The “Border Beat” (July 25, 2008)

The “Border Beat” returns with a sampling of some of the Latino-themed and related stories you might have missed in the past week.

• “U.S. Latinos may get a national museum of their own” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
I first heard of this a few months ago when a friend emailed me news of the composition of the 23-member commission. Experience tells me struggles like these result in watered-down, consensus kinds of histories. Still, it’d be nice, no?

• “AIDS Among Latinos on Rise” (Washington Post)
This is a sad reminder not only of the continuing need for concentrated effort in the fight against AIDS, but also of the ways race/class factors mitigate a person’s exposure to things like prevention education and health care.

• “Jobs For Day Laborers Are Dwindling” (McClatchy Newspapers)
A small report on an increasingly common phenomenon. The lack of employment for entire classes of manual laborers in this recession/depression economy is the easiest way to understand the measurable decrease in immigration.

• “Immigration Stories Told in Quilts” (WBEZ Chicago)
Two musuem stories? I’m feeling cultured my friends! The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago hosts a new exhibit titled A Declaration of Immigration, featuring a collection of family stories of immigration, some of which are told on a quilt. This story from Chicago’s public radio station can be listened to or read, and discusses the exhibit and the quilting process.

• “Agents arrest 43 Mexican immigrants” (AG Weekly)
This would almost be a non-story if not for the fact that these workers were arrested in HAWAII! That’s right, agricultural production in Hawaii is increasingly relying on Mexican immigrant labor. While there is a long history to the presence of Latino labor in HI, this story should at least help you think about how immigrant labor gets from their homes to their foreign worksites when there is no border to cross. It’s called labor importation, and it happens in the other 49 states too.

• “SC county may make English official language” (Business Week)
And to finish things off, this little ditty from way down in the heart of Dixie. This is a complicated issue if you think about the forces behind it: economic uncertainty, dislocation, racism, just to name a few. But the solution is simple, and truly insignificant in the scheme of things. What it does do is send a message to Latinos that the “white society” doesn’t want us. Doesn’t give those disenfranchised whites any more power, doesn’t stop the economic dislocation laying rural Latin America bare, doesn’t stop U.S. corporations from importing brown folk to abuse and under pay them…it doesn’t even make Latinos learn English any faster than they already do.

FINALLY, though it isn’t related explicitly to anything I write about, go check out the website for the upcoming animated film STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS. (As if you haven’t already…and Wookies just mught be Chicanos anyways, so…)

May the force be with you.

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