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Aas201 presentation

  1. 1. Gender Roles and Settlement Activities • Abel Valenzuela, a UCLA professor, created an analysis of about 68 interviews within Mexican immigrant households. • Immigrant settlement is based on different theories that help understand how immigrants coming to the United States permanently settle. • Initial years adjusting: struggles, discrimination, difficult situations in integrating into American way of life. • Gender and familism (needs of family outweigh needs of one particular individual) help mediate settlement.
  2. 2. Immigrant Settlement, Children, and Gender • Traditional Latino families are highly familistic and are confronted with obstacles such as immigration, poverty, and socioeconomic status. • Children and their gender provide an influence in immigrant households and settling into a new surrounding. • Children of immigrants in the United States became tutors, advocates, and surrogate parents • Girls took on tasks with greater responsibility than boys and the eldest child played the role of taking care of younger siblings.
  3. 3. Mexican Immigrant Settlement • It has been occurring since Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed after Mexican-American war (1848). • The Bracero Program (1942-1964) allowed the insight on the large number of Mexican immigrants who wanted to enter the United States in 1965 when Congress terminated the Natural Origins Act. • Los Angeles is second to Mexico City in number of Mexicans living within its walls. • Immigration studies produced two significant forms of research: one focusing on Mexican Immigrant settlement and generation studies (processes that children of Mexican and other immigrants went through). • Only recently did gender and children gain attention in the immigrant settlement process.
  4. 4. Children and Settlement • How do children assist within the household? • Before 1965: -Immigrants were more likely to rely on both community-based and familial resources when settling. -This meant that the family depended on one another and children played a more active role as members. • Post 1965: - Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1965 passed -Immigrant advocacy agencies, community-based organizations, bilingual education programs, and other resources were created and children became a minimal part in the settlement of immigrant families. • Children did not need to take part in complex tasks as their parents tried to settle.
  5. 5. Children/Settlement cont. • What role did children take on in assisting household settlement? • Since the times had changed post-1965, children were not as significant in playing a major role regarding settlement of immigrant families. • The meaning of being a child was different from that of Mexicans coming from urban centers or even those who lived in Los Angeles. • The role of children in postindustrial societies changed from “contributors” to “sentimental” objects of affection. (Zelizer 1985) • Valenzuela challenged this notion of children having lesser roles in immigrant households. • Children served as translators, consultants, and mediators within the family as part of settling into a new life.
  6. 6. Valenzuela’s Research • He used snowball sampling in order to gather enough data that was useful for research along with an incentive of $25. • There were eight snowball samples within the Los Angeles Area resulting in the 68 interviews. They were all within the typical Latino or Mexican- concentrated neighborhood such as Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. • Valenzuela wanted to focus on institutions that were necessary to begin permanent settlement of immigrant families. • He also explored how children (boys and girls) contributed in assisting with settlement of adults who had recently arrived into a household.
  7. 7. Findings for Research • Young girls had a more predominant role in terms of responsibility that boys did. • There were three main tasks that children took: a) tutors b) advocates c) surrogate parents. • The situations within the immigrant households were varied and complex but children of immigrant families actively participated in the naturalization process of their parents. • There were clear gender patterns in the roles that young girls and boys took. • These findings led to a better understanding of how children did facilitate settlement and establishment of Mexican immigrant households. • Gender also played a role in immigration as the patterns and activities of the study suggested. • Finally, it showed the complexity of immigrant settlement in the United States.
  8. 8. Schools • Immigrants were quickly introduced to decentralized school system of the United States. • Having year-round system led to confusion and on top of that, new immigrants with children have to work several jobs and locate housing. • Older siblings became responsible (surrogate parents) over their younger siblings. • In addition, mothers or female members of the household took on a larger role in being involved with school activities. • Household responsibilities were distributed to children and other members while parents worked for household stability.
  9. 9. Financial Resources • Biggest challenge for immigrants and essential to survival. • Social networking and job searching used for employment. • Immigrant children pressured to help towards household financial situation. • Children of postindustrial era are not seen as financial resources, more of emotional investments (Zelizer, 1985) • Girls in immigrant households were dominant in dealing with financial matters but boys also contributed to some extent. • Children of immigrants assisted in financial contribution, lowering household frustration leading to easier permanent settlement.
