Sunday, 26 February 2012

Negative Critique of Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

The above website offers a deeply negative critique of Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, after it was placed on a reading list for freshman Literature students at the University of North Carolina.

They surprisingly refer to the book as ' liberal propaganda infused with religious bigotry,' and question its controversial subject matter as suitable for college students. They believe Ehrenreich refers to Jesus as a Marxist revolutionary, and they find this remark extremely disparaging. As we know from previous lessons, Americans are generally anti-socialist and pro-religion, and by mixing the two together it appears Ehrenreich has offended many people's deep beliefs. Admittedly, whilst reading the book, I did not feel it was overly concerned with religion, rather the despicable and unacknowledged state of class division within America, but this may be a product of my British atheist upbringing.

Further on in the article they denounce Ehrenreich as having a 'communist ideological bias;' declaring her writing, especially Nickel and Dimed, un-objective and therefore likely to omit some of the more reasonable material. Their objections to some of Ehrenreich's comments continue in the form of a list, wherein they appear to pick at points which hold little relevance to the overall content and meaning behind the novel. Most especially, they pinpoint Ehrenreich's unhappiness at being called 'girl,' claiming that most middle aged women would be happy at such a compliment.

They then reel off government statistics in an effort to devalue Ehrenreich's work and claim it is immaterial in the majority of real life situations - in much the same way as the Governor of Detroit declared the problem of poverty was non-existent, despite the homeless camps popping up outside his city. To them, Ehrenreich's claims are 'dubious,' despite the fact she has nothing to gain from making these accusations. And they even liken Ehrenreich to an award-winning journalist who was found to have fabricated evidence in order to write an article - hinting that Ehrenreich may have just fictionalised the whole thing, in an appalling effort to discredit her.

They declare that, 'a consistent thesis of Nickle and Dimed is that the poor deserve to earn more; the rich do not deserve what they earn; and the bourgeoisie are merely robots.' This shows their true distaste for the topic within the novel, and obvious belief that there are no class lines within America and that Ehrenreich is blowing the problem of poverty out of proportion. They believe Ehrenreich is an 'elitist' whose words mean little, but they appear to have completely missed the underlying issues within the novel by being too busy disparaging her in any way possible.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Critique of Nickel and Dimed

The critique I found of Nickel and Dimed was actually on a personal finance blog. Overall the blog is seemingly positive and supportive of Ehrenreich's work but not of the "characters" that she discusses.

The author, Trent Hamm describes Nickel and Dimed as "a well written account of what life is like near the poverty line" and says it is a useful resource as "her experience teaches many useful lessons about the real meaning of what personal finance is" as mentioned before these are highly positive reviews of the book and shows that even though the book was initially set out to be an account of what the author experienced it is being used in other ways and is useful in these ways, which is something the author probably never expected.

Hamm, goes on to review each chapter in detail and say what can be learnt from it and what the most important points are. One of the things Hamm gets from the book is that "education is the most valuable investment you can make" and goes on to say "often her co-workers were single who simply chose to not even try not to better themselves." I would not agree with this point as I saw it more as they were not provided with the opportunity, they were seen in a negative way by the rest of society which has had an affect on the way they saw themselves. With this in mind they were therefore not able or confident enough to better themselves, and this in itself pushes away the idea of the American Dream and the concept of America being the land of the free.

Something that Hamm does focus on that Ehrenreich does not so much, is the traps the affluent leave out to try and catch the maids whilst they are at work in Maine. The distrust of these people when they are doing the affluent a service is quite shocking. Hamm then asks the question "how should people treat service industry workers?" he suggests that people should tip generously and expect that the quality of service you get is measured by how well you treat the person that is supplying that service. As I mentioned before this is something that the author does not really comment on as it is not the purpose of the book, the purpose of the book is to inform people of these issues and then like Hamm, make their own assumptions as to what can be done to help the situation.

Another aspect of the book that Hamm picks up on is classism. Again not directly picked up on by Ehrenreich in the book but nevertheless the idea is still there. Hamm states that through Ehrenreich's time at Walmart it is obvious that "classism exists in America." This is a bold statement to make as America generally prides itself on being a classless nation and has done since the Declaration of Independence in 1776 as a way of differentiating themselves from Europe and mainly Britain. He goes on to say that despite the book showing that classism exists in the States "the same old class biases were exposed" showing that this was nothing new to him or America itself.

