Sunday, 26 February 2012
The review which i found from ‘Brothers Judd’ is very critical on Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed. The review firstly states “we find out much about Barbara Ehrenreich, fairly little about the difficult lives of people she worked with, and nearly nothing about what she would suggest we do to make their lives easier.” This i believe to be true, as despite a few short stories about Ehrereich’s co-workers we fail to gain any in depth insight into the lives of those actually living this lifestyle. I feel the novel would have been enhanced if she had more of a focus on the life’s of the people living in these conditions, if she had become more involved out of the work environment she could have gained further perspective on low-wage USA.
Brothers Judd criticise Ehrenreich as she enters in to her experiment alone this as the review says “makes her character in the book completely unrealistic and leaves her to spend all her time fixating on herself.” If Ehrenreich was to actually live this life she is forgetting that the majority of people in this situation have others to care for and provide for so her experiment is flawed in this sense.
The review would seem to take a religious slant on events, Ehrereich’s dismissal of religion and the church ‘At one point she actually goes to a revival meeting, but it turns out she's only there to make fun of the service’ there is another occasion when the church is offered as a point of refuge and help, but Ehrenreich never acts on this. The idea of religion being a way out, comments on society in the sense that assistance and help is given to those that choose God and religion. On the other hand it could merely be that it is part of their religious beliefs to help others so it is no surprise that help is given through the church.
Another review like the Brothers Judd criticizes Ehrenreich’s experiment. http://www.pajiba.com/book_reviews/nickel-and-dimed-review.php they look to question who the book is aimed at, the review states “You had to read a book about some rich white lady’s experience to learn that some people end up staying in motel rooms that cost twice as much as an apartment, because they can’t scrape together the money for a deposit?” this questioning peoples lack of knowledge and understanding shows American societies failure to address these issues.
The review does defend Ehrenreich in saying that the “book does not mimic what it is actually like to live in poverty” and Ehrenreich stated this from the beginning. However if this is the case what is the point in the experiment if only for Ehrenreich to know that she can live this way! Despite not forming any strong attachment to the people with whom she worked with, she did however as the review says learn how “various employers screw over their employees”
Overall the novel did perform a critical commentary on American society, and how it has failed to recognise many of the housing issues that people working low wage jobs find. The book however like the reviews say was to largely centred around Barbara Ehrenreich making her the centre when the actual people in this situation could give a better insight.
Saturday, 25 February 2012
Friday, 24 February 2012
Democraticunderground.com’s review of Nickel and Dimed mirrored my own thoughts on the book. The review starts: “I no longer see motels the same way since reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s new book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.”, something that I particularly agreed with. Socially and generally, motels are associated with “a place to rest your head between bouts of driving”, like the review says, as well as with horror films such as Psycho; they are not typically seen as places where people stay for more than “two nights”, let alone actually live.
Interestingly, deomcraticunderground.com talks about the things that the middle class “take for granted”, such as: “housing, food, gas”; and while this may be true, I felt as though the critic thought that all middle class people existed in a vacuum, where in reality, these middle class people probably went to college (university) getting an education that would allow for them to have higher paid jobs, and the advantage of taking some things, like food, for granted. This was another point I found interesting about Nickel and Dimed. Barbara Ehrenreich, never explicated explained the reasons for her co-workers, or people in low paid labour jobs, having those jobs in the first place. Something that struck me when reading, was in ‘Scrubbing in Maine’, when Ehrenreich was working for the maid service she mentions how Holly usually asks for the spelling of words like; “carry” and “weighed”, suggesting that Holly did not get an education, and so to some extent it could be argued that it’s her fault for having the job that she has. This is further supported by Ehrenreich saying that she would not include any of her qualifications, suggesting that the types of people, who work in low paid labour jobs, do not have qualifications. I also think that the fact that employers are having to ask questions such as; “It's sometimes okay to come to work high” and that they have become “routine” also suggest the kinds of people that are having these kinds of jobs.
