Monday, April 14, 2008

Media Responses

Media Responses

Imaginary Homes, Imaginary Ethnic Elsewheres

Inland Empire, "The Imperial Accent"

The Shiftless Body

"Chicanos Love Morrisey"

Typecast and Straightjacketed

¡Viva Hollywood!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cuban American Cultural Memory

Adaptation of Oscar Hijuelo's, Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love (1990)


Campaña Internacional "Cubanos Balseros Desaparecidos"

Monday, March 31, 2008


José Antonio Gutierrez

Information provided by:

Myth: Immigrants don’t pay taxes

Fact: Immigrants pay taxes, in the form of income, property, sales, and taxes at the federal and state level. As far as income tax payments go, sources vary in their accounts, but a range of studies find that immigrants pay between $90 and $140 billion a year in federal, state, and local taxes. Undocumented immigrants pay income taxes as well, as evidenced by the Social Security Administration’s “suspense file” (taxes that cannot be matched to workers’ names and social security numbers), which grew by $20 billion between 1990 and 1998. Source

Myth: Immigrants come here to take welfare

Fact: Immigrants come to work and reunite with family members. Immigrant labor force participation is consistently higher than native-born, and immigrant workers make up a larger share of the U.S. labor force (12.4%) than they do the U.S. population (11.5%). Moreover, the ratio between immigrant use of public benefits and the amount of taxes they pay is consistently favorable to the U.S. In one estimate, immigrants earn about $240 billion a year, pay about $90 billion a year in taxes, and use about $5 billion in public benefits. In another cut of the data, immigrant tax payments total $20 to $30 billion more than the amount of government services they use. Source: “Questioning Immigration Policy – Can We Afford to Open Our Arms?”, Friends Committee on National Legislation Document #G-606-DOM

Myth: Immigrants send all their money back to their home countries

Fact: In addition to the consumer spending of immigrant households, immigrants and their businesses contribute $162 billion in tax revenue to U.S. federal, state, and local governments. While it is true that immigrants remit billions of dollars a year to their home countries, this is one of the most targeted and effective forms of direct foreign investment. Source

Myth: Immigrants take jobs and opportunity away from Americans

Fact: The largest wave of immigration to the U.S. since the early 1900s coincided with our lowest national unemployment rate and fastest economic growth. Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs for U.S. and foreign workers, and foreign-born students allow many U.S. graduate programs to keep their doors open. While there has been no comprehensive study done of immigrant-owned businesses, we have countless examples: in Silicon Valley, companies begun by Chinese and Indian immigrants generated more than $19.5 billion in sales and nearly 73,000 jobs in 2000. (Source: Richard Vedder, Lowell Gallaway, and Stephen Moore, Immigration and Unemployment: New Evidence, Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, Arlington, VA (Mar. 1994), p. 13.

Myth: Immigrants are a drain on the U.S. economy

Fact: During the 1990s, half of all new workers were foreign-born, filling gaps left by native-born workers in both the high- and low-skill ends of the spectrum. Immigrants fill jobs in key sectors, start their own businesses, and contribute to a thriving economy. The net benefit of immigration to the U.S. is nearly $10 billion annually. As Alan Greenspan points out, 70% of immigrants arrive in prime working age. That means we haven’t spent a penny on their education, yet they are transplanted into our workforce and will contribute $500 billion toward our social security system over the next 20 years. Source

Myth: Immigrants don’t want to learn English or become Americans

Fact: Within ten years of arrival, more than 75% of immigrants speak English well; moreover, demand for English classes at the adult level far exceeds supply. Greater than 33% of immigrants are naturalized citizens; given increased immigration in the 1990s, this figure will rise as more legal permanent residents become eligible for naturalization in the coming years. The number of immigrants naturalizing spiked sharply after two events: enactment of immigration and welfare reform laws in 1996, and the terrorist attacks in 2001. Source

Myth: Today’s immigrants are different than those of 100 years ago

Fact: The percentage of the U.S. population that is foreign-born now stands at 11.5%; in the early 20th century it was approximately 15%. Similar to accusations about today’s immigrants, those of 100 years ago initially often settled in mono-ethnic neighborhoods, spoke their native languages, and built up newspapers and businesses that catered to their fellow émigrés. They also experienced the same types of discrimination that today’s immigrants face, and integrated within American culture at a similar rate. If we view history objectively, we remember that every new wave of immigrants has been met with suspicion and doubt and yet, ultimately, every past wave of immigrants has been vindicated and saluted. Source

Myth: Most immigrants cross the border illegally

Fact: Around 75% of today’s immigrants have legal permanent (immigrant) visas; of the 25% that are undocumented, 40% overstayed temporary (non-immigrant) visas. Source

