On Immigrants ‘Semi-Adapting’: Self-Defense, Not Resentment

by Robert Moorehead

In all social processes, you have to have the word ‘inclusion’. … without that word, I’m not going to change the world, and they’re not going to change me, because they’re going to have that culture of defense [from me]. Not resentment, but defense.

Lately I’ve been working on a paper for a conference, and I’ve been fixated on an interview with an immigrant father. Juan (a pseudonym) is a Peruvian of Japanese descent who migrated from Peru to Japan more than 20 years ago. Juan expresses his frustration over what he sees as the lack of inclusion of Peruvians and other migrants from developing countries in Japan, in contrast to the greater openness to foreigners from the United States or Europe.

I don’t have a voice (in Japan), and I never will have it, because they (the Japanese) will never know what I think. But, in this case, if an American or someone who speaks English and who has been to school … they’d say ‘Ah, he’s American,’ but in our case, Japanese descendants, all we have the surname and the face. That’s all I have in this society.

Sociologist Tanya Golash-Boza (2006) notes that we learn our place in society through social interaction, including whether to expect inclusion or exclusion. Based on his interactions, a married Japanese man in Japan may expect that his voice will be listened to, and that his relationship with his romantic partner will be valued. In contrast, a member of a subordinate group, such a racial, ethnic, or sexual minority, may learn instead to expect to be ignored, denigrated, or otherwise marginalized. In Juan’s case, he’s learned to expect to be excluded from decision-making at work, to be asked when he’s leaving the country, to have weak relations with his Japanese neighbors, and to be treated as if all Peruvians were alike.

Precisely what are we Peruvians missing in Japan? (Respect, I reply.) Exactly. Because we don’t have it. … We all have different amounts of education, and other experiences, but the Japanese don’t see us that way. They see us all the same. …

Thus, even as many Peruvians in Juan’s housing complex diligently follow the local housing rules and keep quiet to avoid bothering the neighbors, they still risk being blamed when problems occur. As Karen Tei Yamashita writes in her brilliant novel Circle K Cycles:

A tour of Homi Danchi [housing complex] … gives you a sense of an oppressive quiet—the sound of sleeping people who work the night shift, the sound of a silent majority who want very badly to be accepted, the sound of people trying very hard to be quiet. Even the children seem to play quietly. This is as quiet as Brazilians can possibly be. This is probably as ruly as it gets.

And yet, loud music blaring from an apartment will bring suspicions that the offending party is Peruvian or Brazilian. If the guilty party is found to be a Japanese teen, the prior suspicions will still be justified, as one time,  years earlier, it really was a foreigner.

For example, what I see in the factory, the highest position you could get is leader. Leader of who? The Japanese? No. Leader of the foreigners, foreigners like Brazilians, Paraguayans, and others. But here I can’t achieve more, I’m never going to achieve more. I’m never going to be a permanent [employee]. So that whole situation, it’s not resentment toward the Japanese, because my father and mother were Japanese, if they weren’t I wouldn’t be here. But it’s not a feeling of resentment, it’s more that the Japanese need to be more open toward foreigners ….

In a situation like this, how do subordinates respond? How can they respond? Openly complaining about poor treatment risks further marginalization, including having your complaints seen as proof that foreigners are incapable of integrating into social life in Japan—a logical fallacy that confuses cause and consequence and blames foreigners for their own marginalization.

Subordinates can, and often do, resist in many ways, as James Scott notes in Weapons of the Weak. Juan describes avoiding integrating further into Japanese society, saying “they’re not going to change me” and that he has only “semi-adapted.”

What we do is, we haven’t gotten used to it, we’ve semi-adapted. Semi. … I am more included, semi-included, in Japanese society than others. Why? Because of my physical features and my last name (which are Japanese).

This pattern of only “semi-adapting” means that Juan is done trying to fit in. It’s less a sign of resistance than of self-protection. If Japan includes him as a member of Japanese society, and not as a ‘foreign guest,’ then he’s happy to participate. But “you have to have the word ‘inclusion.’”

