Sunday, February 17, 2013

First Reader: Beyond acculturation and beyond generational status

This week we had two articles to read but I'd like to focus on the article about Immigration, discrimination, and health research among Mexicans in the U.S.  There's a term that Dr. Edna Amparo Viruell-Fuentes uses throughout the paper called othering that is described as one who experiences "marginalization, disempowerment and social exclusion."

The focus on this paper was to try to prove that generational status may be a strong factor within "othering" and discrimination when it comes to the different health outcomes between immigrants and the generations after them. The result was that the second generation of Mexicans experienced more "othering" than the first generation. Some things I observed, however, while reading the article was that the first generation people are the ones who are most likely going to put in more effort in looking for communities that are densely populated of their people in the first place because they are newly coming from their country and would have a special interest in finding people similar to them. It even states at one point that the first generation women who did experience 'othering' were the ones who went out of their community for work or to shop. So there were a few times where I felt like the generational status is probably not even a strong enough factor to focus on because of the different variations you could have within a specific generation.

It is interesting, however, that the type of discrimination doesn't necessarily even have to be against you personally, but you'd just have to be exposed to it from your surroundings and that'd be enough to possibly leave an effect on your health. The key point here is that the place immigrants integrate themselves into has an extremely important role in defining the health outcomes. I also wonder how different the results of the study would have been if it focused on men rather than women considering that the type of discrimination between the two might vary from each other.

I would've liked the article to include more discussion on how discrimination in early childhood may eventually have an affect on one's health. It continuously states of the importance behind it but it doesn't point out the how part. All in all though, I enjoyed reading it especially since I was able to relate a lot to some of the women's experiences because at one point in my life I lived in a suburb in Houston, Texas where my family and I were the only Palestinian-Muslims in the area. What did you think of the article?

1 comment:

  1. This is my Respondent assignment blog comment.

    I also was quite interested in this article about immigration discrimination and its health implications. I found the article’s fundamental points easy to follow, and highly plausible, but, somewhat similar to your view, I found many exceptions to the general pattern of who the effects of discrimination follows and when. One great point you bring up is the comparison of such effects between men and women. Men are more likely to be exposed in a discriminatory or prejudice work setting, whereas women are more likely to be discriminated against in a social setting. To what degree do these effects have on one’s health? Although the source of such physiological stress stems from different sources, I feel it is safe to argue the negative consequences are quite comparable. For example, based on what we have learned so far, reproductive organs and cognitive stability are likely to be negatively impacted. This, in turn, carriers the potential for many other adverse illnesses to occur due to such social stress.

    In response to your interest on the effects of early childhood discrimination, I feel the impact is more strongly felt on children than on immigrant adults. Immigrant adults, or all adults for that matter, have had the time to develop social and mental skills in ways to prevent or minimize the influence discriminatory acts have on them. Young children however, are more easily able to feel inferior, and thus more easily to be affected. Based on my current working knowledge of the human body and evolution, I’d say that the mental development is most effected, as that is one of the organs that develop most during such an age. One pressing concern is bullying. There has been a nation-wide campaign against bullying—which will ideally establish a harmonious balance between children of all backgrounds to work and grow together.

    In short, I think this article shed light on a touchy issue, and was able to highlight essential information of how our everyday actions possess the potential to carry negative health implications on not only ourselves, but other individuals.