many people were sent back for diseases such as trachoma that many were not even aware that they had—many of them being children. Not knowing what trachoma is, I was compelled to look up what the disease was and why these people were kept out of the country. Turns out, it’s a contagious, chronic eye disease that is known to be a major cause of blindness. Still, I doubt that many of these immigrants actually had it. Yet again, it was probably another excuse to keep people out.

                In my own understanding, I have always thought the biggest factor in keeping people out was the literacy test that was a requirement to have people become citizens. Yet, it turns out that it took almost two decades to pass the literacy test which was passed in 1917. This law originally only applied to adult males. I found it interesting that from July 1920 to June 1921, 800,000 immigrants entered the country and only 13,799 people were denied—of those 13,799 people only 1,4500 people were deported because they failed the literacy test. It’s shocking to me how little impact this test had on barring immigration. However, the education in Europe became better at this time so that was probably a major factor in the little impact.

                Of the many factors that restricted immigration, it is interest that there was very little impact from the majority of them. This was the case because many of the passenger ships checked their passengers for diseases and such before they ever came. This occurred because the passenger ships had to pay for anyone who was to be deported back to their homeland. In addition, many individuals who believed they would not be admitted to the United States would decide not to come in the first place and waste money on a ticket when they would only be sent back. In this way, immigration restrictions really did keep immigrants from coming to this country—but more so in a way that they just never made the journey.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pioneers of the Century of Immigration (CH. 6)-- Summary Notes and Key Passages

  Chapter 6 emphasizes the groups of the “old” immigrants, those coming from north-western Europe prior to the 1880s whereas those coming after the 1880s came from southern and eastern Europe and had a much harder time assimilating. Despite this description, the Irish, Germans and Scandinavians face a dilemma when trying to fall into this category because they are from north-western Europe but come in large groups after the 1880s. It’s interesting to note that between 1860 and 1920, the U.S. grew immensely from 30 million to 105 million people and many of the demographics of people changed as well. Much of this change was reliant upon immigrants. As methods of transportation became greater and cheaper, more and more immigrants were able to embark on a journey to the U.S.

  The first group, the Irish, mainly attribute their heavy emigration rates to the Potato Famine. However, the Irish emigration happened in three distinct stages: Prefamine Migration (until 1844), The Famine Years (1845-1855)  and Irish Immigration (1860-1930). Throughout this entire stretch, the Irish immigrants never dropped below a third of all immigrants. This in turn, accounted for the depopulation of Ireland.  The prefamine years draw mainly from those of Catholic descent and were a heavily male group. The majority of these immigrants settled in large cities, especially those of the northeast. They also were hugely instrumental in the building of many public work projects such as the Erie Canal and railways and urban tasks. They are also noted as being one of the first groups to practice chain migration on a large scale. The Irish were often discriminated against and took many unskilled jobs. During the Famine Years, the case of migration from Ireland was slightly different. Because of high land rents, Irish farmers resorted to the potato as a staple crop which was highly susceptible to disease. Because of the potato blight, the population of Ireland became undernourished and caused outbreaks of epidemic diseases. These years accounted for the largest population on record leaving Ireland. Once again, the Irish immigrants took low wrung jobs and would often compete with blacks for work—most being laborers and servants. In the post Famine years, Irish immigrants still came in bulk, but often went unnoticed because they often settled in areas where there were already large Irish populations. On an interesting note, this era is different because more females entered the U.S. than males—most of these women being young and single. The bulk of immigrants were also young. The Irish continued to be concentrated in certain areas of work, such as police and firemen and laundry work. There was also large Irish control over trade unions. This Irish Americans were also heavily involved with politics, were largely democrats and gave their votes to the political bosses.

                Germans were a much more diverse group of immigrants—they spoke a foreign language, came from three distinct religious groups and had a much more widespread distribution in the United States. In addition, they were more likely to migrate in a family group. Due to the fact that Germany did not exist as country until after 1871, it become difficult to distinguish who is actually a German and who was from a neighboring country. They movement of Germans into the U.S. was largely affected by the business cycle in the U.S.—meaning that the economy and political status were the biggest factors. Germans were much less likely to settle in cities than were the Irish. Germans also tended to live in communities within their ethnicity and took up more skilled jobs. Women were also less likely to be in the workforce. Because of their tendency to live in German communities, they would often only converse in their native tongue and in some cases the fourth or fifth generation would still use German as their primary language. The majority of Germans also took up jobs as farmers. As far as religions go, they can be divided up into Protestants, Catholics and Jews. Jews were the only group that congregated in more urban areas. It is likely that many more Jews came from Germany, but we go off records kept by synagogues. The Germans greatly fought to educate their children at German language schools—in many cases the schools would not teach English at all. The prevalence of German language education ended when World War I struck. Although they fought to keep their culture alive, in most cases Germans as distinct group is no longer relevant today.

