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Race and Ethnicity

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Leslie Kantor

on 8 November 2014

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Transcript of Race and Ethnicity

Race and Ethnicity
Race vs. Ethnicity
Latino/a, Hispanic, Chicano/a: Terminology Debate
The term "Latino" is generally used to denote a cultural or ethnic group, not a racial category, that reflects Latin American origin. Not all Latinos/as share the same language, citizenship or experience.
"Terminology which historians have utilized for Hispanic Americans is not merely a question of syntax, but also a micro-history in itself as historians and Hispanics have negotiated how they will be represented and who will represent them. Each term has posed issues of political and ethnic identity often leaving the scholar, the U.S. Government, and Hispanic Americans themselves dissatisfied. In this essay, I utilize the more inclusive terms "Latino," and "Hispanic American," although among some groups, particularly Mexican Americans, "Hispanic" connotes elitism. Many Mexican Americans prefer "Chicano/a," a term developed during the Mexican American Civil Rights era." (MacDonald, 2001)
"The classification of "Hispanic" or "Latino" itself is new, an instance of a pan-ethnic category created by law decades ago. But the groups subsumed under that label-Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Peruvians, Ecuadorians, and the other dozen nationalities from Latin America and even Spain itself-were not "Hispanic" or "Latinos" in their countries of origin; rather, they only became so in the United States. That catchall label has a particular meaning only in the U.S. context in which it was constructed and is applied, and where its meaning continues to evolve." (Rumbaut, 2009)
"Although a single label implies otherwise, "Hispanics" or "Latinos" are not a homogenous entity, and should not be presumed to be so." (Rumbaut, 2009)
While the presented task is to examine the experience of Latinos/as in the United States, the following data should be analyzed with the understanding that "Latino" is a category defined within a white racial frame that conceals the enormous diversity of immigrants from Latin America.
American Indians and Alaska Natives

Also known as: Native Americans, First Nations people
blood degree from and is recognized as such by a federally recognized tribe or village (as an enrolled tribal member) and/or the United States.
person’s knowledge of his or her tribe’s culture, history, language, religion, familial kinships, and how strongly a person identifies himself or herself as American Indian or Alaska Native. (United States Bureau of Indian Affairs)
Social Location

Marginalization and Oppression Today
Social Location
53 million Latinos in the U.S. = fastest growing ethnic group, 17% of the total population, and 20% of targeted marketing demographic (18-34 years old)
In 2013, none of the top ten movies and scripted network TV shows featured Latino lead actors
From 2012 to 2013, 17.7% of Latino film characters and 24.2% of TV characters were linked to crime
Currently 36.6% of Latino TV characters are in law enforcement
69% of iconic media maids in film and TV since 1996 are Latina
Stories about Latinos = less than 1% of news media coverage, and the majority of these stories feature Latinos as lawbreakers
Latinos attend more movies and listen to radio more frequently than do any other U.S. ethnic group
Oppression, Discrimination, and Relevant Social Problems
The poverty rate of the Latino population (26%) is significantly higher than the overall rate in the U.S. (16%).
Latinos are more likely to lack health insurance than any other ethnic or racial group.
Only 46% of the Latino population own their homes, compared to 72% of white Americans.
Latinos are targeted by police entities, suffering harassment, humiliation, intimidation, as well as unlawful searches, detentions and arrests (e.g. the FBI investigation of the East Haven Police Department in 2013: http://www.fbi.gov/newyork/press-releases/2013/east-haven-police-officers-found-guilty-of-federal-civil-rights-offenses).
Latinos earn $240 billion per year, pay $90 billion in taxes, but only receive $5 billion in public benefits.
In 2012, 59.4% of "ethnic" hate crimes were targeted at Latinos. The FBI hate crime statistics were separated into "racial" and "ethnic" categories. Latinos were not included in the racial statistics with black, white, and Asian/Pacific Islander groups.
Social Location
The image of all Middle Eastern peoples as terrorists is pervasive in the media and popular culture.

The most recent arrivals of Arab American immigrants tend to be educated and professional (Nobles, Sciara 2000).