However, it is unsurprising that democraticunderground.com would have taken an interest in Nickel and Dimed and found it “thought provoking”. This is because, firstly, the name of the website implies a left-wing, equal opportunity approach; and secondly, because at the side there is an icon saying: “TOP TEN CONSERVATIVE IDIOTS” and it could be inferred that they perhaps blame the poor conditions of the people that Ehrenreich had to work with, on them [the conservatives], or at least feel like the conservatives are not helping to increase standard of living.
Monday, 20 February 2012
The Cherokees are best associated with The Trail Of Tears (1836-1839) which is now widely seen by modern historians as a massacre of the Cherokee people and it is hard to excuse the actions of the US government. The Cherokee had been living in the area now called Georgia, with their own laws and customs, but in 1828, when gold was discovered on Cherokee lands, the treaties that existed between the US state and the Cherokee nation were ruled null and void, making the Cherokee claim to the land worthless. This was contested by the Cherokee as far as the Supreme Court in the case of Worchester V Georgia, but Chief Justice John Marshall ruled against them and they lost the case. The Cherokee were forced to sign the Treaty of New Echota as part of the Indian Removal Act. Encouraged by President Jackson, the people of Georgia drove the Cherokee at gunpoint on a thousand-mile trek across the Mississippi. A quarter of them died on a journey that has become known as the “Trail of Tears”. This was not just an act of the US government but all the white population. It appeared no-one truly cared about the well-being of the Native Americans because, for the colonists, the end justified the means. Jackson had felt done the right thing. “The philanthropist …. will rejoice that the remnant of that ill-fated race has been at length placed beyond the reach of injury and oppression, and that the paternal care of the general government will hereafter watch over them and protect them.” (The Mammoth Book of Native Americans) He thought that, by moving the tribes away from white settlers, it would be better for both whites and Native Americans in the long run. Forced expulsions were a common feature of the treatment of Native American tribes by US authorities in the 18th and 19th century.
Sunday, 19 February 2012
Sitting Bull, the Lakota Medicine Man and Chief was considered the last Sioux to surrender to the U.S. Government. He was considered a very powerful man to his tribe. To other they were considered the enemy and to them selves the were "the Lakota".
The website which I chose is devoted to the heritage of The Red Cliff. The website explains how “the Red Cliff Reservation was created through a series of treaties between the U.S. Government and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (Red Cliff Band), the most recent being the treaty of 1854.” The reservation on which the Native Americans of the Red Cliff Band are located at is “Bayfield Peninsula, on the shores of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin.” The population size of the reservation is around 924 of primarily naive Americans.The history of the Red cliff band is that in 1854 the Commissioner of Indian Affairs wanted the Chippewa Indians to give up their titles on their land on Lake Superior, this called for a treaty in which several Ojibwe chiefs, from which the Red Cliff band derives from were involved in the signing of it. Despite mentioning the treaty the website fails to go in to any great detail, so after further research I discovered the agreements of the Treaty of La Pointe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_La_Pointe the map clearly shows the “land cession area” despite seding their land tribes still retain hunting, fishing and gathering rights on for this region.
Through the establishment of a tribe council theses rights and well being of the tribe are protected. Their mission statement is to “promote, plan and provide for the health, welfare, education, environmental protection, cultural preservation and economic well being of Tribal Members and to protect Treaty Rights now and in the future." The origins and history of the Red Cliff Tribal Council are explained, this idea of a council shows the tribes conformity to US government regulations and like the cession of their land the control of the US over Native American tribes is shown.The Red cliff tribe are seen to have strong values on education as shown on the website. Within the website there is a direct link to Bayfield School which is named “best small school in Wisconsin.” Within the constitution and bylaws of the government it states that “We the members of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in the State of Wisconsin, in order to re-establish our tribal organization; to conserve our tribal property; to develop our common resources; to promote the welfare of ourselves and our descendants; to form business and other organizations; to enjoy certain rights of home rule; and to provide for our people education in vocational and trade schools and institutions of higher learning, do ordain and establish this constitution and by-laws.” This showing that they are going against many of the stereotypes that Native Americans posses and are prosperous and despite maintaining their tradition heritage they want to embrace Americas strong values on work and education.
