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Disposable Domestics: Immigrant Women Workers in the Global Economy

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Contents Introduction Breeding Ignorance, Breeding Hatred Chapter 1: Undocumented Latinas: The New Employable Mother Chapter 2: The Nanny Visa: The Bracero Program Revisited Chapter 3: Immigrants and Workfare Workers: Emplyable but "Not Employed" Chapter 4: The Global Trade in Filipina Workers Conclusion: Gatekeeping and Housekeeping An Excerpt: Breeding Ignorance, Breeding Hatred Contents Introduction Breeding Ignorance, Breeding Hatred Chapter 1: Undocumented Latinas: The New Employable Mother Chapter 2: The Nanny Visa: The Bracero Program Revisited Chapter 3: Immigrants and Workfare Workers: Emplyable but "Not Employed" Chapter 4: The Global Trade in Filipina Workers Conclusion: Gatekeeping and Housekeeping An Excerpt: Breeding Ignorance, Breeding Hatred In 1994, during one of the worst, but certainly not unprecedented, systematic attacks on immigrants to the United States, immigrants and their allies began sporting T-shirts bearing the face of an indigenous man and the slogan, "Who are you calling illegal, Pilgrim?" reflecting indignation at the ignorant and malicious anti-immigrant sentiments of the day. Specifically, this was in direct response to a campaign that had been brewing for years in policy circles and "citizen" groups, culminating in California state's Proposition 187. The initiative proposed to bar undocumented children from public schools and turn away undocumented students from state colleges and universities. It also proposed to deny the undocumented an array of public benefits and social services, including prenatal and preventive care such as immunizations. While the overt purpose of this voter initiative was to curtail immigration, ostensibly by restricting the use of public benefits and social services by undocumented immigrants, the real agenda behind it was to criminalize immigrants for presumably entering the country "illegally" and stealing resources from "true" United States citizens. More to the point, Proposition 187 came out of and was aimed at perpetuating the myth that all immigrants are "illegal" at worst and, at best, the cause of our society's and economy's ills. Throughout US history, immigration has been viewed and intentionally constructed as plague, infection or infestation and immigrants as disease (social and physical), varmints or invaders. If we look at contemporary popular films, few themes seem to tap the fears or thrill the American imagination more than that of the timeless space alien invading the United States, and statespeople have snatched up this popular image to rouse public support for


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Contents Introduction Breeding Ignorance, Breeding Hatred Chapter 1: Undocumented Latinas: The New Employable Mother Chapter 2: The Nanny Visa: The Bracero Program Revisited Chapter 3: Immigrants and Workfare Workers: Emplyable but "Not Employed" Chapter 4: The Global Trade in Filipina Workers Conclusion: Gatekeeping and Housekeeping An Excerpt: Breeding Ignorance, Breeding Hatred Contents Introduction Breeding Ignorance, Breeding Hatred Chapter 1: Undocumented Latinas: The New Employable Mother Chapter 2: The Nanny Visa: The Bracero Program Revisited Chapter 3: Immigrants and Workfare Workers: Emplyable but "Not Employed" Chapter 4: The Global Trade in Filipina Workers Conclusion: Gatekeeping and Housekeeping An Excerpt: Breeding Ignorance, Breeding Hatred In 1994, during one of the worst, but certainly not unprecedented, systematic attacks on immigrants to the United States, immigrants and their allies began sporting T-shirts bearing the face of an indigenous man and the slogan, "Who are you calling illegal, Pilgrim?" reflecting indignation at the ignorant and malicious anti-immigrant sentiments of the day. Specifically, this was in direct response to a campaign that had been brewing for years in policy circles and "citizen" groups, culminating in California state's Proposition 187. The initiative proposed to bar undocumented children from public schools and turn away undocumented students from state colleges and universities. It also proposed to deny the undocumented an array of public benefits and social services, including prenatal and preventive care such as immunizations. While the overt purpose of this voter initiative was to curtail immigration, ostensibly by restricting the use of public benefits and social services by undocumented immigrants, the real agenda behind it was to criminalize immigrants for presumably entering the country "illegally" and stealing resources from "true" United States citizens. More to the point, Proposition 187 came out of and was aimed at perpetuating the myth that all immigrants are "illegal" at worst and, at best, the cause of our society's and economy's ills. Throughout US history, immigration has been viewed and intentionally constructed as plague, infection or infestation and immigrants as disease (social and physical), varmints or invaders. If we look at contemporary popular films, few themes seem to tap the fears or thrill the American imagination more than that of the timeless space alien invading the United States, and statespeople have snatched up this popular image to rouse public support for

