Anchor Baby. A term or a slur?

            While on the New York Times website I ran across an article called Anchor Baby-A Term redefined as a slur, it immediately caught my attention. The article is about the American Heritage Dictionary’s inclusion of the term Anchor baby in there fifth edition published in November.  The dictionary published the definition as

“A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.” 

When Mary Giovagnoli, the director of the immigration Policy Center, a pro-immigration research group in Washington heard the definition, she posted on the companies blog saying the dictionary “masks the poisonous and derogatory nature of the term, a term which demeans both parent and child.” Her post spread immediately and three days later a new definition of “anchor baby” was posted on the dictionary’s Web site. It started with “offensive,” in italics:

 “Used as a disparaging term for a child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially when the child’s birthplace is thought to have been chosen in order to improve the mother’s or other relatives’ chances of securing eventual citizenship.”  

In a statement Mr. Kleinedler the executive editor of the dictionary, said the dictionary had rectified an error. “The term is now treated similarly to how the dictionary treats a wide range of slurs,” he said.

             I decided to post about this article because to me the term anchor baby is obviously offensive. Some definitions for the word anchor (including the American Heritage dictionary definition) are; “A source of security or stability,” “any of various devices, as a metal tie, for binding one part of a structure to another,” “a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security.” Add the word baby behind any of these definitions and you have a slur, now think about the nationality of the people who this slur is referring to and you have a racist slur.

            I belive the dictionary publishing this word differently from other slurs shows the racist feelings people have toward immigrants, that we are not concerned with offending them, and that people view immigrants having children in this country as a way to cheat the system, and for the parents benefits only. Not once did the original definition take in to account the hardship that the child could face in their home country. “Anchor baby” was never just a term it has racial, and political notions tied to it, and it is used against a specific people.

High Teen Pregnancy and STD Rates Blamed on Poverty

I recently read an article  about Bronx teenagers having the highest rates of STDS and pregnancy.  New York University Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos claims that  “rampant poverty, homelessness, limited access to healthcare and insufficient funding for innovative health programs contribute to the Bronx’s teen pregnancy rate.”  Furthermore, it states that New York pin points the African Americans and Latinos for being more promiscuous and that people are not considering how they are truly disadvantaged.

I disagree with this article to an extent.  I think there are other contributing factors ,such as values, which are increasing these rates.  To be blunt, my first thoughts on this were that being poor does not create babies or STDS, participating in intercourse without protection does.   The article also clearly states that  Bronx teens are also more likely to use a condom.  If this is the case then why do we have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STDs? I then did a little research and looked up the poorest cities in the U.S.  The poorest city is Allen, South Dakota and they don’t have the same rate that we do.  The Bronx was not even on the list.  Can we still say that solely poverty is contributing to such high rates of teen pregnancy and STDs?

Sexism in Johnnie Walker ad!

I was riding the 6 train today when I noticed some moderately disturbing Johnnie Walker advertisements. The ads consisted mainly of pictures of different Johnnie Walker bottles along with a catchy message about how this holiday season you can “Say it without saying it” — give thanks to your loved ones or let them know you appreciate them without actually verbalizing it. The sense of humor in the ads however, consisted of deeply rooted sexist ideals and prejudices about men and women.

One of the ads read:

“We only shake hands. We call each other once a month. Max. I still think you’re adopted. And even though I would rather streak across a packed stadium than tell you this, you deserve it. You’re a great little brother. There, I said it.”

When I first read this I thought “Ok this ad is obviously aimed towards men” and didn’t think much else about it. I continued to read the message content in the other ads, and came across the most disturbing one of all:

“Thanks for showing me how to count cards. Thanks for being honest. Thanks for not telling anyone about the time you caught me watching women’s basketball.”