Saturday, 18 February 2012
official website http://www.semtribe.com/ to explore areas such as their history, culture and beliefs. The segregated nature of the Tribe is immediately identifiable when you visit the site. You
are welcomed by links to the likes of a media production company, a library system and a police service entirely devoted to the Seminole Tribe. These examples show the Tribe's detachment from the rest of America in areas such as entertainment, education and the law. I quickly realised that this sense of independence didn't stop at the homepage, because, in the 'History' section, the true spirit of the Tribe's independence is applauded. It is explained that, in the 1840s, as a result of 'military actions against the Seminoles, over $20 million had been spent, 1500 American soldiers had died and still no formal peace treaty had been signed.' This information is placed under the sub-heading of "No Surrender" showing how the Seminole's were truly proud of their resilience and their independence from America.
As well as talking about the history of the Seminole Tribe, the site also makes frequent references to the way in which they stand today on topics such as Culture, the Economy and Politics. Through this we see how the Tribe has grown since their early years in these areas. The site explains that although in recent years 'The Seminole Tribe of Florida has matured both politically and financially', they are facing the 'challenge of maintaining the unique Seminole culture while operating in the mainstream economy'. This is very interesting as it reveals, on one hand, how the Tribe struggles to retain their traditional ideas and beliefs whilst operating in mainstream America, but on the other their ability to satisfy and identify their values whilst modernising and almost Americanising areas within their own community. This evidence, in relation to the previous point about the importance of independence to the Seminoles, entirely supports and justifies their desire for it. The way in which this information was available under 'The Future' headline shows the forward thinking and aspirational nature of the Seminole Indians. They believe they can crack the issues the mainstream economy poses.
The idea of the Seminoles struggling economically is not something particularly surprising. Although some stereotypes incorrectly suggest that all Native Americans are unemployed and lazy, unemployment is an area that affects Native Americans more than any other racial or ethnic group in the USA. This element of struggle is unsurprisingly not highlighted particularly explicitly, as a result of the Seminoles wanting to make themselves look to the reader as content as possible, but a small section named 'employment' within the 'Government' section is available. The written information within this section is not what caught my attention however; it was instead what the weak and limited advertisements represented. 5 adverts, 4 of which are for jobs in casinos, are used to represent the end of unemployment, as well as the apparently endless opportunities available for Seminole Indians. Even more depressingly, these adverts are accompanied by a warning note stating "Due to the volume of applications received we will only contact candidates selected for interviews." This note epitomises the poor economic situation facing the Tribe, exposing how there really aren't enough job opportunities for them.
Friday, 17 February 2012
The Crow Tribe is located in south central Montana and is part of the Apsáalooke Nation. There are over 11 000 members of the tribe, making it the largest of seven Indian reservations, surrounded by three major mountain ranges: Big Horn Mountains, Big Wolf Mountains and Pryor Mountains. As well as this, their land is fertile which allows them to live off the land. Their idyllic description of their locations advertises their reservation as the place to live as it has over three million acres.
The Crow Tribe act as their own individual nation with their own constitution and by-laws, and they act as a democracy, as shown by the vote of a proposed constitution of 670-449. They appear to follow the same legal system of the US government, as seen in the top right hand corner; “executive, legislative and judicial”. Their laws include articles such as “membership criteria” which demands a blood quantum of a quarter Crow blood to become a member and prohibits dual membership with other tribes. This also shows the Crows to be exclusive as outsiders are not allowed to become citizens of the tribe, but at the same time it shows that they want their culture and traditions to live on for future generations and a way of ensuring it is to limit the people allowed into the tribe.
Although they are exclusive in who can join the tribe, there is a section titled “Learn to speak Crow” which shows that they still want to share some of their culture with outsiders and each other people. Another way in which they share their culture with people from outside of the tribe is their explanation of the flag, which educates and informs everyone about how their flag came to be and what it represents. This also shows they are proud of themselves and want to share it with not only their own people, but with people from around the world; especially as their flag features two feathered headdresses and a smoking pipe, both of which are synonymous to the Indian American culture.
