Tag: nativist

A Sort of Madness

You can imagine my alarm when I first heard the term “immigrant psychosis.”

Evidently, this was a very real issue back when Ellis Island was booming, and lots of Italians and Irish people were coming off the boats and making everything in America all weird and strange and different.

Psychologists of the time identified a malady common to the recent arrivals, and these professionals dubbed it “immigrant psychosis.”

Today, we know it by a more common name: Homesickness

Yes, most of the American doctors were generations removed from their immigrant roots, and they had no experience living someplace new and exotic. As such, the concept of homesickness was unknown to them.

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So when immigrants displayed odd behaviors such as depression and anxiety — combined with the bizarre new emotion of nostalgia — the psychologists gave it a name and insisted it was confined to the Irish and Italians (and maybe those Chinese people too).

Of course, we now recognize homesickness as a common complaint of everyone from college students to people on long overseas trips. It’s hardly a psychosis.

But unfortunately, today’s immigrants often have more to deal with than a bout of sad sentimentality. A recent study found that “the stress and hardship faced by immigrants setting up in a new country could be contributing to an increased risk of psychosis” among new arrivals.

Basically, more immigrants are having issues adjusting to their new lives. And when they do encounter these problems, they have more difficulty getting the mental health assistance that they require.

The study added that “racism and discrimination are certainly one of many things that are contributing” to the increasing mental distress of immigrants.

So this is fresh proof that the whole nativist attitude is psychotic (or at least contributes to it forming).

It’s almost enough to make one yearn for a simpler time… which is ironic because excessive yearning is a sign of homesickness, which is how all this started in the first place. Damn.

 


Again

Wow, you would think that I know better at this point. After three years of writing this blog, I still make the mistake of saying, “I’m not going to write about this topic anymore” and then promptly turning around and writing about it (whatever the specific “it” might be at that moment).

In this case, I intended to let my recent post on the midterm elections be my final word on the subject. After that, I was going to let the bitter results speak for themselves. Yes, I planned to ignore the horrific stench rising from Washington DC as Tea Party activists climbed up on the furniture and howled their nativist agenda.

But that was before I was surprised, and a bit amused, to discover that a GOP Latino group called Somos Republicans has written an open letter to Republican leaders.

The group expresses concern that some of the incoming GOP leadership has “repeatedly engaged in rhetoric that is aimed negatively toward Hispanics” and has “used defamatory language that is extremely offensive to Hispanics.” Somos Republicans says that certain GOP leaders — guys who will soon be calling the shots in Congress — have “engaged in an ill-advised platform… that has been perceived as insensitive” and “inflammatory.”

I have to wonder why Somos Republicans is only noticing this trend now. After all, the fear-mongering was pretty well publicized, advertised, and encouraged during the election season. How could they have missed it?

In addition, Somos Republicans seems less upset about the dehumanizing of their fellow Latinos, and more worried that the image problem will hurt GOP chances in 2012.

By the way, they are correct to be concerned.

Now, some will argue that Somos Republicans are nothing more than sell-outs. As I’ve written before, I don’t advocate for litmus tests about what constitutes a “real Latino.” Sure, denying your heritage might qualify one for fake-Hispanic status. But short of that, I believe that a person does not have to adhere to a strict political agenda to be considered part of la familia.

Still, it’s difficult to reconcile the self-loathing that many Hispanics have for their immigrant origins. So it’s good to see that at least some conservative Latinos are disturbed by the flagrant xenophobia being peddled as a patriotic value.

But really, somebody has to tell Somos Republicans to change the name of their organization. Don’t they know that English is under constant attack from people who deny that it is our official language? I mean, you would think Republicans would know that.


Stop that Dreaming

The Dream Act may not be dead. But it is most certainly on hold, and no one is sure for how long.

The U.S. Senate did not directly kill the bill. Rather, Senate Republicans filibustered the defense authorization bill. The reason was that the Dream Act, as well as the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, were amendments to the legislation. These two bits of conservative wolfbane were too much for Republicans to stomach. So they voted, en masse and without exception, to deny the bill’s passage.

To continue reading this post, please click here.


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