And that was when the sexism bell rung loudly in my head. The fact that all of the messages appeared to be aimed for men seems typical. Advertisements about alcoholic beverages are almost always geared towards men — men are always found holding a drink while standing next to either a hot sports car or a sexy girlfriend. To hint that watching women’s basketball is an embarrassing act, however, is very sexist!  How could such a popular whiskey brand let this one slide? What is wrong with watching women’s basketball and why should a man feel ashamed if he enjoys it? I am aware that this was meant to be a joke, but the  idea that women’s sports are less worthy than men’s ins’t something new to our society. Men’s sports get so much more publicity and attention then do women’s. High schools for example rarely have a girls’ baseball team, but they will have girls’ varsity softball, boys’ varsity baseball, or intramural coed softball. Why not coed baseball to say the least? I don’t think I even need to discuss professional baseball. And what about football? Have you ever tried playing coed football? I tried playing a casual game with “the guys” once. The men tackled each other left and right but the minute I had the ball everyone simply backed off. This worked to my team’s advantage until the guys realized that my bones wouldn’t break if they pushed me out of bounds carefully enough.  The idea that men are physically stronger and more aggressive then women is understandable. Hinting that a woman’s sport is unworthy of being watched, however, is unacceptable.

I also found other not-so-obvious gender biases in the content of the ads. “Counting cards” and “streaking” are often associated with men. Even the punchline– “say it without saying it” reminds me of how  men in our society are socialized not to express themselves. It is as though the red label bottle is a little devil in disguise, whispering “now you don’t HAVE to say it, you can just give me as a gift and I will do away with that awkward holiday moment where your friends and family expect you to actually tell them that you care.”

The ads weren’t offensive per se,  but they do show gender biased ideas that are deeply rooted in our society and can easily go unrecognized without a trained sociological eye.  Have you seen the advertisements yourself? What did you think about them?

Will We Become One Race One Day?

 Studding race and ethnicity in sociology class it was very interesting. One of the most interesting topics of the course is a question if issue of race will ever disappear. And I think there is no one answers for that question. That depends if we, people will stop defining as self’s using race criteria. The two short videos from The New York Times Magazine: “Young Mixed in America” and “Just a Family” discus issue of mixed race in American society.

The first video “Young Mixed in America” presents the organization for multiracial and biracial students where college students can express there thoughts and shares their experience with being mixed-racial member of the society. What is the most important is that they don’t think about them self’s as members of the one racial group, but those students are more likely to think about them self as mix-racial. Even though, one of the students, having one black and one white parent, and think about himself as the black person, he says that his race is black but his ethnicity can be black and white. In my opinion in reality he is thinking about himself as biracial person because he includes both races in to consideration wile defining him self’s.

Philip Kasinitz, in his work writes that children tend to choose one of the parent races to define them self’s. Although, Kasinitz theory is true, is not only one way to look at race issue and the proof is in our lives. I think if as a society will accept the mix-racialism then race wouldn’t matter as much like today.

One of the students, from the firs video, said that one day when we will continue mixing “will pop out one race.” I agree with her and disagree in the same time. I disagree, because if we thing about race as the phenotypic characteristic, like skin color, type of heir, shape of eyes, the physical differences would remain. The gens are not always phenotypically active but they remain in organism and in even further gens mixing will not end up in one color society. At the same time, I believe that one day “only one race will pop up;” but that can happened only if we as the society will stop recognize they physical characteristics of race an stop lambing them white, black, red, etc. The excellent example is the family presented inn second video “Just a Family” which present that in reality if everyone accept each other completely, physical race differences snot matter. This family is a real future of the country.


“Just a Family”

A multiracial family gathers to talk about being mixed race in America


”Young and Mixed in America”

College campuses across the United States are seeing more mixed-race students than ever before. They are leading a sea of change in how we think about race and ethnicity.

NYPD + Facebook

NYPD + Facebook (Someone did not read the privacy settings…)

Today in class, we briefly discussed the current problem that the New York Police Department is facing. Recently a Facebook group was uncovered, in which police officers assigned to the West Indian Day Parade were venting with highly offensive language, referring to parade-goers as “savages” and “animals”. Below are some of the comments found on the Facebook page.