The Crow reservations “undisturbed character and dramatic features” provide recreational activities such as “hunting, fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking and backpacking”, and particularly amongst the younger members of the tribe, these activities would help to keep them in tune with their heritage of being outdoors, as well as hopefully reducing juvenile behaviour by keeping them busy. These activities also help to instil a sense of hard work and prevent them from turning to alcohol and drugs like how the stereotypical Indian Americans are portrayed. As well as this, because these activities are primarily group based ones, it promotes a sense of community and working together, as well as family.
As most of their population are under the age of eighteen, it is unsurprising that the Crow Tribe endorse education. Their community college has over 300 full time students and employs over 50 staff members showing how the tribe is very community based and use people from their reservation. The Crow Tribe also work to ensure that most members are in employment, and through federal programs and the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) up to 3 000 members of the tribe are in some form of employment. However, this still shows that a vast number of the Crow Tribe are unemployed and does mirror the statistic of unemployment amongst Indian Americans as a whole. It also shows that unlike some tribes, such as the Pequot’s, who are self-sufficient, the Crow’s rely on the government.
Interestingly, their website does not mention anything negative, which is to be expected. However while only highlight the positive community and educational aspects of the tribe, the website fails to mention the tribes past $2.1 million budget deficit and the cutting back to the tribes workforce to 32 hours a week.
Overall, the Crow Tribe website promotes the positives of the tribe, such as group activities, education, the workforce, and is proud of itself.
NB. The Crow Tribe are divided into three separate groups who only come together for common defence. These are: Ashalaho (Mountain Crow), Binnéessiippeele (River Crow), and Eelalapito (Mountain Crow).
Sunday, 12 February 2012
My feelings towards this novel are closely mirrored in this review from ‘A Novel Review’ the novel itself is not something in which I would initially look at when choosing a book but I feel since reading it, it is a very emotive novel, and like the reviewer I too sign on ‘team Precious’. The novel casts a great sympathy upon the heroine precious, yet as a character who is the victim to such terrible abuse, she still is able to maintain a sense of strength and determination, as she continues with her live despite such travesties. One of the comments in response to the review is that “I started to care for Precious and she is a great girl trying to better her life.” Although Precious is seen to better her life in reality her life, even at its best is far from the ideas of the American dream. The novel shows that the American dream isn’t always achievable, despite hard work it is through no fault of her own, but she will never have the true sense of the saying. The ending to Push is one filled with not only happiness but a great sense of sorrow as despite her gaining a sense of freedom through education and the support of others she is diagnosed with HIV. Despite this being such a tragic outcome it is in fitting with the book and thus the life of Precious.
This second review like the first one rates Push quite highly. Like the previous review it draws on comparisons of Push to the novel The Colour Purple. Within the first review it is pointed out “when The Colour Purple turned up on Precious' reading list for the alternative school. She even said she felt like Celie at one point.” Having done some research surrounding the links between Push And The Colour Purple I came across this review http://www.theroot.com/views/color-precious although the review is centred on the film, the novel and the film are closely linked and the film can seen to stay true to the novel. The article examines why Push hasn’t been received so negatively as The Colour Purple “unlike the favourable reception that has greeted Precious, The Colour Purple sparked great controversy about its negative portrayals of African-American families, and, in particular, African-American men.” It is through the use of African American culture and the harrowing events that link the two novels so closely. However as stated in the review one of the reasons why Push may not have been so critically viewed in terms of negative portrayal of African-American men is the fact that throughout the novel there is a distinct lack of the male presence, only with Precious father referred to and not deeply introduced as a character. The strong characters throughout the novel are women, and despite her father causing her the abuse it is her story of how she over comes such events, with the help of her female teacher.
The idea of cultural identity and what is like to be an African-American is questioned in the ‘Reading Group Guide’ on the Barnes and noble review. Being an African-American for Precious has confined her to Harlem and to a low level of education, in which no one cares whether she succeeds, she is merely a number in a system of thousands of people. The review questions “What does this story tell us about the inadequacy of ordinary schools to deal with students' problems and with their resulting learning handicaps?” for Precious she is passed on given a higher grade so that the teachers don’t have to deal with her directly, "I got A in English and never say nuffin', do nuffin'" this showing the lack of dedication to their pupils and willingness for them to actually succeed. It isn’t until she attends her new classes with Ms Rain that she is listened to and hope is restored. The very negative cultural aspects are brought up as "Miz Rain say we is a nation of raped children, that the black man in America today is the product of rape" this metaphor shows the cycle in which those that are doing the act of rape are those that have experienced it themselves. It gives the impression that nothing can be done to fix the initial act of rape, it is only through learning to overcome it that a change may be brought.