30 review for Disposable Domestics: Immigrant Women Workers in the Global Economy

  1. 4 out of 5

    alyssa

    This is the most important book I’ve read in awhile. If you have any interest in immigration, feminism, sexism, classism, etc etc JUSTICE IN GENERAL you should pick this up. It manages to discuss intersections and intertwined but not identical struggles in a way many books do not (thinking about Sexuality and Socialism here specifically). Highly recommend this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Informative and frighteningly more relevant today than when it originally published. If you read on political theory book this year, I suggest Disposable Domestics, then later scream, "One book is never enough."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sookie

    Disclaimer: the book deals primarily with immigrant domestic helps in the greater American context though this problem also exists and perhaps is far more deeply problematic in middle east. In the very first edition of this book, the author, Grace Chang, brings in Clinton era changes to immigration policies. While it started from argument that the "illegal" men who immigrated were taking all the jobs, there was no argument made for the women in the same category who were sterilized by nurses and Disclaimer: the book deals primarily with immigrant domestic helps in the greater American context though this problem also exists and perhaps is far more deeply problematic in middle east. In the very first edition of this book, the author, Grace Chang, brings in Clinton era changes to immigration policies. While it started from argument that the "illegal" men who immigrated were taking all the jobs, there was no argument made for the women in the same category who were sterilized by nurses and doctors in hospitals, the very places where these women worked. The women worked in child care, elder care and everyday hospice facilities that required little to no public interaction but lot of manual and physical labor. It required communication, kindness, patience for which they were promised nine to ten dollars an hour for eighteen hour shifts and by the end of the year when the women asked the families for their payment, they were given just a month's pay and some hand me down clothes. a few women took the families to court, but the cases were soon thrown out when the families "proved" that the women were sub-par workers. American middle class and upper-middle class had navigated around a system that gave cheap labor and didn't cost the government a thing to take care of the people who were providing the labor. this is just scratching the surface and not even mentioning the larger problem of how immigration reforms have mutated and implemented over the years, first world nations pandering to third world countries with investments and returns, incentives to labors etc. And once people were in the country, there was no need for social investment since most women came alone and sent money back home, there was no social reproduction as this was pure labor transaction, also there was no need for social welfare to be handed out. Late 80s and 90s has seen some relief like Nursing Relief Act that gave stability to women who worked for more than five years in the country but for the domestic workers, there isn't a lot of legal safety net just yet.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Beer

    This incredibly relevant book does an excellent job of explaining decades of immigration and labor policy in an accessible format. It aptly illustrates the juxtaposition between society’s desire for female immigrant labor, and the perceived threat of their fertility and “failure to assimilate,” and the exploitation that enables in labor markets. This book is particularly valuable in examining how increased labor opportunities for white middle class women (without the cultural change that would i This incredibly relevant book does an excellent job of explaining decades of immigration and labor policy in an accessible format. It aptly illustrates the juxtaposition between society’s desire for female immigrant labor, and the perceived threat of their fertility and “failure to assimilate,” and the exploitation that enables in labor markets. This book is particularly valuable in examining how increased labor opportunities for white middle class women (without the cultural change that would impact their domestic duties) have come at the expense of black and brown women.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Raevyn Kagawa-Burke

