26 July 2014

Children 12 and under are fastest growing group of unaccompanied minors at U.S. border


Excerpts:
The new data show a 117% increase in the number of unaccompanied children ages 12 and younger caught at the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year compared with last fiscal year. By comparison, the number of apprehensions of unaccompanied teenagers ages 13-17 has increased by only 12% over the same time period.

Even though the growth is higher among younger children, the bulk of unaccompanied children caught at the border remain teenagers. In fiscal year 2013, nine-in-ten minors apprehended at the border were teens. This share has dropped as the number of younger children making the dangerous trip has risen dramatically: In the first eight months of fiscal year 2014, 84% were teens.

Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island


Excerpt:
An unaccompanied child migrant was the first person in line on opening day of the new immigration station at Ellis Island. Her name was Annie Moore, and that day, January 1, 1892, happened to be her 15th birthday. She had traveled with her two little brothers from Cork County, Ireland, and when they walked off the gangplank, she was awarded a certificate and a $10 gold coin for being the first to register. Today, a statue of Annie stands on the island, a testament to the courage of millions of children who passed through those same doors, often traveling without an older family member to help them along.

15 states with the highest share of immigrants in their population


Excerpt:
The 15 states where immigrants made up the biggest share of the population in 2012 account for about eight-in-ten (79%) of the nation’s immigrants. Although the rankings have changed over the past few decades, almost all of the states that have the highest immigrant population shares have remained the same.

ISIS Forces Last Iraqi Christians to Flee Mosul

ISIS Forces Last Iraqi Christians to Flee Mosul (New York Times, 18 July 2014)

Excerpt:
By 1 p.m. on Friday almost every Christian in Mosul had heard the Sunni militants’ message — they had until noon Saturday to leave the city. Men, women and children piled into neighbors’ cars, some begged for rides to the city limits and hoped to get taxis to the nearest Christian villages. They took nothing more than the clothes on their backs, according to several who were reached late Friday.

The order from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria came after Christians decided not to attend a meeting that ISIS had arranged for Thursday night to discuss their status.

Related: Last remaining Christians flee Iraq's Mosul (Al-Jazeera, 22 July 2014)
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18 July 2014

Why evangelicals’ love for Jews is a case of unrequited love


Excerpt:
Evangelical upwelling of philo-Semitism seems to have little to do with actual Jewish people, and more to do with Jewishness as an abstract theological concept. A lot of evangelical support for Israel, for example, grows out of certain strains of dispensationalist theology, in which the Jews’ return to Israel is seen as a prerequisite for the Second Coming. ... When evangelicals speak about Jews this way, they shouldn’t be surprised if their love goes unrequited. At its core, philo-Semitism has much in common with anti-Semitism. Both approaches view Jewishness as an abstract monolith, and both endow Jews with particular historical roles — roles, it seems, that are rarely of the Jews’ own choosing.

13 July 2014

As Parents Age, Asian-Americans Struggle to Obey a Cultural Code


Excerpts:
In a country that is growing older and more diverse, elder care issues are playing out with particular resonance for many Asian-Americans. The suicide rate for Asian-American and Pacific Islander women over 75 is almost twice that of other women the same age. In 2012, 12.3 percent of Asian-Americans over 65 lived in poverty, compared with 9.1 percent of all Americans over 65. Nearly three-quarters of the 17.3 million Asians in the United States were born abroad, and they face the most vexing issues.

Language barriers and cultural traditions that put a premium on living with and caring for the elderly further complicate the issue at a time when the population of older Asian-Americans is surging. According to the Administration on Aging, an agency of the Health and Human Services Department, the number of Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders over age 65 is expected to grow to 2.5 million by 2020 and 7.6 million by 2050, from fewer than one million in 2000.

The Problem With Little White Girls, Boys and Voluntourism


Excerpt:
Before you sign up for a volunteer trip anywhere in the world this summer, consider whether you possess the skill set necessary for that trip to be successful. If yes, awesome. If not, it might be a good idea to reconsider your trip. Sadly, taking part in international aid where you aren't particularly helpful is not benign. It's detrimental. It slows down positive growth and perpetuates the "white savior" complex that, for hundreds of years, has haunted both the countries we are trying to 'save' and our (more recently) own psyches. Be smart about traveling and strive to be informed and culturally aware. It's only through an understanding of the problems communities are facing, and the continued development of skills within that community, that long-term solutions will be created.

Decolonizing Yoga


Abstract:
Decolonizing Yoga highlights the voices of queer people, people of color, disability activists and more in relationship to yoga and countering oppression in general.