Despite economic and educational success, Arab Americans are largely unknown by the dominant culture and are seen as stereotypes.
Oppression and Social Problems
Middle Eastern/Arab Americans
"The Arab population, which numbered over 1 million in 2000, increased by nearly 40 percent during the 1990s...People of Lebanese, Syrian, and Egyptian ancestry accounted for about three-fifths of the Arab population." (de la Cruz, Brittigham 2003).
Race is...
denotes a group of people
who perceive themselves and are perceived by others
as possessing distinctive hereditary traits.” (Ore, 2011)
Ethnicity is...
denotes a group of people
who perceive themselves and are perceived by others
as sharing cultural traits such as language, religion, family customs, and food preferences." (Ore, 2011)
“If our statuses are devalued, the result is
, defined in Part I as a relationship of domination and subordination in which the dominant group benefits from the
abuse, exploitation, and injustice directed
at a subordinate group. Oppression occurs in three forms:
institutionalized oppression
-that which is built into, supported by, and perpetuated by social institutions;
interpersonal oppression
-that which is manifested between individuals; and
internalized oppression
-that which is directed at oneself.” (Ore, 2011)
Racial and Ethnic Oppression
“Historically, race has been the most visible and dramatic source of difference, inequality, and oppression in the United States. Indeed, not only was “the problem of the color line” (Du Bois 1903/1969) the quintessential problem of the twentieth century, but some have argued that the color line and racism continue to be a major social issue in the twenty-first century (Feagin, 2000)" (Marsiglia, 2009)
Harlem Peace March to End Racial Oppression (1967)
"To label unjust ideas and actions, many of us usually think in terms of
-a negative attitude toward members of a group or social category-and
-the unequal treatment of people determined by their membership in a group. However, these concepts do not acknowledge the ways in which inequality is institutionalized." (Ore, 2011)
Racial and Ethnic Discrimination
"Racism is part of our institutional structure, not simply the product of individual actions...Furthermore, to fully understand racism we need to see how white people in the United States benefit from institutionalized racism regardless of their own individual actions." (Ore, 2011)

Power and Privilege
"Privilege is the sum of the unearned advantages of special group membership." (Marsiglia, 2009)

“When our statuses are defined as having value within the social structure, we experience privilege-a set of (not necessarily) earned rights or assets belonging to a certain status." (Ore, 2011)
Racial and Ethnic Power and Privilege
"White people benefit from institutional and individual manifestations of racism, however indirectly or unintentionally, and this creates a dilemma for fair-minded White folks." (Zetzer, 2005)
African Americans
"Like other aspects of identity, privilege is not a binary concept. The multiple intersecting identities held by each individual carry more or less privilege." (Marsiglia, 2015)
Language as Symbolic Violence
Strengths and Resiliency
“[In the 60s] People asked me, what are you, are you a hippie? And I said no, I’m an Indian, what’s a hippie?” (Reel Injun)

