Sunday, May 20, 2012

Shut the gate once you get in (@ Peril Magazine)

Got another post up at Peril, the Asian-Australian arts and culture magazine. It's about how the being a migrant, or the descendant of migrants, doesn't necessarily give you much empathy for new migrants.

Today, manufacturing is in decline, and there are less jobs around that unskilled refugees can easily do. The Australian workforce is becoming increasingly white-collar, and increasingly reliant on technology. This is a disadvantage for someone who struggles with English or is a latecomer to the use of computers. So the Italians and Yugoslavs and Greeks who arrived 60 years ago didn’t necessarily face the same obstacles to success that new arrivals from Myanmar, Afghanistan or Sudan might face today. 

Check it here.


  1. Well ES, I think that for the purpose of this post, it is important to distinguish between ethnic minorities and visible racial minorities.

    Whether we're talking about Australia, the U.S, etc, I always hear people arguing (in response to fear/uneasiness among white people about more recent non-white immigrants) that, "oh, the anti-immigration restrictionists said the exact same thing about the Italians and Irish at one point, and yet they both have been successfully integrated over time. The immigration restrictionists were wrong and paranoid then, and they are today."

    But the thing is, different European ethnic groups can be assimilated over time, to the point that in a generation or two, they're hardly distinguishable from an anglo/WASP. My own ethnic Greek relatives are living proof of this.

    However, visible racial minorities (ie. non-whites), will always stand out, and as a result never be able to truly fit in/assimilate. So in my opinion, trying to compare the immigration of white ethnics to that of non-white racial groups is comparing apples to oranges.

    Oh, and good point about certain groups (such as Asians), not having a ton of sympathy for the newest arrival of immigrants. At least based on my experience, I've gathered that your average Asian American (most of whom tend to be 2nd or 1st generation) doesn't have a ton of sympathy for illegal immigrants from Mexico.

    Perhaps it says something about human nature. Once people get in and get theirs, to hell with the rest. Future arrivals just become potential competition. And, of course, innate tribalism and xenophobia will always kick in.

    1. That's true to a point Bay Area Guy, but I question the emphasis on physical appearance. While that does have an impact on the level of racism experienced by a particular group, I think that culture is more important in determining how well a group will fit in.
      For example: Indians (including Indian Muslims) have arguably integrated better than Pakistanis in Western countries where they have settled. In Netherlands, it would seem that the Surinamese and Indonesians have integrated better than the Moroccans, even though the Moroccans look much more similar to the native Dutch and are less likely to stand out as different (based purely on physical appearance).

    2. I definitely do not deny the impact that culture has. Phenotype isn't the reason that Iraqi men in Finland are responsible for 5% of rapes. Phenotype isn't responsible for the "loverboy" phenomenon in the Netherlands.

      Culture definitely has an impact, but I think that immigration policy also plays a key role.

      For example, Muslim Americans tend to be highly educated and professionally successful. Even though they continue to be viewed with suspicion and distrust, if not downright hostility, they're generally well integrated on a socioeconomic level. They also tend to be very well behaved.

      Muslims in Europe, on the other hand, tend to be much poorer, less educated, and are disproportionately responsible for rapes and other crimes.

      What accounts for this discrepancy? While U.S. immigration policies tend to favor legal immigrants with money and education, and thus most immigrants from the 3rd world to the States are highly selected, Muslim immigrants in Europe (ie. Pakistanis in Britain) tend to come straight from the slums of Karachi.

      As you pointed out in Brown Pundits , the "barbarian norms" that you see among many Muslims in Europe tend to be more prevalent among the lower classes throughout Asia and the Middle East, and immigrants to Europe tend to be more of a random sampling of those countries. Many of these countries are poor, and frankly, backward.