                Within the Scandinavian migration, the immigrants came from the countries of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The Scandinavian groups predominantly settled in rural areas in the Midwest. Unlike the other groups, there was often a distinction between the Scandinavian groups. In the case of Sweden, the majority of immigrants were middle class individuals who came as passengers on Swedish Iron Ore ships. Most of them came in family groups. They were mostly motivated by economic factors, which stemmed from the expanding population and lack of suitable land for agriculture. They were predominantly farmers, but also became a large portion of the population in such cities as Chicago. The Swedes were often times associated with the Republican Party because of their support of the temperance movement and Prohibition. In the case of the Norwegians, there was huge pressure to migrate because of the lack of available land for farming. The majority of its rural population was left without land to farm on. Religious reasons also played a role in migration, although not as important. In most cases, they settled in rural areas, however, there was a large population of them in Brooklyn. They too became a large Republican group. In the case of the Danish, we know the most about their social background because of police records. They took into account: year and month of departure, sex, traveling alone or in a group, occupation, age, place of last residence and destination. The earliest large group of Danes came as Mormons seeking the Great Salt Lake city. In this case, the migration of the Danish was family oriented. But most Danes came for economic reasons and were often from a young age group. Because so few females immigrated, the job market for these females was much improved. Many of people came were unmarried men and women. Unlike other Scandinavians, the Danish were not specifically concentrated in areas and would often marry outside of their group. Most ended up in the Midwest—such as Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.


Important facts and figures:

·         “In an era in which almost everything changed, the incidence of foreign born, citizen and alien, in our population remained a constant one in seven” (125).

·         “Ireland suffered a massive loss of population: The census of 1841 found about 8.2 million Irish; that of 1851, about 6.6 million. That loss of 1.6 million persons in a decade—more than 17 percent of the population—can be attributed, in large part, to the famine” (126-127).

·         “The fact of the matter was that few Catholic Irish were well prepared for either urban or rural success in America: almost none had trades to ply and few had much more than the rudiments of an education” (132).

·         “The potato blight was unavoidable; but the Great Famine, in the words of Professor Kerby Miller, was ‘largely the result of Ireland’s colonial status and grossly inequitable social system” (134). –In other words, part of the push from Ireland was inherently political in nature.

·         “Between them, Germans and Irish were almost seven out of ten foreign born in the former year, 69.8 percent, and more than four out of ten in the latter, 41.4 percent” (146).

·         “Between 1860 and 1890 about two-fifths of the German- born lived in cities of twenty-five thousand or more, a figure considerably higher than that of native-born Americans” (149).

·         “There were about eight hundred German newspapers in the 1880s, at which time about four out of five foreign-language papers in the United States were German” (162).

·         “As table 6.7 shows, a little more than half of the 2.15 million Scandinavians were Swedes, almost a third Norwegians and a seventh Danes” (164).

·         “The U.S. Census for 1910 shows nearly a fifth of all Swedish immigrants in Minnesota, just over a sixth in Illinois, and about a fourteenth in New York, with 43.3 percent in just those three states” (168).

·         “Although Norway is not one of Europe’s smaller nations—its 125,000 square miles make it slightly larger than New Mexico—only about 3 or 4 percent of its land was tillable. The population grew 50 percent between 1801 and 1845, when it reached 1.3 million” (173).

·         “Even more highly concentrated than the Swedes, 57.3 percent of the Norwegian –born persons in the United States resided in three states: a sixth in Wisconsin, a quarter in Minnesota, and an eighth in North Dakota, according to the 1910 census” (173).

·         “In Denmark, the emigration of ninety-six thousand adult men and of sixty thousand women caused the already predominantly female sex ration to increase” (179).

·         “Over the whole period, 1868-1900, only four Danish immigrants out of ten were in family groups; the other six were unmarried men and women at roughly a two-to-one male ratio” (180).

1)      What were the predominate differences between the Irish settlers and the German settlers?

2)      In what ways were the Irish settlers involved in politics?

3)      Where did the Scandinavian immigrants primarily settle?

4)      Why was it so difficult to distinguish between Germans and those people from their neighboring countries?

5)      Describe the concept of the “Ethnic Escalator”.