In conclusion, I think Hamm is supportive of what Ehrenreich has done in exposing just how tough it is in a low income household and how worrying it is that minimum wage in the U.S is not high enough to maintain a suitable lifestyle. However, he seems to have a very negative attitude towards the "characters" in the book and focusses on how they have not tried to better themselves. He seems to ignore the impact society has on these people and the effects of the judgements society makes.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Muckleshoot Tribe Of California

The Muckleshoot tribe are located in California all the way up to the Canadian boarder between the Olympic and Cascade moutains of Puget Sound. They are believed to have been there for thousands of years , wth the decendents of the origional settlers still remaining living there within the community today. They are somtimes called 'People of the Salmon' as they regarded the Salmon as a sacred creature and still do today performing an anual ritual in it honor. The river that ran through their tribes residence was filled with Salmon from season to season and with the tribe having knowledge on how to smoke them it meant that they were always comfortable for food.

The first salmon of every year to return to salt water is captured, eaten and then returned as to tell its brother and sister salmon how well it was treated by the Muckleshoot tribe. This tradition still remains today within the tribe and is an im portant part of their heratige and identity. This identity being that the Muckleshoot tribe are known for their hunting abilities and their cooking skills such as smoking salmon.

However when the white man invaded their area of the tribe they riddled them with diseases which they couldnt fight off. This therefore killed off a number of the tribes people leading them to have to vastly re populate. This repopulation is what led to the remaining tribe members of today.

Today the Muckleshoot tribe have a 9 member council serving a roatry of 3 years thanks to the Indian Reorganization act. The tribe also has a 'General Council' made up of tribe members, the Muckleshoot Tribal Council provides a full range of governance services to the reservation. The tribe is one of the biggest in the far west with an estimated number of members of 3,300. The tribe have come together with certain north-Western tribes and have noth worked together to find opportunities to improve the social well being and economic state of the tribe.

Seminole Tribe of Florida

The above link is for the Seminole tribe of Florida, a federally recognised Indian tribe who proudly state in their website's opening headline that they are 'the only tribe in America who never signed a peace treaty.' Their history is believed to be traceable as far back as 12,000 years ago and they fought several wars against the U.S Government that became known as the 'Seminole Wars', with one of their battles reportedly being 'the fiercest of all the wars ever waged by the U.S. Government against native peoples.'

In 1957 they drafted a tribal constitution and attained self-government through the formation of a tribal council. They also formed a company named the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. to oversee the business matters for the tribe. They are considered 'one of the most successful native business peoples in the United States today,' and rely on their various businesses, such as gaming, cattle and citrus, to provide economic stability within their tribal community. ‘They employ more than 7,000 employees in their casinos, hotels and other enterprises and purchase more than $130.3 million in goods and services yearly.'

This all points to a thriving tribal community in contemporary America, and shows that although they take great pride in their history, as evidenced by the proud historical details on their website, they also understand the merit of embracing change and new technology in order to progress. They appear to be doing exceptionally well, even providing a link to an eBay marketplace where tourist memorabilia can be bought, despite or perhaps in spite of the huge struggles they have faced in the past.

Further examination of their website provided a wealth of knowledge on their culture, government and enterprises. They acknowledge paying taxes, even giving the figures to show that they do their part to support the country, and talk of employing non-Indians in what I conceived to be a rather politically clever move. They boast of having 'more non-contiguous reservations than any tribe in North America' and welcome people to take a walk through one of them, even providing a map for such situations.

All six of their reservations have links on the website, and each one has its own casino to provide an income to support the health and welfare, public services and education systems. The additional 'services' tab revealed some surprising information on the different variety of departments they own and run - including 'The Big Cypress' airstrip, broadcasting department and a newspaper named the Seminole Tribune which has been in circulation since 1996.

Notably, in a move that shows a certain level of respect for the U.S government, they also have a 'Veterans Building' - the star shaped building pictured above, in recognition of the five branches of the United States armed forces, dedicated to their veterans with honour. 

Overall, the Seminole Tribe of Florida appears to be successfully working self-sufficiently, and although they have a contentious history with the U.S, they appear to have adopted a modern integration approach, whilst still retaining their unique cultural independence.

Native American - Seminole of Florida

The website that I have chosen is for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The first thing that you are advised of when going on the website is that they are a federally recognised Indian tribe and that they are the only tribe in America who never signed a peace treaty.

Through the site you get to learn about the tribes history and you get the option to view a brief summary or a time line. The brief summary is written by someone called Williard Steele and goes on to state that the Seminole people are descendants from Creek people and that the tribe is very diverse as the members speak 7 languages which are Muscogee, Hitchiti, Koasati, Alabama, Natchez, Yuchi and Shawnee. It then details where the Creeks settled and then describing events that followed them settling such as the Creek War (1813-1814), The Creek Civil War (1813) and the First, Second and Third Seminole Wars.