(Negrón-Muntaner, Abbas, Figueroa, & Robson, 2014)
Dunham, 2007
(Skip to one minute into
the video)
(Negrón-Muntaner, Abbas, Figueroa, & Robson, 2014)
Halloween Costumes
Campaigns for English as the exclusive official governmental language
Employers, with court support, create English-only workplaces
Public schools restrict bilingual education in CA and AZ, and even limit the rights of students to speak Spanish in the halls and on the playgrounds
Frida Kahlo de Rivera
"... Oppression can be defined as a situation in which one, or more, identifiable segments of the population in a social system systematically and successfully act over a prolonged period of time to prevent another identifiable segement of the population from attaining access to the scarce and valued resources of that system." (Turner, 1984)
In a "white society", it would be hard not to notice "blacks" as distinctive... (Turner, 1984)
When we categorize race, we base it on what we see. Historically and culturally, this would mean that we would use the noun "black" or "colored." Both these terms have had a negative connotation. In the 1980's, "African American" became popular as a more politically correct term. However, this term also creates conflict as it only truly specifies people descended from Africa, and not those in the Caribbean or other locations. So, there is not one unified answer about the right "term" to describe this complex population. (Byers, 2013) (Turner, 1984)
Misconceptions: most immigrants are undocumented, public benefit programs are available to and widely used by Latino immigrants, and the U.S. welfare system is attracting a greater influx of immigrants.
Militarization of the border causes potential human rights violations and creates an attitude that violence against its target populations is acceptable.
Arizona SB 1070: Criminalization of ethnic identity, police enforcement, criminal approaches to apprehension, detention, and deportation, and evocation national security as a justification for aggressive policy enforcement leading to racist hysteria.
African American or Black?
The Social Location of African Americans
"Instead, they [these initiatives] are shaped almost entirely by racist hysteria over an imagined influence of populations whose heritage language is Spanish." (Hill, 2009)
When white Americans are not restricting the use of Spanish in official capacities, they are appropriating the language in the form of "Mock Spanish."
Median household income is lower among Latinos ($39,000) as compared to the U.S. overall ($50,000) (Motel & Patten, 2013)
"According to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, safety in the workplace is a basic human right. However, the state of fear created by these "convenient economic deportations" has left undocumented workers without the protection of this basic human right. A 2004 report by the Associated Press revealed that 80% of Mexicans were more likely to die on the job than were U.S. citizens." (León & Ortega, 2011)
These numbers may be low as some estimate the actual number to be closer to 3.6 million. The Census Bureau questionnaires are somewhat limiting in their categories (Lo Wang 2013).
According to the 2010 Census Bureau data, “Black or African American” refers to a person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. The Black racial category includes people who marked the “Black, African Am., or Negro” checkbox. It also includes respondents who reported entries such as African American; Sub-Saharan African entries, such as Kenyan and Nigerian; and Afro-Caribbean entries, such as Haitian and Jamaican.
In 2013, African Americans made up about 13% of the total United States population.

The 2013 poverty rate for African Americans was 27.2%, while the national poverty rate was 14.5%.

In 2010, 82% of African Americans aged 25 or older had a high school diploma, while 18% had a bachelor's degree or higher.

The Black population grew 64% faster than the rest of the country since 2010, amassing a total of 43 million people; this includes individuals who are Black and another race.
Media Portrayals
In 2013, black characters represented about 14% of those in the top grossing films. However, 17% of the films examined in the study did not have a single black speaking role. (Washington, 2014)

In 2010, only 61% of African American television characters were in main roles. African American (9%) characters were portrayed as immoral compared to white (2%) characters. (Monk-Turner, 2010)

Often in fictional media, African Americans are often portrayed within law enforcement or criminal activity. (Isaacs, 2010)

In 2008, 80% of NBA players were black, while 67% of NFL players were black. (Fulwood, 2013)
In the News...
Oppression and Social Problems
History of African American Oppression
Education Gap
Racism Persists...
Strengths & Resiliency
Frank A. Rinehart, a commercial photographer in Omaha, Nebraska, was commissioned to photograph the 1898 Indian Congress, part of the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition.
(Census Bureau, 2010)
(Census Bureau Data, 2010, 2013)
Demographics from the National Conference of American Indians:
2.9 million full blooded native residents in the United States
5.2 million, in combination with other races
States with the highest proportion of American Indians and Alaska Natives: Alaska (19.5%), Oklahoma (12.9%), New Mexico (10.7%).
States with the highest proportion: Alaska (19.5%), Oklahoma (12.9%), New Mexico (10.7%).

Federally recognized tribes: government-to-government relationship with the United States, with the responsibilities, powers, limitations, and obligations attached to that designation, and is eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
there are 566 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages.
possess certain inherent rights of self-government (i.e., tribal sovereignty) and are entitled to receive certain federal benefits, services, and protections (Information from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs)

Adaptation of Native American "fashion":
"The wearing of feathers and warbonnets in Native communities is not a fashion choice. Eagle feathers are presented as symbols of honor and respect and have to be earned." (http://nativeappropriations.com)
In the news...
Renaming The Redskins:
Headdress as "fashion"
A second reason for limited identification of Arab Americans is the fear of discrimination (Kakoti 2012).
Media Portrayals