The majority of the reviews and comments given on reviews of the novel are very positive. The novel is not only one of learning to overcome tragic events and that of African-American culture and schooling, but Push is “A book everyone must read if one is to understand the human condition, particularly the female human condition in the US today.”
Saturday, 11 February 2012
Friday, 10 February 2012
I chose blogcritics.org review of Push because it was positive, even describing the novel as ‘pure poetry’, and was different from my own opinions. I also used anovelreview.com and ringothecat.wordpress.com.
Blogcritcs.org felt that the novel being written in the vernacular helped the story telling and ‘did not breed contempt’ whereas I felt that this style just portrayed Precious as a typical poor, uneducated African American girl living in “the ghetto”, Harlem. I felt that Precious’ character was quite extreme and did not like how one person could have so many problems in their life, however, upon further research I did find out that the story was based on a real one; but I still felt the novel portrayed such a typical stereotype of African Americans. They also praised the language uses as ‘melodious, memorable and outlandish’, which is very true of the novel, but fails to take into account the shock value of the language and metaphors used. Surely the fact that Precious is only sixteen and using expletives such as ‘fuck’, ‘coon fool’ would be shocking and something that would unexpected for someone so young. However, her circumstances do allow for her to use these terms.
The review however, does focus on Precious’ abuse and fantasy escape, something that I did not particularly appreciate when I was reading the novel. Through this it does show that Precious is a survivor, something the review mentioned, but it also shows that she is strong enough to carry on and push, to make something of her life. The review mentions: ‘in her [Precious] dreams she is milky white, cute and has long hair that makes her lovable…’, however the review failed to see that this showed Precious’ dislike for herself, and while the review briefly says that Precious is a victim, it predominantly portrays Precious as a strong, courageous girl, who bounced back from abuse at the hands of her parents, who learnt to read and write; neglecting the personal struggle to accept herself, something that I don’t think she is able to do until the end of the book when she writes: ‘in his beauty I see my own’.
I felt that blogcritics.org read Push on face value and picked up on some of the more obvious points, whereas another review I looked at, anovelreview.com, saw Precious a little deeper, and while I still disagreed with the review, I could agree with their points. For example it says Precious is ‘self-sufficient’, but unlike blogcritics.org who saw this self-sufficiency in terms of being able to escape into fantasy from the abuse, anovelreview.com saw this by the way Precious went about ‘taking the change from food stamps to purchase a notebook for class’ and ‘sells bottles and cans to repay a 50-cent loan to a classmate for potato chips’. I feel this is a better portrayal of Precious as it shows her as more than a victim and more than a ‘survivor’, but as a dedicated hard worker.
A last thing I found interesting was on another review for Push that mirrored slightly with my own opinions. It raised an interesting point; ‘if Sapphire wasn’t black, we’d call this novel tendentious (bias), if not racist’. This is interesting because it does raise the question as to how the novel would have been interpreted had there been a few minor changes to it; as well as questioning why the two other reviews I looked at, enjoyed the book so much. It also implies that if Push had been written by a white man it would not have had the same impact on the reader.
two, in order to obtain more than just one view on Push, and to see a critique on different aspects of the novel. The first review I have decided to analyse is located at http://www.wiredmamas.com/push-by-sapphire-review/. The reason this particular critique drew my attention was its informal and very personal nature. This is identifiable as early as the second sentence, where Lana explains casually how 'I must admit, I am a sucker for off beat, alternative types of subject matter, and figured Push would be uplifting and empowering .' The relaxed nature of her writing on one hand immediately eases you into the review and gives you a clear, personal interpretation of the novel. On the other hand, this technique does leave you with a very one-dimensional and simplistic insight, ignoring some of the wider themes and consequences of the novel and Sapphire's writing itself.