The Time line option is another way to view their history and this is very useful and one of the key pieces of information that i got was the information for the 2nd Seminole war and it says that '5,000 Seminoles fight off the US Army, Navy and Marines and approx 3,000 natives removed to Oklahoma reservations with the US spending $40million and finally quits fighting' - This was between 1835 and 1842 and in 1845 Florida becomes the 27th state in the USA.

You are also able to get a full introduction which goes in to more detail about the tribe and describes how the Europeans brought with them new diseases that killed thousands of these indigenous peoples. There is also a lot of reference to the Spanish as until 1821 - Florida was still under their government. There is also a chapter on Indian resistance and removal of the Seminole people, starting before and lasting 20 years longer that the 'Trail of Tears' which is when several thousand Cherokee people were sent on a death march.

The website also has a chapter on their culture and describes their art, basketry, bead work, Chickee (architecture), clans, hairstyles, dolls, food, recipes, language, clothing, medicine and legends. They also have a government section which is how they operate and today their council administrates the Tribal Gaming enterprises. Along with this they talk about tourism that they provide as the tribe employs more than 2,000 non-Indians and purchases more than $24million in goods and services from more that 850 Florida vendors plus the tribe pays $3.5million in federal payroll taxes. They also have more contiguous reservations than any other tribe in North America being Tampa, Brighton, Fort Pierce, Big Cypress, Immokalee and Hollywood. They also provide services with their Aviation Department, Building Inspections Dept, Broadcasting Dept, Education Services, Environmental Resource Management, Health Dept, Housing Dept, Tribal Library System Services and Veterans Building.

The website provides a lot of information on the Seminoles history, culture, business and services and they also have their own newsletter which goes out and all the archives are available on their site.

I wanted to do a blog post on the Sioux or one of the other plain indians the ones we see in films with clint eastwood or dancing with wolves or whatever it is called. The I saw the film "3:10 to Yuma" With Apache in that, so I thought about them. But then I saw The Cherokee today I quite well off and have their own government inside Oklahoma. They seem to be well established and well off... But what really struck me was the front page. I love cycling, and so when I saw this: "Remember the Removal
If you are a Cherokee Nation citizen, enrolled in high school or college, in good academic standings, and willing to commit to a 950 mile journey, applications are being accepted for the 2012 Remember the Removal Bike Ride."

It is amazing to think in our lives, in their lives, nothing like that happens in a western country, but a little over 150 years ago in a democratic nation people were force march 950 mile ( a longer journey than the flight from where I live in France to London then down to here... yet... Before the Lecture on wednesday I hadn't even though about it. The trail of tears and all that was a passing comment in my knowledge of American history... Not much has changed in the political situation of the United States since then yet the knock on doors promoting Democracy... Sounds as democratic as the Argentinians call for the liberation of the Falklands... Quite shocking and upseting. The website offers much more than this but i thought the "Remember the removal" was the most shocking!

Push Critique,1158929/critic-review.html

I have chosen a review of the film Precious by Ann Hornaday for the Washington Post and they have given the film 4 stars and describe the film as a 'rare gift' that will 'awaken the senses and send viewers into a world made radically new by invigorated alertness and empathy'. The reason why I chose this review is because of this statement as I believe that this was Sapphire's goal in making the novel into the film Precious.
The critique describes the character Precious as the film's beleaguered protagonist who introduces the viewers to unspeakable despair and 'manages to imbue them with exhilarating sense of hope'.

The critic then goes on to describe the film briefly with its plot and then actually refers to a question that Miss Rain asks Precious and relates it to the viewer/reader of the story with Precious, the question asked is "What does it mean when the author describes the pprotagonists circumstances as unrelenting?" - The critic thinks that this question is asked of Precious/Push as Precious is plagued by a stream of 'social ills'.

The critic finishes off her review by saying that at the end of the film the journey has been excruciatingly exhausting and deeply rewarding as this is how I felt having read the book and seen the film and although there are certain stereotypes such as Precious' mum being the 'welfare queen' but it is an eye opener. I also believe that Precious is not only a survivor of incest and abuse but also a survivor of the state education system.