    actual rating: 4.5 "...to pull together, to survive, and to fight back". Grace Chang's book shows a world that is always out of the limelight-the domestic workers. These migrants, particularly women of color, are blamed for using up America's resources such as welfare and job opportunities while treated "as the most exploitable and expendable in our economy and society". These workers are the backbone to America (and other First World countries), performing crucial labor that no one really thinks actual rating: 4.5 "...to pull together, to survive, and to fight back". Grace Chang's book shows a world that is always out of the limelight-the domestic workers. These migrants, particularly women of color, are blamed for using up America's resources such as welfare and job opportunities while treated "as the most exploitable and expendable in our economy and society". These workers are the backbone to America (and other First World countries), performing crucial labor that no one really thinks about, such as nannies, home care workers, janitors, and nursing aids. These women take care of our children and our old, while sustaining the privileged life of the middle- and upper-class. Good: *provided a lot of detailed information about different immigrant and domestic workers' organizations *told the stories of women who help keep our society running *talks about the exploitative and imperialist reasons as to why so many migrate to First World countries *shows a great parallel from when the book was written (2000) and today (2017) Bad: *the only issue I have with this book is that because it is dated, it heavily focused on Proposition 187 in California

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joe Xtarr

    This is relevant in 2016, maybe more so than when it was written. It does an excellent job of humanizing the subjects of the book - domestic workers, both immigrant and US-born, but most typically women of color. This is a work you can reach for whenever your belligerent friends and relatives start discussing immigration reform (code speak for pro-white nationalism). This will easily hold the attention of anyone interested in immigration, labor, feminism, poverty, or the self-consuming black hol This is relevant in 2016, maybe more so than when it was written. It does an excellent job of humanizing the subjects of the book - domestic workers, both immigrant and US-born, but most typically women of color. This is a work you can reach for whenever your belligerent friends and relatives start discussing immigration reform (code speak for pro-white nationalism). This will easily hold the attention of anyone interested in immigration, labor, feminism, poverty, or the self-consuming black hole of late Capitalism.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather Montes Ireland

    I'm a big fan of this work, particularly because a) Chang makes integral connections between populations & concepts that are not usually talked about together, such as immigration policy and welfare 'reform.' And b) she was already predicting/warning of issues in the late 90s that we are seeing in our economy today, 15 years later. The work is relevant and imminently teachable. I'm a big fan of this work, particularly because a) Chang makes integral connections between populations & concepts that are not usually talked about together, such as immigration policy and welfare 'reform.' And b) she was already predicting/warning of issues in the late 90s that we are seeing in our economy today, 15 years later. The work is relevant and imminently teachable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kyren

    Well worth reading. This is one of the few works I know of which examine women's rights from the perspective of global economics. A convincing account of the ways that US and global economic policies--as well as the political rhetoric that supports them--have adversely impacted women, especially women of color and immigrant women in the US.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Chu

    The book uncovers lots of truth that is rarely considered or discussed. It unveils many root causes of systemic racism as well as ways that the government and big cooperations are using to keep the poor poor so that people of higher classes can have replaceable, readily-exploitable cheap labor.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    Great book. The first two or three chapters pair well with Entry Denied (which focuses on the racism in constructing U.S. national identity), the latter chapters (which focus on labour laws) with David Bacon's books.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zack

    great book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    fascinating and eye opening book by an amazing person who actually used to be my neighbor across the street, much respect for her and this book really blew me away!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    someday i will finish a book!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natrila Femi