The second critique I chose to focus on, located at http://thebookbook.blogspot.com/2009/01/sapphirepush.html,
on the other hand, has a very different style of writing to the previous source. In contrast with Lana's relaxed, personal approach, Lisa gives us a wider, more socially and culturally relevant response to Push. This on one hand is extremely useful, as it highlights the influence of the book outside of the literary world, and searches for the deeper meanings in the writing. However, this method of writing means that you don't receive a genuine, emotional response to the book like you do with Lana's critique. This is evident through frequent examples of the writer refusing to give a personal response to the work, instead thinking very methodologically. For example 'I’ll make no judgment about the quality of the story or the writing as they're both so unconventional I have no basis for comparison'. This example among others means that in this critique we are unable to grasp a pure, human reaction to Push.
Sapphire's writing is interpreted differently by each writer, particularly in the way they tackle some of the more controversial topics. Either review makes explicit reference to arguably the most controversial topic in the book, the sexual abuse suffered by Precious. The wiredmamas critique illustrates quite an intense reaction to the abuse. Lana explains how 'as open minded as I feel that I am, I found myself horrified through most of this book. I’ve read about abuse, neglect, addictions, ect. But the author went a step further with this one'. This reaction shows a certain lack of professionalism and exposes the critique as being possibly less serious. It is however clearly very honest. It shows how, to many people, the way Precious was treated outshines the meanings behind the portrayal of abuse. This could suggest a flaw in Sapphire's writing. Lisa from the BookBook link however looks at the situation of abuse in a far more deconstructive way. She explains how 'The protagonist in Push and both of her children, the products of incestuous rape are completely unequipped to function as productive and self-supporting members of society, through no fault of their own. Some of us believe that our society owes something to these children.' This more literary and socially conscious approach reaches the deeper meanings in the abuse as opposed to the almost childish response given by Lana.
They way in which they response to the book as a whole is explored by both reviews. Lisa's review presents a balanced response to Push, looking at how people might interpret the story positively and negatively, which is unsurprising as the evidence so far has shown that it is a more esteemed, less opinion based source. The balanced nature of the review is evident when we consider how Lisa explains that on one hand 'The story represents the truth of thousands of people of all races', but is also 'an uncomfortable, painful reading experience.' This references the compromise you have to make with the difficult language at hand in Push. If this is achieved however, Lisa reveals that the power of the themes is distinguishable. Despite the relaxed, arguably unprofessional nature of Lana's critique, the final section actually does draw resemblances to Lisa's review, and shows an awareness of the wider issues in Push. She explains how 'In summary, I believe Sapphire chose the dark theme of this book to give us a glimpse into a world unknown to most, yet does exist in our society'. This highlights, like in the other review, how the book has real social awareness, revealing the plights facing African-Americans in the 1980s.
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Who are they and what are the problems?
See you Monday,
This website; http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/immigrant-justice is seen to be pro immigration. The organisation is set up with the aim in ‘fighting hate and bigotry, and to seek justice for the most vulnerable members of society.’ The southern poverty law centre track the activities of hate groups and act against them, for the injustice of those victimized. One of their top priorities is ‘immigrant justice’ not only are they working against the immigrant inequality in the work place, their ‘intelligence report’http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2007/winter/immigration-backlash highlights the ‘hate crimes against latinos.’ They go on to explain that ’immigration is growing uglier by the day.’ Immigrants from Mexico and Central America are been perceived as "invaders," "criminal aliens" and "cockroaches." The level of extremity towards them has increased as it is no longer just ‘hard-core white supremacists and a handful of border-state extremists’ that are acting and in some cases causing bloodshed, but many ‘supposedly mainstream anti-immigration activists, radio hosts and politicians,’ have joined in. The website offers examples of when immigrants have been unfairly treated, although some of the cases have been resolved and the attackers have been dealt with, many cases go without notice and immigrants cases never get sent to court.