A Positive Review of the Novel Push
Harsdships seem to lie at the foundation of the review where the writer seems to favour comparing it to The Color Purple untile she realises that Precious in fact suffers an entirely new form of torture. The novel was given a three and a half star rating though the critique in general seems to want to inform the reader of the vulgarity in the piece which she personally feels should not be included as apprently the book could do without it.
The novel itself uses the foul language as a kind of realism the fact that Precious has grown up in an environment where four letter words are common immediately ousting her mothers incapability as a parent and allowing us as a reader the level with Precious and attach ourselves to her situation. If Saphire where to avoid the language the novel for me would not seem as realistic as the environment itself would therefore be less threatening for Precious and her predicament also seeming somewhat softer in a way without the constant flurry of abuse thrown at Precious by her mother.
The problem with the review itself is that rather than analysing the literary techniques undertaken by the author the reviewer chooses to divulge her personal thoughts on why she was almost put off the novel in a positive review, which within itself is rather contradictary or as she puts it reading outside of her "comfort zone."
There is a positive to the piece despite this, her respect for the resiliance of Precious as a character is what allowed her to continue the book, despite the language making it hard for her to continue. She felt it right that she read on as Precious' character conveyed the kind of endurance that the average person only wished they had in the face of adversity.
After reading this review I can't help but feel that it was insignificant compared to say a more academic piece that would be written in The Washington Post for example, the reviewer was extremely biased which affects the piece greatly letting down those enthusiatic yet unkowing whether or not to read the novel it seems to fluctuate between the reviewers disgust and her appreciation of the character something which, again biased is not a technique used by a reputable reviewer.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Colorado River Indian Tribes

For this blog task I decided to look at the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) website. The CRIT consists of four tribes: the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo and currently has approximately 3500 members. In 1865 the CRIT reservation was created by the Federal Government initially for the Mohave and Chemehuevi who had occupied the area of land for centuries, later people of the Hopi and Navajo were relocated to this reservation. The reservation is located along the Colorado river on both the Arizona and California side and is roughly 300,000 acres with the river being the focal point of the area.

Much like a state or county would have its own laws the CRIT do to. They have a council of nine people who are elected by tribe members and then serve a four year term. Also like the United States itself the tribe has its own constitution which outlines the laws from health and safety to taxation.

The website states that "The primary economic activity on the CRIT Reservation has always been agriculture" and that this still thrives in the community today with the growing of cotton, alfalfa and sorghum. However recently the tribe has branched out into new areas of business such as: real estate, retail and tourism. CRIT opened their own casino, Bluewater resort and casino and this is now one of their main sources of income. Also within the tourist sector the tribe host a range of events in which the paying public can join in and experience the CRIT way of life.

One aspect I thought was very interesting was the parallels that the tribe seem to have with American culture. For example there are beauty pageants held solely for Indian girls. This year a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes won the Miss Indian Arizona title.

After Wednesday's lecture I was intrigued to see what the tribe call themselves as it was something that we discussed and never really came to a conclusion about. How should we address "Native Americans?" or what they would want to be called? CRIT continually refer to themselves as "Indians" throughout the website and from what I can see never refer to themselves as anything else.

From what I understood previous to this blog and Wednesday's lecture was that Native Americans were in some ways "in the past" as in they did not embrace new technology because they were at one with nature or take on new business ideas. However the CRIT have changed that stereotype that I had as they have branched out into new businesses and have seen ways to advance themselves in Americas current economic situation. Also, regarding technology they seem to utilize new technologies, especially that of social networking to their advantage. For example the tribe have their own Twitter and Facebook pages in order to keep people update with the goings on in their tribe. This could also be a way of keeping younger members within the tribe set up, thus keeping their tribe thriving and not dying out.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Negative Review on Precious/ 'Push'

Thsis article primarily based on the movie 'Precious' rather than the book 'Push' shows a negative critique on the movie and is then counter argued by another critique who critisises his views. Armond White, the chief film critic of the New York press critisises the film for being 'Full of brazenly racist cliches' and that is demans the idea of black American life. I personally dont agree with this as the movie/book is not so much speaking as a representitive of the entire African American population and communities across the States, rather a portion of it. Minority or not it has happens and in some cases continues to happen but i think that being black himself the issue of this happening within your own culture hits nerves and some dont like to see it being displayed and talked about, rather more comfortable leaving it as a taboo.

White goes on deeper to aim his critique not just at the story itself but what it represents and to who. He claims that it is a 'Political fantasy' because it demeans blacks, women and poor people. This i think is an incredibly strong accusation to make about the American government and kind of takes away from the whole message and the point of the film/book. He goes on to suggest that this is a pattern within films focussed on African American identity suggesting that the films 'Cadillac Records' and 'Akeelah and the Bee' because they wernt negative enough. This again i believe shows his ignorance to the situation and his dismissle of what hapens within the society.

However Latoya Peterson editor in of critisises Whites view saying: “His review buys into the narrative that there can only be one acceptable presentation of black life,” Ms. Peterson said. “He’s flattening the black experience, and in that way, he denies our humanity.” This backs up my point about denial. Black heritage has many layers and many factors all that are real and all that have to be accepted. White is chosing not to accept this eliment of his heritage and culture which is disapointing as i feel it shows he is ashamed.