Whether the second generation will follow this pattern is unclear. Juan’s children are fluent Japanese speakers and envision their future lives as adults in Japan. As Juan notes, such an approach is essential for their future employment prospects in Japan. However, they may still face the stigma of their foreign ancestry.

Here in Japan, I’ve always thought that if you’re thinking of living here in Japan, in my children’s case, with semi-liberty practically (laughs). But they’re going to live here, so they’re going to have to study more, to be able to compete in whatever profession as foreigners with Japanese, because they’re fighting against one thing, that they’re not Japanese.

I’m hoping to decipher the contours of this pattern of ‘semi-adapting’ in a journal article. In the meantime, these blog posts will hopefully stimulate the analytical process, keeping things moving. What other examples are there of this approach? How can we better understand the experiences of assimilation/integration/incorporation of first-generation immigrants?

References

  1. Golash-Boza, Tanya. 2006. “Dropping the Hyphen? Becoming Latino(a)-American through Racialized Assimilation.” Social Forces 85(1):27-55.
  2. Scott, James C. 1985. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  3. Yamashita, Karen Tei. 2001. Circle K Cycles. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press.
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Multicultural Society and Multiculturalism in Europe

Anonymous student post

David Cameron criticized ‘state multiculturalism’ at a security conference in Munich, on February 5, 2011. In particular, he emphasized that it failed to promote a common identity based on certain values such as democracy, the rule of law and equal rights. Therefore, he claimed a stronger national identity was required to prevent violent extremism. Also, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former president Nicolas Sarkozy of France identified with Mr. Cameron’s criticism of multiculturalism. Nowadays, Europe appears to be backing away from multiculturalism, particularly after the September 11 attacks.

With a growing influx of immigrants, multiculturalism was considered as a key to solve problems caused by policies based on assimilation and as a way to promote a harmonious relationship between host culture and immigrant culture. Many European countries conducted their immigration policy using multiculturalism as a way of new social integration. However, the trend of social ostracism against Islam and Muslim has developed connected to national security following a series of several terror attacks in 21C. Their culture and religion are not understood in a multiculturalist way, rather, people think they are at risk because of them. Also, some controversial issues have been brought up constantly since multiculturalism was introduced; whether young Arab women should be allowed to wear hijab in public school, how the honor killing or early marriage of some specific immigrant groups should be dealt with in host societies, and so on.

The question of how to integrate immigrants into a host country has always been a big issue. Neither assimilation nor multiculturalism provides a perfect answer. If assimilation is reinforced, isolation and dissatisfaction of immigrants who are not assimilated will become a social problem. European leaders who have declared multiculturalism will no longer support or focus on shared values and identities not their own cultural traits. However, it seems like they force such integration values from above. In this process, immigrants may experience frustration and exclusion from mainstream culture. On the other hand, if multiculturalism is too emphasized, people like Mr. Cameron think that it is divisive rather than unifying. Also, they argue that multiculturalism intrudes on the national identities of their countries. Therefore, it is important to harmonize the national policies of assimilation and multiculturalism.

What is the best way to integrate immigrants into host countries is the question for European society that needs to be sought constantly. The coexistence of cultures does not mean understanding each other’s culture unconditionally. Of course well-balanced immigration policy can promote coexistence, but social atmosphere that is respecting and compromising towards other cultures is also necessary. The beliefs of each culture should be respected as much as possible, and society needs to reach an agreement by communication and compromise whenever some parts are in conflicts with host culture.

Reference:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12371994

The solution to immigration through failure

by Alexander Austad

Immigrants in Norway make up for about 13% of the population in Norway, and it is estimated that this number will be nearly doubled by 2050.

Since the 1980’s, like many other countries, Norway has seen a huge increase in immigration, meaning that the issues that we are seeing with immigration are still very new. There are questions being asked left and right about how societies are supposed to deal with this, and these questions are naturally often related to jobs, cultural adaption, education and accommodation. Now, we need to figure this out, but it is not at all strange that we haven’t solved everything yet. In fact, it would be strange if we already had everything under control.