The website offers a ‘stand strong against hate’ map http://www.splcenter.org/get-involved/stand-strong-against-hate this allowing people to show their support for immigrants. The map however also shows ‘hate groups’ the map offers a visual representation of their idea that ‘As the ranks of hate swell, people of goodwill must stand up and be counted’
http://www.fairus.org/site/PageNavigator/about.html This second website is very anti immigration. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) their purpose is to try and reform immigration policies’ as a case of ‘the national interest.’ The websites aim is to make people aware of the figures of immigration and to discourage it. The website is able to gain a sense of closeness to the person who reads it by putting them in the situation, as the heading ‘immigration in your backyard’ suggests that they are being personally effect by the growing immigration levels.
FAIR don’t out rightly state that they don’t want immigration, but they do however put it in terms that reform policies are need as a national necessity. The website covers all aspects of immigration, in looking at the section regarding border patrol;http://www.fairus.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=16671&security=1601&news_iv_ctrl=1007 there use of the word alien to describe people who cross the border, enhance the idea that these people are unwanted to America.
The organisations aims are not however just to cut illegal immigration, but to discourage immigration as a whole. They state in ‘Our Principles’ that they aim to set the ‘lowest feasible levels consistent with the national security, economic, demographic, environmental and socio-cultural interests of the present and future.’ Despite them not saying they want to eradicate immigration the information that they give on their website is that the ‘economic, demographic, environmental and socio-cultural interests of the present and future,’ are already at a high so therefore immigration for them is not an option.
Saturday, 4 February 2012
Friday, 3 February 2012
Alterna, set up in 2006, is a Christian non-governmental organization that works with people who cross the borders into America: “…is an experiment in Christian missional living, welcoming the stranger and offering hospitality to Jesus who often visits us as an unauthorized immigrant from Latin America.” Their slogan is: “Love Crosses Borders”. They are based in the state of Georgia and are in correspondence with Guatemala.
Alterna enforces the idea of immigration and heavily supports (almost to the point of promoting) immigration particularly amongst illegal immigrants; “…relocation means living a life of simplicity and solidarity with migrants particularly undocumented…” and by their speaking in both English and Spanish they are welcoming to Latino immigrants from Latin America. Their Christian message also acts as their reasoning to want to help Latino immigrants.
MinutemenHQ, first made famous by Shawna Forde (after the murders of Raul and Brisenia Flores) act as the “National Citizens Neighbourhood Watch- Securing the American Border” and their mission is to: “secure United States borders and coastal boundaries against unlawful and unauthorised entry of all individuals, contraband and foreign military”. In the top left hand corner there is a picture of a man with binoculars, and this reiterates their message of acting as a kind of neighbourhood watch.
Whilst Alterna acts to welcome Latino immigration, MinutemenHQ are strongly against it and portray immigrants as dangerous. This is enforced by the counter on the side which estimates the number of “illegal aliens”. As well as this, there is a picture of someone’s eye (representing America) and two flags which look to represent tears, showing that Latino immigration is not good for America. Further down the page, the use of words such as “brutal”, “armed illegals” and “launched Mexico-style attacks” implies to how dangerous immigrants are to America. These particular words spread panic and fear amongst locals, and so encourages people to be against Latino immigration as they think they could be subject to violence. This is very different to the message of love that Alterna tries to promote.
MinutemenHQ think that a majority of people in America agree with their argument and in their “about us” section they write: “You are reading this because you believe that you can actively participate in one of the most important […] movements for justice since the civil rights movement of the 1960s”. I think that the fact they can compare Latino immigration to the civil rights movement (one of the most prolific times in American history) shows just how severe they feel the situation is, and at the same time showing their insensitivity to what happened all those years ago. They go on to almost force the reader to join their cause by using words like “you are considering joining” and “you feel your government owes the citizens of the United States protection from people who wish to take advantage of a free society”; in some way brainwashing Americans to follow them [MinutemenHQ].
The most obvious between Alterna and MinutemenHQ is how they set up their message and present it to the world and other Americans. Whereas Alterna is welcoming, using easy font, large lettering, warm welcoming colours and personal photos, and an easily navigated website; MinutemenHQ’s website appears cold, distant, unwelcoming, very factual based with their news headlines, small fonts and lack of pictures. Even from these different set ups, it can be seen how each side perceive Latino immigrations.