    Hands down to the best book I've read this year. This book offers an incisive and critical insight and analysis into the problem of immigrant women workers in the US. So many times I found myself shudders in anger seeing the racism and abuses faced by the domestic workers. In times of COVID-19, where we have been suddenly acknowledging the importance and existence of low-wage service workers and janitors, reading this just shed me a light that government have not given them the rights and credit Hands down to the best book I've read this year. This book offers an incisive and critical insight and analysis into the problem of immigrant women workers in the US. So many times I found myself shudders in anger seeing the racism and abuses faced by the domestic workers. In times of COVID-19, where we have been suddenly acknowledging the importance and existence of low-wage service workers and janitors, reading this just shed me a light that government have not given them the rights and credits that they fully deserve (instead, government and lawmakers have been known to deliberately design a restrictionist policy that serves to disenfranchise these already vulnerable immigrants). I cannot imagine what kind of hardship they have to endure during this crisis. The experiences and adversaries shared in the book will truly haunt me in the days to come. (Oh, and here's a shout out to Haymarket book for making this book free to access during the crisis.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ricky Metters

    Twenty years since its original publication, Disposable Domestics is still as relevant and as important as ever. Chang illustrates clearly the ways in which "illegal" immigration is necessary for the maintenance of global capitalism while undocumented immigrants are simultaneously vilified and scapegoated. Focusing from macroeconomic causes like WTO- and IMF-initiated Structural Adjustment Programs inflicted on developing nations to the plights of countless immigrant women in the United States, Twenty years since its original publication, Disposable Domestics is still as relevant and as important as ever. Chang illustrates clearly the ways in which "illegal" immigration is necessary for the maintenance of global capitalism while undocumented immigrants are simultaneously vilified and scapegoated. Focusing from macroeconomic causes like WTO- and IMF-initiated Structural Adjustment Programs inflicted on developing nations to the plights of countless immigrant women in the United States, Disposable Domestics effectively explains the big picture without losing sight of the humanity of marginalized women. Overall, it is an essential read for intersectional feminists, labor organizers, anti-imperialists, anti-racists, and anyone else who has an interest in understanding "illegal" immigration of women well beyond the common, racist narratives in the United States.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nuha

    This book was incredible! As an Asian American Studies minor, I really love reading works that go beyond simple stereotypes and delve into policy and power structures that uphold the stereotypes. In "Disposable Domestics", Chang takes us on a journey through the exploitative world of domestic labor in the United States, discussing policies like SAPS which disadvantage Asian countries like the Philippines and Mexico to supply labor into the US, lack of labor unions among domestic workers leading This book was incredible! As an Asian American Studies minor, I really love reading works that go beyond simple stereotypes and delve into policy and power structures that uphold the stereotypes. In "Disposable Domestics", Chang takes us on a journey through the exploitative world of domestic labor in the United States, discussing policies like SAPS which disadvantage Asian countries like the Philippines and Mexico to supply labor into the US, lack of labor unions among domestic workers leading to gross mistreatment by employers and lack of federal aid policy leaving workers at the mercy of their employers. Peeling back layers of lawsuits, interviews with community organizers, news articles, and more, Chang makes a convincing argument for change in the domestic services industry.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Constanzo

    Fantastic and important read. The chapter where she highlights welfare reform and how it’s intertwined with immigration reform to keep groups fighting each other as opposed to uniting together to fight the exploitative laws and employers is fantastic, a must read for anyone. The only thing holding me back from giving 5 stars is that I really wanted the end to go more into a “what next” space and have the author give some of her thoughts on what she sees as next steps for those fighting for justi Fantastic and important read. The chapter where she highlights welfare reform and how it’s intertwined with immigration reform to keep groups fighting each other as opposed to uniting together to fight the exploitative laws and employers is fantastic, a must read for anyone. The only thing holding me back from giving 5 stars is that I really wanted the end to go more into a “what next” space and have the author give some of her thoughts on what she sees as next steps for those fighting for justice for immigrant women, and really all domestic workers. Overall though, I would recommend this book!

  18. 4 out of 5

    z

    i just finished the newest edition of this book, you'll learn a lot about systemic issues and broader socioeconomic problems (emphasis on structural adjustment programs) that force women to migrate. great understanding of intersections such as race, class, and gender. overall great read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marc De

  20. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maribel Rubio

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alisond

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rosie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kharisa

  26. 5 out of 5

    Magally Miranda Alcázar

  27. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aurélie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mara

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