Positive Critique of Push by Sapphire

The above link contains a uniquely positive critique of Push by Sapphire, but unlike other critiques, this one states fifteen ways in which Push positively affected the critic as a reader. After reading the book, they claim, ' I felt like I wanted to go out and do something positive and uplifting because the novel was so intense.' The critic acknowledges that there were many hurdles and problems Precious had to overcome within the novel; but was curious about what could be learned from it and applied to our daily lives.

Each lesson point is numbered and given a quotation from the novel to back up the reasoning behind it, such as:

 1. Precious had a desire for better: "I really want to learn. Everyday I tell myself something gonna happen…I’m gonna break through or somebody gonna break through to me—I’m gonna learn, catch up, be normal, change my seat to the front of the class."

By this we can see that Precious was determined to better herself, and if we wanted to take something positive from her being illiterate and going to a special school, we can learn to always desire better things for ourselves in order to reach our full potentials.

I found this a very interesting take on the controversial issues within this book. Instead of focusing on the appalling and often horrific situations Precious found herself in, the critic focuses on what Precious did to remedy her situation - on what strengths she showed; strengths we could all do with paying attention to from time to time.

Another point i found interesting was the message the critic thought the book gave readers with regards to our treatment of other people. Obviously, in writing the novel, Sapphire wanted to highlight the prevelant abuse (particularly incestuous), and poverty that occurs within society, most especially in so called African American ghettos; but i think i agree that the book contains a deeper message as to how we should help one another by offering support.

14. Precious had a good support system:
The girls in Precious’ class were there for her and had similar experiences. They were able to share their stories and help each other heal.
"They (the girls) and Ms. Rain is my friends and family.
At least when I look at the girls I see them and when they look they see ME, not what I look like."
Precious also had good community support. She found help through the abuse support group and the HIV Positive support group. Both groups helped her connect with and talk to others who could relate to her problems; consequently Precious did not feel alone.

The writer of this critique saw the potential within the novel to guide our treatment of not only ourselves, but other people too; instead of focusing on the way in which it was written or the incidents that made up the plot, this critique has focused on the lessons that can be learned from really listening to the words on the paper and letting them sink in.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sapphire's Push: Merciless Honesty,0

This critique is written by a lady called Nordette Adams a Louisiana based freelance journalist, published fiction writer and poet. She is also a contributing editor and African- American books examiner for

I was initially drawn to this critique of Push because of the title of the blog "Sapphire's Push: Merciless Honesty," the emotive language used here by the author automatically grabs people's attention and also suggests that it is going to be a positive and frank view of the book.

At the beginning of the critique Adams tells her readers how she heard about the novel, which coincidentally was through Oprah Winfrey who put forward the money to make Push into a film alongside Tyler Perry. She began to research the novel and the more she found out about it the less she wanted to read it, I found this particularly interesting as I read this book without any prior knowledge to what it was about. I feel that this allowed me to buy into the narrative and empathise with the characters more so than if I had preconceptions about the book like Adams did.

An aspect of this critique that I found interesting is, although Adams was disinclined to read it, she is in some ways supportive of Sapphire's bravery to put this book out there to the public. She uses phrases such as "stripped down" and "brute honesty" that although at a first glance are seemingly negative are actually praising the book and Sapphire for writing a book that she knew would cause controversy. In addition to this Adams includes a quote from an interview with Sapphire regarding her feelings towards this "controversial" novel, "if Sapphire were silent many of us would remain comfortably ignorant about abuse, violence and the ramifications of both." (Euroweb, 2002) Here I think it is interesting to note that Sapphire talks about herself in the third person as if Sapphire is a separate person to Romona Lofton which has distinct parallels to the character of Precious herself. Adams goes on to say "Sapphire sugar coats nothing, protects no institution, coddles no belief system," in this quote I believe Adams is trying to highlight to the readers of her blog that this novel is not your average novel, it does not end in happy ever after as you want it to, it is gritty and harrowing and you should not expect anything less.

One aspect of the book that Adams focuses on largely is the character of Precious. As the book is based around her and because she is such a dominant feature of the book. Again she praises Sapphire's writing skills in the way she presents Precious to us "makes Precious Jones visible to us in simple language charged with brute strength." For me, the use of simple language is what makes this book. Although at times I did find it difficult to read, it allows the reader to grow with Precious and see how she does improve and the positivity that is created just by Precious moving up in the world, in some ways takes the sting out of the harsh reality of the book. Also, by choosing to have Precious' voice as the narrative voice really does give the reader an incite into the world of Precious Jones and allows Sapphire to effectively convey her story to the audience. Adams reflects upon this idea also, "a voice that also conjures up Precious' gritty, unforgiving world" again the use of negative language shows that Adams is trying to reconstruct the negativity and crudity of Push itself.