The comments in the group included anger at police and city officials and expressions of anxiety about policing what has often been a dangerous event. “Why is everyone calling this a parade,” one said. “It’s a scheduled riot.” Another said: “We were widely outnumbered. It was an eerie feeling knowing we could be overrun at any moment.”

“Welcome to the Liberal NYC Gale,” said another, “where if the cops sneeze too loud they get investigated for excessive force but the ‘civilians’ can run around like savages and there are no repercussions.”

“They can keep the forced overtime,” said one writer, adding that the safety of officers comes “before the animals.”

Wrote another: “Bloodbath!!! The worst detail to work.”

“I say have the parade one more year,” wrote a commenter who identified himself as Dan Rodney, “and when they all gather drop a bomb and wipe them all out.”

Coincidentally, I just finished reading The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation of the Edge, by T.J. English, a book describing the interracial tensions between Blacks, Puerto Ricans and White police officers during the 60s, 70s and early 80s. Within the book, English focuses on cases in which institutional discrimination shaped the lives of Blacks and White Officers during this period. A lot of the language above was common in the ways that White officers referred to minorities in these decades, begging the question has discrimination decreased in the NYPD or simply gone underground? If so, how can this be targeted and erased?

While I do believe discrimination has decreased in the NYPD due to higher integration of minority groups, at the same time the issue of police officers enforcing rules in areas they do not live in creates a huge power dynamic, which takes on a racialized aspect in many parts that have a large percentage of minority residents.

Another issue which this situation raises is that of the role of Facebook. Were these thoughts meant to be inherently private, made in a moment of resentment with the comfort that is was private? This seems unlikely since the New York Times matched 60% of the names in the Facebook conversation with those of actual NYPD officers. If they did not intend for it to be private, then these police officers were not thinking straight in allowing their names to be used. This issue with Facebook, brings up a bit of the private vs. public conversation we had about our blog. The internet, Facebook especially, makes the creation of media easy, creating an instant gratifying release to pent up emotions.

The issue is then is how to address these issues. How can these discriminatory beliefs and opinions be removed from the NYPD, a group that already has a long history of racial insensitivity? Would there be a test or forcing officers to take a Race & Ethnicity sociology class?

To read more on this issue:

What Makes a Family?


Video of Michele Bachmann trying to get her photo op in with my 8 year old son. It’s hard to hear but he leans in and tells her that his mom is gay and she doesn’t need fixing. GO ELIJAH! Love that look of shock she gets.
We were there for an Occupy Myrtle Beach event to mic check Michele Bachmann on another issue. The lgbt issue came up separately. #Occupymb

I came across this video, and thought it was really sweet. It is the third video I have watched this week that involves children of gay/lesbian people, and it has made me think more about the subject. I am pro same-sex marriage, and am glad to live in a state where it is legal. The little boy in the video tells Michelle Bachmann that his mom is gay, but doesn’t need fixing. Bachmann is outspoken about her opposition to same-sex marriages, and it taken back by the boy’s words. People who are against homosexuality claim it is against God’s, but since the US separates church and state that can’t be it. Others claim it is not found in nature, but in actuality it is found more often than not. Some people say ok to two people of the same sex having a relationship, but don’t want them to raise children. They believe it isn’t good for the kids. The other two videos were about the same thing. First a gay man’s adoptive sons were taken away because of his homosexuality. When the kids were asked if they knew and what they thought, they answered yes and it doesn’t matter. To them he is just the man that loves them and gave them a good home. The second was of a young man speaking at a public forum about his lesbian mothers. His life at home was no different than any other kid’s. I don’t think having two parents of the same sex has anything with what makes a family. A family is made up of people who love and care about you, and it doesn’t matter what their sexual orientation is.