Trailer for documentary
Reel Injun
. The whole movie can be seen on Netflix and is highly recommended!
Peter Pan
: "What Makes the Red Man Red"
America as a nation has historically oppressed and marginalized African Americans. Starting in 1619, thousands of Africans were brought to America via the slave trade. This was allowed as the "world" practiced English ethnocentrism, and viewed African culture uncivilized. The use of racial slavery shaped America's early economy. Eventually, abolitionists argued in favor of slave emancipation. However, these abolitionists rarely challenged the assumption of "black inferiority." Despite this, the Civil War concluded with the demise of slavery. (Turner, 1984)
The Start of Slavery
Jim Crow Laws
The Civil Rights Era
After the Civil War ended, African Americans finally gained citizenship and the right to vote in 1868 and 1870, respectively. However, in 1876 the first Jim Crow laws were created. These were racial segregation laws that implemented the idea of "separate but equal" throughout the structure of the U.S. The case of
Plesssy v. Ferguson
(1896) reached the Supreme Court, who legally declared segregation constitutional. Finally, in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was inherently unconstitutional via
Brown v. The Board of Education
. (Turner, 1984)
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed, prohibiting discrimination.
However, this did not mean equality in reality...
more likely to abuse drugs, and more likely to engage in crime than are Whites. Blacks are almost 7 times more likely to be incarcerated than are Whites. (Welch, 2007) Due to this, African Americans have generally unfavorable views of the police, and in one study, 64% of African Americans perceived a racial profiling issue in their neighborhoods. (Yu, 2013)
African Americans, especially young black men, are consistently stereotyped as criminals. (Welch, 2007) In 2012, there were 2,640,067 arrests of African Americans made of all crimes, only 28% of the total. (FBI, 2012) However, Blacks are more likely
“We’re not Indians and we’re not Native Americans. We’re older than both concepts. We’re the people, we’re the human beings.” -John Trudell, poet, recording artist, actor and activist. Quoted from documentary
Reel Injun
“I remember once we were on a set, the director said ‘I want a real native, upfront. I want to see the real thing.’ We couldn’t find one!” -Clint Eastwood, actor
"'Why does he ask you, "How?"
Once the Injun didn't know
All the things that he know now
But the Injun, he sure learn a lot
And it's all from asking, "How?'"
History of Oppression
"Many thousands of years before Christopher Columbus’ ships landed in the Bahamas, a different group of people discovered America: the nomadic ancestors of modern Native Americans who hiked over a “land bridge” from Asia to what is now Alaska more than 12,000 years ago. In fact, by the time European adventurers arrived in the 15th century A.D., scholars estimate that more than 50 million people were already living in the Americas. Of these, some 10 million lived in the area that would become the United States." (History.com)
Trail of Tears
Assimilation and Boarding Schools: The Civilized vs. The "Uncivilized"
63.8% of Latinos are citizens by birth and 11.1% of Latinos are citizens by naturalization. Only 25.1% of Latinos in the U.S. are not citizens.
Only an estimated 17.5% of Latino residents in the U.S. are undocumented.
(Kilty & Vidal de Haymes, 2000), (Motel & Patten, 2013) & (Provine & Sanchez, 2011)
(Motel & Patten, 2013) & (León & Ortega, 2011)
than other racial or ethnic groups to be characterized by Whites as violent,
Blacks and Latinos are more likely than whites to appear as lawbreakers in news—particularly when the news is focusing on violent crime. Blacks and Latinos are more likely to appear as perpetrators than victims. Blacks are overrepresented as perpetrators of violent crime when news coverage is compared with arrest rates. (Entman & Gross, 2008)
Many are worried that fathers, sons, brothers and husbands may one day be murdered by police officers convinced of racist stereotypes. A constant
"The issue of racism in America continues to be
an important topic, particularly in reference to whether
and to what extent it still exists and continues to impact the life chances of racial and ethnic minorities." (Warren, 2013)
Warren, 2013
The Poverty Gap
condition of stress enabled by inescapable racism significantly impacts African-American quality of life. The resultant health risks for African-Americans is an abnormally high measure of blood pressure defined by medical research as hypertension.Health care professionals have established the fact that African-Americans live shorter lives than Euro-Americans and are more likely to encounter significant health risks. (Hall, 2002)