Overall, I agree with Adams' critique. She looks at both Sapphire's bravery to write such a controversial novel and the character of Precious Jones in a lot of detail. Although I feel she does not really concentrate on the book as a whole, just certain aspects of it. On the other hand I do feel she is right to put a particular focus on the author and main character as they are such domineering aspects of the novel and make it what it is. I found the book to be an eye opener to a world that I never really knew existed whereas I feel Adams' felt it was more her "duty" to read this book and wanted to pretend that what she was reading in this book was not happening in reality. However there is one quote that I strongly agree with and that stood out to me as soon as I read this critique,

"a novel that manages to be disturbing, affecting and manipulative all at the same time."

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Pro and Anti Latino Immigration

The above website is an anti-Latino immigration website run by a public organisation named Numbers USA, dedicated to reducing immigrant numbers in the United States. Interestingly enough, they name themselves 'pro-immigration,' along with 'pro liberty' and 'pro worker;' and loudly encourage fair treatment of illegal immigrants. Yet their executive director states:

'The chief difficulties that America faces because of current immigration are not triggered by who the immigrants are, but by how many they are. The task before the nation in setting a fair level of immigration is not about race or some vision of a homogeneous white America; it is about protecting and enhancing the United States' unique experiment in democracy for all Americans, including recent immigrants, regardless of their particular ethnicity.'

They deny hostile feelings or actions towards immigrants, but advocate any laws being considered that will reduce the influx of immigrants and therefore increase the amount of work available to American nationals. They do not appear to consider what contributions immigrants may currently be making towards American society, and feel the surest way to deal with the problem is to place larger restrictions on countries, making immigration much harder than it currently is in order to discourage it. They refute what they call 'immigrant bashing' and, in what appears to be a disagreement or lack of faith in their government, claim that: 

'Perhaps the greatest "immigrant bashers" are those Members of Congress who refuse to look at the abysmal conditions of so many immigrant Americans, and who every year insist on adding more than a million more immigrants into their occupations, schools and communities.'

From this you could conclude that although they clearly disagree with allowing people to migrate to America on account of the growing population and consequential poor conditions, they are not hateful with their agenda and have honest, well-thought out intentions of appealing to Congress with reason.

The above website is a pro-Latino immigration website run by the Maryland Hispanic Bar Association or MHBA, an organisation comprised of Hispanic lawyers dedicated to promoting reform and protecting rights on behalf of Hispanics/Latinos. They 'facilitate the administration of justice' and 'foster respect of the law among Hispanics/Latinos'; for all intents and purposes, seemingly encouraging assimilation into American society.

The organisation was formed by Cuban-American attorney Mayda Colón Tsaknis residing in Maryland who, due to the 1990 census, realised the population of Hispanics was at 10%, and was likely to rise in the future - becoming the largest minority in 2005. She felt the issues for Hispanic Americans were continuing to grow and set about ensuring the protection of their rights by contacting all the Hispanic attorneys and leaders she could find and asking them to get involved.

Together they oppose issues of contention for the Hispanic community and even act as interpreters to ensure Hispanics have a fair trial. Judging by their acceptance of the Spanish language and encouragement of tradition, they do not appear to desire total integration with American society, yet hope to work side by side, the same and yet apart from. They appear to have been very successful in their endeavours to date as they state:

'The MHBA advocated for the appointment of highly qualified Hispanics to the bench in the State of Maryland. Through these efforts, Governor Parris Glendenning appointed two of MHBA’s shining stars as the first Hispanic judges in the state: the Honorable Audrey J.S. Carrion in Baltimore City, in 1996, and the Honorable Marielsa Bernard in Montgomery County, in 1998.'

There is little said regarding the problem of illegal immigration, and instead their aim is to, ' to remain ever vigilant regarding the legal rights of minorities, to advocate for the nomination of qualified Latino attorneys to the bench, and to advance the profession through service to the community.'
Pro and Anti Latio Immigration

This website which is based around the group 'Legalize LA' is a pro latino immigration website. The site 'American Apparel' is a clothing based website however it has started a campaign to back up the 'Reform' for legal immigration. The site states that it wants to get companies and businesses involved in the reform as they are a main aspect of media and can get the voices of immigrants heard. The group focusess alot on the aspect of employement and how immigrants are a leading contributor to the work force and without them we would suffer. There is a section 'Meet our workers' where Latino American Apparel workers speak out about theyre views on immigration and there own personal experiences with being an immigrant in contemporary America.

