American Karma: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Indian Diaspora

American Karma: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Indian Diaspora

American Karma: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Indian Diaspora

American Karma: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Indian Diaspora

Synopsis

In the spring of 1996, when numerous reports of bovine spongioform encephalopathy, popularly known as "mad cow disease," coincided with an outbreak of a similar neuropathological disease in humans, a panic spread across Britain, Europe, and subsequently to the United States. Described as "the biggest crisis the European Union ever had," the mad cow controversy raised important issues about the ways in which risks to the public heath are assessed, disseminated, and controlled. Was the "epidemic" merely a failure of management, the lessons of which could be incorporated into a new strategy for dealing with public anxiety? Was it an isolated case of poor decision-making in a highly volatile economic sector, or was it the kind of nightmare that could face any government responsible for public safety? And what role did the media play in exacerbating an already spiraling crisis?

Divided into four major sections-"Scientific/Historical Perspectives"; "Politics as Health"; "Understanding the Crisis"; and "Lessons and Possibilities" - Mad Cow Crisis assembles the perspectives of a range of experts on this strange and frightening phenomenon, with a view to helping us comprehend how and why such crises occur. Both a careful consideration of how we interpret risk and uncertainty and a step-by-step guide to managing public fear, this important book will interest anyone concerned with public health, communication, science, economics, and medicine.

Excerpt

The displacement of millions of migrant laborers, refugees, and professionals from the postcolonial Third World to the First World and the formation of numerous migrant “ethnic enclaves” were among the most important defining features of the twentieth century. Given that currently one-fifth, or 20 percent, of all children in the United States are immigrants (Hernandez 1999), questions related to acculturation and identity are central to the field of psychology. Furthermore, today, questions about migration and the construction of identity are paramount, as the number of immigrants in the United States rapidly increased in the 1990s to “nearly a million new immigrants per year” (Suárez-Orozco and Suárez-Orozco 2001, p. 55). These “new” immigrants present a dramatically different demographic picture from that of the previous great wave of immigration at the turn of the last century. In 1890, more than 90 percent of immigrants to the United States were European, whereas in 1990, only 25 percent of migrants were European, 25 percent were Asian, and 43 percent were from Latin America (Rong and Preissle 1998). This striking shift can be largely attributed to the changes in immigration laws in the 1960s, when several racially motivated “exclusion acts” were eliminated in order to meet the demands of the U.S. labor market (Mohanty 1991). These new immigrants often must struggle with . . .

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