On April 10, 2006, an estimated 1.3 million documented, undocumented, Latino, and non-Latino people marched in at least 9 cities nationwide for immigrants' rights. Latino communities mostly self organized this gargantuan feat, with the help of social media and cellular texting, demonstrating an incredibly powerful statement of solidarity, connectivity, and activism.
In a study examining risk and resiliency factors for drug use in Latino/a youth,
was identified as the most important protective factor. Generally speaking, stronger family pride, mutual familial trust, increased likelihood of families settling near each other, more attention by a greater number of caring adults for children, norms of parental monitoring and involvement with children and cohesion are more common in Latino families than in their white counterparts. If family is one of the most vital cultural values for Latinos, the devastating effect of deportation and family separation undermines and destroys a significant Latino resiliency factor.
Religion is sometimes cited as another strong resiliency factor for Latinos because Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism, has a strong historical link to the cultural heritage of Latin America. While religion may not be as relevant in today's society, particularly for younger generations, the communities established as a result of church presence can still play a role in connecting families and providing resources.
April 10, 2006
21.9% of Latinos have less than a 9th grade level education. That percentage is higher than any other major ethnic group represented in the Pew study (White: 2.8%; Black: 4.9%; Asian: 8.7%)
26.9% of Latinos have a High School Diploma or equivalent
13.4% of Latinos are college graduates. That percentage is the lowest of all major ethnic groups represented in the Pew study (White: 31.8%; Black:18.7%; Asian: 50.3%)
Restrictions on Spanish speaking educators and classrooms, discrimination in schools, and disproportionate levels of poverty impeding the purchase of necessary school supplies are all tools of oppression. Limiting equal access to education is the most insidious and effective method for perpetuating a system of oppression.
(Motel & Patten, 2013)
(León & Ortega, 2011) & (Marsiglia, Miles, Dustman, & Sills, 2008)
Migration from the original Cherokee Nation began in the early 1800’s. Some Cherokees, wary of white encroachment, moved west on their own and settled in other areas of the country. A group known as the Old Settlers previously had voluntarily moved in 1817 to lands given them in Arkansas where they established a government and a peaceful way of life. Later, however, they were forced to migrate to Indian Territory.
An estimated 4,000 died from hunger, exposure and disease. The journey became a cultural memory as the "trail where they cried" for the Cherokees and other removed tribes. Today it is widely remembered by the general public as the "Trail of Tears". The Oklahoma chapter of the Trail of Tears Association has begun the task of marking the graves of Trail survivors with bronze memorials. (Cherokee.org)
Painted by Robert Lindneux, 1942
The Indian boarding school movement began in the post Civil War era when idealistic reformers turned their attention to the plight of Indian people. Whereas before many Americans regarded the native people with either fear or loathing, the reformers believed that with the proper education and treatment Indians could become just like other citizens. They convinced the leaders of Congress that education could change at least some of the Indian population into patriotic and productive members of society.
On average, 5% of white students are suspended, compared to 16% of black students. And black girls are suspended at higher rates (12%) than girls of any other race or ethnicity and most boys. (CRDC, 2014)
Black youth nearing the end of high school, on average, posted slightly lower scores than white 8th graders in both reading and U.S. history, and much lower scores in mathematics and geography. (Hendrie, 2004)
"'This exhibit has contributed much to a solution of the vexed question, "What shall be done with the Indians?" For if not only the Creeks, Choctaws and Cherokees can be tamed and civilized to this degree, but even the savage Modoc, and the fierce Apache, when brought together and held under the civilizing influence of civilizing agencies, have not the friends of humanity gained a powerful argument?'" -Francis Walker, Former commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1876 (Hoxie, pg. 87)

Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students. (CRDC, 2014)
(PEW, 2012)

According to the National Status Completion Rate, AI/AN Students had a 13% Dropout Rate, compared to white students with a 5% Dropout Rate
In 2012, 39% of AI/AN students who started in 2005 as first-time, full-time students at 4-year institutions graduated, compared to 60% of White students. (Knapp, Kelly-Reid, & Ginder, 2012)
Young adults ages 25-34 who had a bachelor's degree or higher in 2010, 12% AI/AN students compared to 37% white students. (Ross, Kena, Rathbun, et al., 2012)
In 2011, 27% of AI/ANs (alone) ages 5 years and older spoke a language other than English at home, compared to 21% for the entire nation. (US Census Bureau, 2012)

In 2011, 68% of the residents of the Navajo Nation Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land, ages 5 years and older spoke a language other than English at home. (US Census Bureau, 2012)
Hypersexualization of African American Women
There are sexual scripts through an analysis of racial/ethnic specific messages about sexuality evident in media forums, namely through rap and hip hop media. These include: the Diva, Gold Digger, and Baby Mama. It was found that female preadolescents can look at pictures of women who represent certain scripts to discuss their understanding of sexuality and expectant behavioral outcomes. (Stephens & Few, 2007)
In 2011, the overall U.S. poverty rate was 15%, while the poverty rate for blacks was 27.6%. Real median household income was $50,054 for all Americans; for blacks it was $32,229.
Black unemployment and income statistics show a negative disparity toward blacks: Both black adults and black teens have higher unemployment rates than whites, and lower family incomes.
In the name of fighting racism and racial inequality, the policies resulted in fewer black workers, fewer blacks in the skilled trades, fewer black business owners, and more poverty for blacks.
(Williamsen, 2013)
Arab Americans immigrated to the United States in three waves. The first began in the late 1800's consisting mainly of Christians. The second in 1948 following the creation of the Israeli state were primarily displaced Muslim professionals. The latest wave began after 1967 and generally consisted of refugee groups. (Kakoti 2012)
A 2008 national survey found that 52 % of respondents believed racism is ‘‘not a major problem.’’Response differed by race, with 61 % of white respondents expressing that belief, compared with 27 % of African Americans. Additionally, 50 % of white respondents perceived African Americans to have ‘‘achieved equality,’’ compared with 11 % of blacks. This is consistent with a societal sentiment, particularly among whites, that race no longer provides a significant barrier to individual achievement.

About one-in-four American Indians and Alaska Natives were living in poverty in 2012. Among those who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native as their only race, the poverty rate was 29.1% in 2012. (PEW, 2012)

In 2012, the median income of AI/AN (alone) households was $35,310, compared to $51,371 for the entire nation. (2012 American Community Survey)

In 2012, 29.1% of AI/ANs (alone) lived in poverty - the highest rate of any race group - compared to 15.9% for the entire nation. (2012 American Community Survey)

In 2011, 33% of AI/AN (alone) students were living below the poverty threshold, compared to 12% of Whites (alone). (Aud, Hussar, Johnson, et al., 2012)

In 2011 among students who took the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test, 72% of AI/AN 4th graders and 66% of AI/AN 8th graders were eligible for the National School Lunch Program (an indicator of family income), compared to 48% and 44%, respectively, for non-AI/AN students. (National Center for Education Statistics, 2012)
(PEW 2012)
Even the President of the United States is targeted with racial stereotyping.
Breakdown of Arab Americans by Self Identified Groups
AI/ANs experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population.
(Arab American Institute 2014)
AI/ANs experience PTSD more than twice as often as the general population.
Although overall suicide rates among AI/ANs are similar to whites, there are
significant differences among certain age groups. Suicide is the second leading
cause of death among AI/AN 10-34 year olds. In contrast, the suicide rate among
AI/ANs more than 75 years old is only one-third of the general population.
Native Americans use and abuse alcohol and other drugs at younger ages, and at higher rates, than all other ethnic groups.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Attainment of legal equal rights (Turner, 1984)
Creation of the NAACP, an African American civil rights organization. (Turner, 1984)
A contributing factor to the resiliency of African Americans is community support. This included churches, community centers, and strong family ties. (Moore & Neal, 2006)
In 2008, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, the first African American to hold office.
Of the 2014 FORBES Celebrity 100 list, the top four celebrities were African American: Beyonce, Lebron James, Dr. Dre, and Oprah. (Forbes, 2014)

"Native American tribes gave up millions of acres to the federal government in the 19th century in exchange for promises of funded health care, education and housing. But time and again, those funds have been cut."