Following on from this the site has links to pages where you can find out more about what Legalize LA does and how they pla to make a difference. Links to a series of interviews with the head people behind the company on how and why they are backing this campagne and chose to get involved. There is also a section where you can find out 'The top 10 facts about immigrants' where there is a list of positive facts about immigrants and how they are helpful contributors to the United States. This group shows that it heavily cares on this issue as alot of time and effort can cleary be seen to have been put in here. With a large nation company (American Apparel) backing the rights for immigrants it expresses even more the severity of the issue and how strong people feel towards it.

This website is the ani immigration website. It is a group called AIC and it is heavily against immigration. While the pro site celebrates the empoyement of immigrants this site opresses it blaming the immigrants for taking the work of Amecan citizens away from them and denying them their rights. The site rests heavily on and leads with the notion that all immigrants are 'Illegal alians.' The site to me came across almost racist and prejudice as calling them names such a alians is ultimatly dehumanising. The site has blogs, articles and an 'action alert' email so that members can be updated on issues. The site has a history page where it talks about the history of immigration and how that compares to it today.

The site accuses the system today of going against the values and morals of the founding fathers. That they didnt want 'Unlimited immigration' they only wanted a 'select few' to do jobs such as labour and engineering so that the previous settlers didnt have to. This is a very strong message to send out as Americans take their founding principles very seriously. So this compares to the pro site as the pro site seems to be wanting to look forward and make chage and positivity for these people, where as this anti site is relying on the past to almost try and guilt Americans into believeing in its principles by making them question their American values.

Pro and Anti Immigration Websites

The Website that I have chosen for my anti immigration website is an advocacy group called The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) -

This group is a non profit organisation who aims to stop illegal immigration, improve border controls by tracking immigration trends and its effects on American society and using this information to educate the American public on its impacts. The group has been founded since 1979 and is often in the public eye with various media forms such as television networks and radio stations interviewing them on their view of the immigration debate. They have a large following of over 250,000 members worldwide and believe that illegal immigration has a severe impact on education, health care, government budgets, employment, the environment and crime. Their main goals are to end illegal immigration and to limit legal immigration by increasing public awareness, informing academic, media and governmental figures and to influence public policy.

The website that I have chosen for my pro immigration website is a group called The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which is a group that was founded in 1913 -

This group was initially founded to stop the defamation of Jewish people and aims to fight all forms of bigotry in the U.S. through education, legislation and advocacy. It aims to scrutinise and expose extremest groups and more recently acted as an advocacy group for pro immigration by shining a light on right wing, extremist hate groups that support anti immigration. They speak out about discrimination and aims to defend civil liberties for all. They encourage relationships between local law enforcement and have opposed policies that encourage racial profiling and discriminotory.

Latino Immigration in South West America

In June 2001 The Federal Bank of Dallas released a rather mediated yet precise piece on the downside of the surplus amount of Latino immigrants passing through the South-West border each day. Those who are legal are more than welcome their commerce and hard work met with praise due to the journey made in order to feed or treat their families. Those who do not enter legally however have cost the state unfathomable amounts in order to tighten its border patrol by increasing in both workers and hours in order to keep out possible criminals and drug or people traffickers and other such individuals unwanted by the United States. The fact that there is no record of these people back in their own countries and there will be none in the US as they will be provided with fake documents heightens the likelihood of dangerous goings on especially if these people choose to frequent is Texas it is easier for them to disappear from the radar.

The source itself being from Dallas the third largest city in the state of Texas you can see how a bank the place which deals with commerce in its various forms would be concerned about such goings on. Illegal immigration has a major effect upon the economy and the people concerned are also in serious danger of being exploited by those who hire illegal immigrants therefore benefiting the black market and illegal professions such as prostitution and drug dealing not to say all who enter the US illegally will enter into said professions. The point is without these happenings the money could be put towards various things say a work program for those who wish to enter the US for the latter. Though there are families who do wish to escape a dangerous environment who should go through the proper procedures but are tarred with the same brush as those who enter the country for means of illegal activity.

The article also states that so called "coyotes" will be hired in order to find routes across the border who benefit the criminal underworld by raising their rates as the demand for migration to the US heightens so does the cost to enter the country illegally. The fact that this activity on the border rewards criminal organisations with large amounts of money and costs the state millions in defensive procedures it is easy to see how Texan society and the surrounding states would frown upon those crossing its borders illegally.