  10. 10. Labor Markets • Mexican immigrants come to America to find job opportunities. • Job openings often comes from word of mouth from family or friends in Mexico. • Children again play an important role in securing jobs. • Workers rights • Taxes • Benefits • Children also translated for their parents. • Mexican immigrant workers have the worse paying and abusive jobs within Los Angeles
  11. 11. Health Services • Children assisted parents with healthcare system. • Doctor visits • Translating diagnosis – English to Spanish • Caring for sick parents • Both boys and girls involved in translating, sometimes it was embarrassing, difficult, and dehumanizing. • Children truly took responsibility in helping their parents.
  12. 12. Conclusion of Research Role Gender Pattern School Tutors/Surrogate parents -Mothers and older siblings took on the role -No gender pattern Finance Resource Financial contributors/Advocates Girls undertook these roles more frequently Employment Tutors/Advocates Girls took on more responsibility than boys Legal Institution Advocates Girls major contributors than boys Political Involvement Tutors/Advocates Girls took on more roles than boys Health Services Tutors/Advocates/Care- givers No clear gender pattern
  13. 13. “The Normal American Family” • Karen Pyke based the analysis on 73 in-depth interviews and it revolves around the children of Korean and Vietnamese immigrants. • Respondents who were part of the study focused on a solid image of what a “normal American family” was like. • “The Normal American Family” or the Family, served as a contrasting picture for Asian immigrants and their own family life. • The notion of the Family towards children of immigrant minorities could actually shape their desires, disappointments, and realities.
  14. 14. Family Ideology as Interpretive Structure • Images of “Normal” American families are dominant in society.  Images of “Normal families” are dominant in the society  Found in: everyday interactions  Movies  TV Shows  Books • Images in media portray “ideological code that subtly inserts an implicit evaluation…of living together.” • Scholarly concern with present ideology of a breadwinning husband with a wife who works for pay but is also primarily devoted to the care of home and children. • Structure of ideal family contains notions of appropriate values, norms, and beliefs that guide the way families relate to one another
  15. 15. Family Values Spread Widely in Pop Culture • Over time, family values have grown in terms of importance and are spread widely in popular culture such as TV shows.
  16. 16. Korean American Culture • In Korea, children associated parental strictness with warmth and see its absence as a sign of neglect. • In the U.S., it was the opposite. Parental strictness = Child abuse
  17. 17. Korean and Vietnamese Immigrant Families • Korean and Vietnamese families were a new ethnic group in the United States prior to 1965. • The study of only one Asian ethnic group contributes to a tendency to over-generalize all Asian ethnic groups: Koreans Vietnamese -came voluntarily in search of better economic opportunities -Education -Children -came involuntarily -political refugees -reconnect with families
  18. 18. Chinese Confucianism Influence • Chinese Confucianism influenced traditional family systems of Korean and Vietnamese families. • Held values such as:  Hierarchal relations  Filial piety  Solidarity (agreement among individuals) • Korean and Vietnamese cultures derived respect from Confucianism for those who were well-educated, education was the primary means for social mobility.
  19. 19. Viewing Parental Relations through Americanized Lens • Less strict; more freedom • More liberal; open-minded and less traditional • Emotionally closer, more communicative, expressive, and affectionate to one another.
  20. 20. Respondent Interviewees • Dat: 22 years old, male, Vietnamese • Hoa: 23 years old, male, Vietnamese • Paul: 21 years old, male, Korean • Mike: 22 years old, male, Vietnamese • Thuy: 20 years old, female, Vietnamese • Cora: 20 years old, female, Korean • Similarity: “American = non-Asian”
  21. 21. Maintaining Ethnic Values of Filial Obligation • “Family over everything” • Respondents attributed their parents’ future care-giving to reciprocation for parental care in the past and cultural emphasis on filial respect and support. • Contrasting ideas when it came to filial obligation – respondents turned towards Asian family values rather than Western family values. • They believed that American families often abandon their elders and cut off all filial commitment.
  22. 22. Conclusion • Children of Korean and Vietnamese immigrants are bombarded with images of the “normal” American family • These family values often contrast with their own beliefs (Korean/ Vietnamese) • The ideology of the picture perfect American family has a negative bias towards children of immigrants • This research only provides a tiny glimpse of how immigrant families and their children assimilate into American society.