Asians
17
Jan

Pew: Asians outnumber Hispanics among immigrants

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While the discussion over immigration, legal and illegal, devolves further into a cesspool of anti-hispanic rhetoric and tantrums over building a wall on our southern border, a shift in who is coming to the U.S. has been in effect for a few years. A recent Pew Research Center survey shows a long-term trend is continuing: that is, more Asians are migrating to the U.S. than Hispanics.

More than 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year. In 2016, the top country of origin for new immigrants coming into the U.S. was India, with 126,000 people, followed by Mexico (124,000), China (121,000) and Cuba (41,000).

By race and ethnicity, more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants have arrived in the U.S. each year since 2010. Immigration from Latin America slowed following the Great Recession, particularly from Mexico, which has seen net decreasesin U.S. immigration over the past few years.

Asians are projected to become the largest immigrant group in the U.S. by 2055, surpassing Hispanics. In 2065, Pew Research Center estimates indicate that Asians will make up some 38% of all immigrants; Hispanics, 31%; whites, 20%; and blacks, 9%.

But you don’t hear any anti-Indian or anti-Chinese rhetoric coming out of the President’s mouth or fast little twitter fingers. Not yet, anyway. And while there’s been no polling on it that we can see, it’s a safe bet that most Americans assume that the overwhelming majority of immigrants are coming from Mexico and Central America. There may be several reasons for this. First, the media, just by reporting utterances by the President (and others of his ilk) that the U.S. is being swamped by Hispanics/Latinos on the southern border, without pushing back, reinforces this myth.

And it is a myth. Perhaps it’s an undocumented issue, and far more immigrants from Mexico and Central America are undocumented than from elsewhere. Actually, no. Here, again, from Pew:

The number of apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border has sharply decreased over the past decade, from more than 1 million in fiscal 2006 to 408,870 in fiscal 2016. In the first two quarters of fiscal 2017, which started Oct. 1, there have been about 199,000 border patrol apprehensions at the Southwest border, compared with 186,000 for the same period in 2016. Today, more non-Mexicans than Mexicans are apprehended at the border. In fiscal 2016, the apprehensions of Central Americans at the border exceeded that of Mexicans for the second time on record.

Maybe Latino/Hispanic immigrants just have an image problem, made worse by rhetoric by the President (and others of his ilk). Because while nearly two thirds of Americans see immigrants as a boost, rather than a burden to the country, when you break down perceptions of the race of immigrants, the picture is different. From Pew:

Americans also hold more positive views of some immigrant groups than others, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center immigration report. More than four-in-ten Americans expressed mostly positive views of Asian (47%) and European immigrants (44%), yet only a quarter expressed such views of African and Latin American immigrants (26% each). Roughly half of the U.S. public said immigrants are making things better through food, music and the arts (49%), but almost equal shares said immigrants are making crime and the economy worse (50% each).

Interesting to note that Americans view immigration in general far more positively than they view any particular group of immigrants, even the most “popular” immigrant group, Asians. It would be fascinating to dig deeper into these attitudes and where they come from and how they’re reinforced.

There’s much more fascinating immigration data in the Pew report.

04
Jan

Still okay to make Asians the butt of jokes?

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RTS8GOV_0

Apparently, yes.

For those who watched the Oscars last Sunday you were treated to a skit where he introduced the “dedicated, accurate and hard-working” accountants “Ming Zhu, Bao Ling and David Moskowitz.” They were responsible for counting the votes for the night. He then welcomed the three tuxedo-clad kids, Kung included, holding briefcases. The funny part was that Asian (and Jewish Americans are model minorities who are good at math. Rock also threw in a child labor reference: “If anybody is upset about this joke, just tweet about it on your phone, which was also made by these kids.”

Haha. Joking about child labor in Asia, which is a real thing.

The jokes fell flat. The irony is, Rock was on fire for his justifiable skewering of Hollywood excluding black talent not only from awards but from key roles.

Guess what? There aren’t very many roles for Asian actors in film either.

But about the skit. Is it still all right to make fun of Asian (and Jewish) Americans as the hardworking model minorities? Who doesn’t want to be known as hardworking and dedicated and good at numbers, right?

Well, certainly not when the butt of the joke is a real person, a kid who wasn’t in on the joke. Public Radio International has more about that:

The joke stung harder than it might have in years past, precisely because the trending hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which emerged because it was the second year in a row where all the acting nominees were white, forced Rock and the Hollywood elite to confront their biases. Prior to the ceremony, celebrities including Spike Lee, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith boycotted the awards show. Directors Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler chose to hold #JusticeForFlint, a fundraiser for the Flint water crisis, on the same night. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced its goal to double its diverse members by 2020.

So when Asians still seemed to be the butt of the joke — it didn’t help that presenter Sacha Baron Cohen would later make a joke about “hard-working little yellow people with tiny dongs” — even celebrities like Constance Wu, Daniel Dae Kim and Jeremy Lin weighed in on Twitter.

Let’s imagine an Asian version of Chris Rock – Margaret Cho comes to mind – hosting the Oscars. Hard to imagine her green lighting a skit where African Americans are the butt of the joke.