This particular site is devoted to making a legal move to the US for both men and women comfortable and cheap. They believe in equal opportunity and the fact that one is poor should not affect their chances of being able to start a new life. Their two biggest cases for pro immigration are escaping domestic violence and reuniting families thus making the world a better place and putting an emphasis on the fact that these people do not have the means to do this themselves so giving them assistance means fulfilling their right to have as much of a chance in life as those who can afford this opportunity.

The site itself seems more like a charity allowing those who wish it to become part of their pro immigration argument and join in by becoming a member, donating to the cause or starting up events to raise awareness and money. The charity bases itself around these events and being an almost entirely non-profit organisation focuses entirely on those it devotes itself to.

The charity itself I personally feel is one of the best solutions to combat illegal immigration on the whole it seems to be a way out for those considering to enter the US illegally and putting for a great sense of equality for those suffering under circumstances in which escape is almost unbelievable unless illegal means are adopted.
I wouldn't say I am lazy, but i found a lovely website that gave other websites that argued the PRO and ANTI immigration views, so Decided to look no further. (

This website asks the question if illegal immigration is good for the United states of america. The illegal immigrant population account for 5% of the US working population. Walter Ewing argues that even though these immigrants don't get Medicare, social security and other services given to Americans and Legal immigrants, they still pay majority of the taxes they should and help the economies of the states they are concentrated in. For example in Texas the estimated 1.4 million immigrants contributed a staggering $18 Billion (WOW) to the states economic output. He goes on toe argue that if they gained legal status they would be able to contribute even more to the American economy. (Not sure about that) Then he goes on to state that undocumented immigration (such a nicer way of putting it... Illegal makes them sound so criminal) is an example of the broken immigration system.

However, the website thankfully gives another point of view... (

Mark kirkorian argues that illegal immigration floods the labour market especially in lower sectors, meaning legal not so qualified Americans struggle to find work at a decent pay rate. making minimum wage to much to pay for some employers. The Majority of these illegal immigrants lack High school education, (though in America that isn't exactly A+ education). He says it puts an extra burden of the tax payer, (surely not as much as bailing out the bankers) and contrary to what Walter above stated Mark says they don't pay much taxes as they earn so little and thus don't contribute to the American economy. He then rambles on stating how they flood market and entry level. But then states that what worked 100 years ago is no longer viable. And by keeping labour cheap, there is no incentive in investing into labour saving devices thus damaging the economic competitiveness in the future!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Latino Immigration

The websites I looked at for this weeks blog were Casa de Maryland (Pro Latino immigration) and American Immigration Control (Anti Latino immigration).

Casa de Maryland is an organisation founded in 1985 that supports immigrants from Central America in a variety of ways such as: advice on healthcare, has community education centre and advice on finances. It was a group created in response to the human needs of thousands of Central Americans arriving in the D.C area and is currently recognised as the largest Latino and immigrant organisation in the state of Maryland. Over 20 000 Latino immigrants benefit from CASA’s work every year.American Immigration Control (AIC) is an organisation that differs greatly from Casa de Maryland. It is an organisation which is trying to control immigration in the United States and at this particular moment are very much focused on trying to control Latino immigration.

Both websites have contrasting views on the issue of Latino immigration. Casa de Maryland have recently set up a sister organisation called “Casa in action” which allows the group to protest and have their voice heard in society. They have used means such as questionnaires and attended political debates as a way in which to get a stand in the political world and very much believe that Latinos should have a place in politics. Overall it is a positive website that believe Latinos should have more of a stand in U.S society than they do at present and do not see Latino immigrants as a burden on U.S society but a part of U.S society. AIC, takes a much more negative approach and does see Latino immigrants as a burden on the USA. For example, when describing what the organisation does on its website the AIC say “AIC, founded in 1983, is about stopping the millions of illegal aliens who sneak across our border from Mexico every year.” The use of the word “sneak” is significant here as it is being used a tool to entice people to join this group and suggest that Latinos who cross the border are bad people. They also use words such as “strictly” and “demanding” which again come across negatively and show that there is more of a dislike/almost hatred for Latino immigrants.

Casa de Maryland and AIC are both organisations set up to deal with the issue of Latino immigration to America but as evidences previously they set out do this very different ways. One group is willing to welcome the immigrants, the other wants them deported. They also address the issues in very different ways and this is shown mainly through the language used on the website, Casa de Maryland being more positive, AIC being more negative. It is also interesting the Casa de Maryland uses images to show their beliefs whereas AIC uses graphs and statistics. Although both are using very different techniques, they have one aim and that is to appeal to their own target audience in a way to get support for their groups to allow them to hopefully get a step up in American Society.