"The recent across-the-board federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, are no exception. They came with a 5 percent reduction in funding for mental health services, including suicide prevention. That's especially troubling for Native Americans, whose suicide rate are four times the national average." (NPR, September 12, 2013)
Data from the American Psychiatric Association, 2014:
Thanksgiving and Columbus Day
"Thanksgiving to the Native American Indians may not mean the same thing that it did to the white settlers in American History. To the Indians, Thanksgiving would mean a totally different thing. This was the beginning of their end - a time where they had given up their land in return for gifts that were full of disease - which would kill many of them later down the road." (www.indians.org/articles/thanksgiving.html)
Native American Day, 1992
Oppression of Women in Middle Eastern Traditional Culture
The idea that all Arab American women are in need of rescue from their husbands, families, religion and culture needs to be re-examined. Each person should be listened to and respected. Dominant culture values ought not to be pressed in every case.

“They were selfish and took everything we had our land, our food, and they poisoned us with small pox. Why do people have to treat Columbus like a god?” said Chuntay Her Many Horses, a pre-law student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “We don’t have our own day and we were here first.”
From Columbus Day protest in Denver on Oct 7:
Examples of Discrimination and Prejudice
While Arab Americans endure stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination for their culture, that culture, including close family connections, ethnic identity history and religious identity are the very things that help them recover from these onslaughts. (Ahmed, Kia-Keating, Tsai 2011)
Williamsen, 2013

The median household income for all households in the United States in 2010 dollars was $51,914, about $4,500 dollars lower than the median household income for Arab households ($56,433).

43% of Americans of Arab descent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 28% of Americans at large.
17% of Arab Americans have a post-graduate degree, which is nearly twice the American average of 10% (Arab American Institute 2014).
Activists Protest Columbus Day Parade in Denver


