Accepted paper:

No Jobs for Jobs: Please Donʹt Send UsYour Tired, Hungry, Yearning to be Free (Anymore)!

Author:

Brackette Williams (University of Arizona)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will examine 1) current meanings of contribution discourses, 2) the place of suffering and adversity in the making ethnic moral capital, and 3) connections between these presumptions and moral access to different forms and conditions of labor.

Paper long abstract:

Morally worthwhile immigrants are presumed to be fleeing horrible home-country conditions. New arrivals have been expected to willing, humbly, and gratifully accept horrible living conditions in countries that call themselces hosts. Seen as members of racial groups, making ethinc cultures, it is further presumed that, for generations, these arrivals ought to suffer the worst jobs and worst living conditions in host countries. This now frozen constellation of presumptions—long operating as contribution discourse to justify social order as a moral hierarchy—informed US President Donald Trump's January 2018 questioning of why the United States was accepting immigrants from what he termed shit-hole countries instead of from countries, such Norway, from which the immigrants, he claimed, could be expected to contribute to growing the US economy, and, no less important, to happily assimilate to US culture. At the same time, the debate over passage of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), produces claims that because they have not suffered to contribute, these individuals are thieves of US patrimony. Taking the US as case in point, this paper will examine: 1) current meanings of contribution discourses, 2) the place of suffering and adversity in the making ethnic moral capital, and 3) connections between these presumptions and moral access to different forms and conditions of labor.

panel P144
Laboring racialization in the lived experience of settling, moving, and making place