Scandal contorts future of John Friend, Anusara yoga


Excerpts:
At his best, when a crowd of hundreds of students extended their limbs before him or drew deep breaths with their eyes closed, John Friend could captivate minds and shape bodies. Students spoke of melting beneath his touch. In a gentle voice, he urged them to reach for something beyond the physical, something that extended past the poses they perfected on their yoga mats and embedded into their everyday lives. “It’s all yoga,” he would say.

He became a superstar, a jet-setting international celebrity of boundless ambition who had invented Anusara, a yoga style that combines rigorous physical poses with a philosophical framework, strict ethical standards and an emphasis on building a worldwide yoga community. He touched down in European and Asian capitals or headlined American yoga festivals trailed by an entourage and a traveling retail outlet. When class ended, the parties often began, “happenings” where his adoring fans drank beer and cocktails and listened to Friend read poetry as costumed performers roamed the room.

“Kind of a lovefest. Kind of a party,” April Ritchey, a California-based Anusara instructor, called it. “People really got addicted to being a part of this.” Friend achieved “kind of a new thing: yoga rock-stardom,” said Joe Miller, the owner of Willow Street Yoga in Takoma Park and Silver Spring, until recently the world’s largest Anusara-affiliated studio.

Friend’s empire — an international network that claims more than 1,500 teachers, including 25 in the Washington metro area, and 600,000 students — is in crisis now, teetering under the strain of a sex scandal that has split its most loyal practitioners and prompted an astounding venting of emotions, from rage and recriminations to compassion and sadness. 

Like it or not, Western Yoga is a Textbook Example of Cultural Appropriation


Abstract:
Yoga furnishes a textbook example of lifting something from another tradition, branding it as “exotic,” diluting and twisting it, and then calling it our own.

Why Your Yoga Class Is So White

Why Your Yoga Class Is So White (The Alantic, 8 July 2014)

Excerpt:
Thick, glossy copies of LA Yoga, Yoga Journal, and Yoga Magazine cover the rickety folding table in the lobby of Green Tree Yoga and Meditation. The magazines share tales from Malibu, Santa Monica, and Pasadena. Nearly every spread features a thin woman, usually in slim yoga pants and a tight tank, stretching her arms toward the sky or closing her eyes in meditation. Nearly all of these women are white.

But in South Los Angeles, where Green Tree opened last year, fewer than one percent of residents look like the people in those pictures. “You can look at all those journals and you'll not see one woman of color,” said Raja Michelle, herself a white woman, who founded the studio. “We associate yoga with being skinny, white, and even upper class.” “You go to classes and you’re the only black person, or there are very few,” said Robin Rollan, who practices yoga in New York and D.C. and runs the popular blog Black Yogis. “People who find my blog say, ‘I thought I was the only one.’”

The magazine images may seem like stereotypes, but they’re grounded in reality: About one in every 15 Americans practices yoga, according to a 2012 Yoga Journal study, and more than four-fifths of them are white.

Defiant Hobby Lobby Supporter Inadvertently Recreates Iconic Gaza Jihadist Image


Excerpt:
Holly Fisher is a right-wing online agitator who posted the photo on the left above last week after a similarly in-your-face image taken in front of a Hobby Lobby went viral. Her pose was soon compared to the image at right of Reem Riyashi, a mother of two from Gaza who killed four people and herself with a suicide bomb in 2004.


04 July 2014

Behind the Civil Rights Act: How it was made and what it means today


Abstract:
It’s been 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Since then, the country’s demographics have shifted, and the conversations about race and culture have continued. In this project, journalists, lawyers and civil rights activists explore the historic legislation— pulling the language out of history and telling us how it’s relevant today.

Buy a discount maid at Singapore's malls

Buy a discount maid at Singapore's malls (Al Jazeera, 27 June 2014)

Excerpts:
Go to the Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, a 1970s mall in central Singapore, and you will find five levels of brightly lit rooms and galleries called "Homekeeper" and "Budget Maid". Inside these rooms, dozens of women sit in a listless, artificial silence. They nod respectfully as you enter, and some watch closely as you speak to staff. You might take one home with you - for two years, or longer. The women, domestic workers, come from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Myanmar. They sit beneath garish signs and posters, testifying to their friendliness and industriousness, or advertising "super promo" rates and "special discounts".

Some "maid agencies", as they're known locally, display women at work. Along one aisle, domestic workers push each other around in wheelchairs, as though they're taking care of the elderly. In another gallery, a woman cradles a baby doll and pretends to change its diapers. Others stand in mock living rooms ironing the same shirt, or making the same bed - scenes enacted elsewhere in Singapore at malls like Katong Shopping Centre on Mountbatten Road.