Nationwide, "half of the Indians on or near reservations now belong to tribes that have opened Las Vegas-style casinos." Many of these are in rural areas and draw from clienteles who drive an hour or so to get to the casino. The casinos have changed the economic climate in and around the reservations. Examining the effects of casinos after at least four years of operation, the authors find that positive changes include: young adults moving back to reservations, fueling an 11.5 percent population increase; adult employment increasing by 26 percent; and a 14 percent decline in the number of working poor. In counties with or near a casino, the employment- to- population ratio has increased and mortality has declined. (The National Bureau of Economic Research)
Arab American Employment
Tribal Governments
Arab Americans may experience oppression and discrimination in many arenas of public life, but they have made significant gains in the realm of income, education and employment.
Tribes, therefore, possess the right to form their own governments; to make and enforce laws, both civil and criminal; to tax; to establish and determine membership (i.e., tribal citizenship); to license and regulate activities within their jurisdiction; to zone; and to exclude persons from tribal lands. (United States Bureau of Indian Affairs)
United States Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is the primary federal agency charged with carrying out the United States’ trust responsibility to American Indian and Alaska Native people, maintaining the federal government-to-government relationship with the federally recognized Indian tribes, and promoting and supporting tribal self-determination. The bureau implements federal laws and policies and administers programs established for American Indians and Alaska Natives under the trust responsibility and the government-to-government relationship.
Hate Crimes
The United States has seen a marked increase in hate crimes post 911, but surprisingly, Islamic peoples are not at the top of list as of 2012. This may change as more terrorist acts are broadcast to the world.
Of the 1,340 victims of an anti-religious hate crime:
◾62.4 percent were victims of an offender’s anti-Jewish bias.
◾11.6 percent were victims of an anti-Islamic bias.
◾7.5 percent were victims of a bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
◾6.4 percent were victims of an anti-Catholic bias.
◾2.6 percent were victims of an anti-Protestant bias.
◾0.9 percent were victims of an anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
◾8.6 percent were victims of a bias against other religions (anti-other religion). (fbi.gov 2012)
Official Status
The lack of recognition as a minority group by the U.S. government has led to scant if any data gathering about the Arab/Middle Eastern Americans and their experiences. Consequently, very little is known about this cultural group (Awad 2010).
In terms of religion, the majority of Arab Americans are Christian and comprise approximately 77% of the Arab American population. Specifically, 42% are Catholic, 23% are Orthodox, and 12% are Protestant. Since the 1950s, Arab Muslims have been the fastest-growing segment of Arab Americans and make up approximately 23% of the Arab American population (Samhan, 2008).
The result of SB 1070 is ethno-racial profiling, hyper-surveillance, abusive stops, problematic searches and unwarranted detention of suspected unauthorized immigrants based solely on appearance.
Lessons Learned...
"Most acts of resistance occur in collaboration with citizen allies. The partnership and presence of citizen allies are key to immigration resistance act, because the presence of citizens creates some safety for immigrants who are continually at risk for deportation, unequal treatment, and physical harm." (León & Ortega, 2011)
Historically, it is easy to see oppression and racism with African Americans. However, with the time and progress that have occurred, it can be surmised that there is still a long way to go. In fact, when searching for strengths and resiliency, everything found was framed in a negative light. It can be easy to forget that African Americans have overcome and thrived a great deal. The difference is that the American public is in denial that any issue still exists. I always think that some of the historical aspect of African American oppression is widely known. Going into more detail and depth allowed me to greater understand the population, not just in terms of history. I think that finding cultural examples of how certain perceptions are prevalent brought a stronger truth to my perceptions of African Americans. To me, the most
Arab American
African Americans
Native Americans
Oppression of the Latino population in the United States is pervasive. Discrimination is even codified into law, as with SB 1070 in Arizona and the criminalization of ethnicity, with the restrictions on Spanish speaking classrooms, and especially with targeted immigration policies. This being said, it is incredibly difficult for me to understand the extent to which the general American population denies racism as the major social issue of our time. The media constantly distracts us from the reality of racism by under and misrepresenting racial and ethnic minorities. This is especially tragic in light of León and Ortega's assertion that awareness and participation of privileged supporters can be critical to the creation of a safe space for oppressed people to challenge the status quo.
The oppression of the Native Americans, or American Indians, was the beginning of the fear of "others" that many people in the United States have inflicted upon minority races in this country for centuries. Even though this land was first occupied by the American Indians and Alaskan Natives, the European settlers did not approve of their "uncivilized" and non-Christian values and thus decided to occupy, exterminate and assimilate the original residents of the land. Unequal rights for other non-white races has continued to plague this country ever since. However, the irony of the continuation of xenophobia and nationalism in this country is that everyone in this country
for the Native Americans were once the "others". This group lives in the most poverty, is the least educated, has the highest suicide rate and still suffers from the oppression their people faced over 500 years ago. The media portrays this group as animals and unsophisticated, fashionistas want to appear carefree and bohemian while wearing ceremonial feathers and headdresses, and football fans like to cheer for a team named after a racial slur. We write history and tell stories on holidays that reflect peaceful dinners and shaking hands between the natives and the settlers instead of the genocide and displacement that actually occurred. How can we possibly expect a group to flourish amongst this constant oppression? Prior to researching this group, I was aware of the rejection and segregation of the native people, however this content, especially regarding current social problems, opened my eyes to how life is still a struggle and made me more aware of how fashion, terminology and fictional characters continue to hurt the spirit of this group.
What is most striking about the existing research on this particular group was the discovery that Arab/Middle Eastern people are not granted legal minority status. While this group has been able to succeed on many fronts, the prejudice and discrimination they face is so intensely vehement. The strength of family and culture stands in stark relief and is such a touchstone of resiliency for this group of Americans. It has sparked an interest in looking to work with this population and perhaps contribute to research.
difficult aspect of my research was the crime, racial profiling, and stereotyping. It felt so targeted and unfair that I had an emotional response to some of the facts. Throughout the research and compilation of information, I went through various stages of discomfort, which reinforced why I chose this population.
Chris Brown in "costume"
Arab American Institute, 2014
Full transcript