Myth: Weak U.S. border enforcement has lead to high undocumented immigration

Fact: From 1986 to 1998, the Border Patrol’s budget increased six-fold and the number of agents stationed on our southwest border doubled to 8,500. The Border Patrol also toughened its enforcement strategy, heavily fortifying typical urban entry points and pushing migrants into dangerous desert areas, in hopes of deterring crossings. Instead, the undocumented immigrant population doubled in that timeframe, to 8 million—despite the legalization of nearly 3 million immigrants after the enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986. Insufficient legal avenues for immigrants to enter the U.S., compared with the number of jobs in need of workers, has significantly contributed to this current conundrum. Source

Myth: The war on terrorism can be won through immigration restrictions

Fact: No security expert since September 11th, 2001 has said that restrictive immigration measures would have prevented the terrorist attacks—instead, the key is effective use of good intelligence. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were here on legal visas. Since 9/11, the myriad of measures targeting immigrants in the name of national security have netted no terrorism prosecutions. In fact, several of these measures could have the opposite effect and actually make us less safe, as targeted communities of immigrants are afraid to come forward with information. Source:Associated Press/Dow Jones Newswires, US Senate Subcommittee Hears Immigration Testimony, Oct. 17, 2001.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Apropos of of our class discussion today...


Lou Dobbs attributes pseudo-rise in leprosy (Hansen's Disease) to immigration. His "source," Madeline Cosman, can be seen below.

Lou Dobbs "source" on health source and immigration said, as quoted on Lou Dobbs' show:

This is Madeline Cosman, Dobbs' source. Yes, source, Did you get that?:

Sunday, March 2, 2008

4 March: John Rechy, City of Night

Pre-discussion Activities
I. Rechy Reviews

David Leavitt reviews John Rechy's biography, About My Life and the Kept Woman, in today's NYT's Sunday Book Review.

In preparation for our discussion and analysis of Rechy's City of Night, read Leavitt's piece and suggest some reasons for the elision of both Latino literary history in the review, as well as the queer history it occludes even as Leavitt's own literary trajectory inheres to this history.

This is the site Leavitt refers to in his review: Leavitt's own page can be found on the University of Florida's English Department site.

The Los Angeles Times also reviewed About My Life and the Kept Woman.

II. Performances of Essentialized Latino Gender Scripts
Today we'll study some popularized public sphere renditions of Latino sexualities. To what extent are essentialized gender roles deconstructed as much as they are reinscribed in John Leguizamo's performances?

III. City of Night as Postmodern Picaresque
Prototype: Anonymous, Vida del Lazarillo de Tormes y de sus fortunas y adversidades (1554)

Characteristics of the traditional picaresque novel:

1. Subaltern status. The protagonist is poor, hungry, and the child of "dishonorable" parents.

2. Origins. The narrative is structured as a pseudo-autobiography that begins with a story of origins.

3. Determinism. The pícaro, or rogue, attempts to better his or her lot through the agencies of others but always fails.

4. Moralistic. All picaresque novels tell of “aberrant” behavior that is punished one way or another.

5. Social critique. Society is criticized. The pícaro is privileged spectator of social hypocrisy.

6. Realism. Describes "grimy" facets of life in detail.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tomás Rivera, ...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him...

I. Antecedents

José Antonio Villarreal, Pocho (1959)

José Antonio Villareal’s novel Pocho: A Novel About a Young Mexican American Coming of Age in California (1959) was considered to be the first Latino novel published in English prior to the archival work undertaken by Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita.

II. Tomás Rivera (1935—1984)

...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him (1971)

III. Literary history and Earth

a. Truncated Comparisons
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (1930)
Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo (1944)

B. Intertext
Nellie Campobello, Cartucho (1931)


The Short Life of José Antonio Gutierrez

Monday, February 18, 2008

Habeas Corpus: The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez

Habeas Corpus

If lynching was the sanctioned extra-juridical means through which to contain socio-racial difference in the U.S. West (Gonzales-Day), then the institutionalization of law as a category of protection bears it traces. We will study this heuristic proposition and the traces of lynching in "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez" (both the corrido, or border ballad, and the movie), the trial documents, the attempted lynching of Cortez, as well as in the various technologies of recordation that have sought to contain the memory of the law on his literal and social body.

It would be useful to review Américo Paredes' "With His Pistol In His Hand": A Border Ballad and Its Hero. Other items of note include samples of corridos.

Bill for prosecution of Gregorio Cortez

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez
(1982), dir. Robert M. Young

Edward James Olmos / Gregorio Cortez

James Gammon / Sheriff Frank Fly

Tom Bower / Boone Choate

Bruce McGill / Reporter Blakely

Brion James / Captain Rogers

Alan Vint / Mike Trimmell

Timothy Scott / Sheriff Morris

Pepe Serna / Romaldo Cortez

Michael McGuire / Sheriff Glover

William Sanderson / Cowboy

Barry Corbin / Abernathy

Jack Kehoe / Prosecutor Pferson

Rosanna DeSoto / Carlota Muñoz

Buddy Vigil / Skin

Zach Porter / Fly's Posse