It’s amazing what has happened even just the last few years, as everything is changing all the time. It’s hard to keep up with everything, and we are always looking for answers to it all, and we want them as soon as possible, or now, preferably. This thirst (and need) for solutions mixed with something as delicate as immigration creates the part of politics that will leave you with the biggest headache, and as the problem of increasing immigrants is like a ticking clock, it breeds an infinite amount of different opinions. But we need solutions, right?

I’m not saying that we should just drop everything and take a break, but I find that some people’s attitude towards this issue imply that we should already have the answers, and hence that we are failing. We are indeed failing, but not because we should already have the answers. Have we, as mankind, gotten where we are today by intuitively making the right decisions on new issues from day one? No, we have been failing over and over again, and this issue of increasing immigration is no exception.

I just say we keep at it, and as a reply to the German chancellors uttering about German multiculturalism having utterly failed, I say great! Then we can rule out an option that didn’t work and work towards a new idea. This is awfully optimistic, but if you think that this issue should be solved by now, well, that’s just not realistic.

Since the world is so well connected now, we are able to learn from each other’s failure and success, and we see increasing trends in using models from other countries. I am sure we will see working models for immigration, multiculturalism and what have you, but we might have to keep on failing for a few more decades.

Language is the Key to Work

Anonymous student post

According to Rumbaut (2008), there at least 191 million people who are immigrants all around the world. But many of these immigrants work with low paid work, such as blue collar work, even though they may have a university degree. This blog post will mainly focus on Scandinavian immigrants who have higher education and have to accept a low paid work to earn money. What’s the reason behind this?

First I want to introduce a story about a taxi driver who immigrated to Scandinavia. This taxi driver is from Iran with an education in medicine, he was a general practitioner back in Iran but in this new country, he couldn’t get any job as a general practitioner. He applied to many hospitals, but no one replied. In the end he took a job as a taxi driver so he could support his family.

I don’t know if this is a true story or not, I just remember that I read this story in a newspaper one morning ages ago. The main point in this story is that if you can’t speak the language properly you will not be able to get a job that fits your education. This is also very true with second generation of immigrants. 1/5 of second-generation immigrants that attend a university don’t always find a job fit for their education, and are instead forced to take low-paid work. Why can’t the immigrants get higher-paid work? The answer, I think, lies in the language difference. If the immigrants can’t speak or write properly they have it harder to find a job that fits their education.

Many second-generation immigrants attending the university have a hard time using the language fluently (academic writing and speaking), because many of these people lack the advanced vocabulary of the language. Why? I think this is mainly because these immigrants don’t have the chance to use “advanced” words in their daily life, for example, they can perform a conversation with friends that have similar vocabulary, but rarely do they get the chance to use “advanced” words in a “normal” conversation. If they use an “advanced” word in a conversation with friends or family, they may not understand the word and ask for an explanation or a substitute for the word.

But is the language everything? For the taxi driver it meant the difference between low-paid and high-paid work. He couldn’t speak the language fluently and got low-paid work. This is one of the bad sides; the society misses a lot of valuable resources because the immigrants can’t speak the language fluently, and will probably never do either. From this, another question rises, how can the society take advantage of these highly skilled workers even though they don’t speak the language fluently?

Is multiculturalism really a “failure” in Germany?

by Michelle L.

In our class we came upon the quote of the German chancellor Angela Merkel: “multiculturalism has utterly failed”

Unfortunately we did not discuss about the backgrounds and the deeper meaning of this quote. In this post I would like to take a closer look on this topic.

Germany‘s migration image has been changing tremendously since the end of the second world war. As of 2011, 19.5% of the German population had some sort of immigration background, meaning either being born in a foreign country as a non-German citizen or born to a foreign-born parent in German with or without German citizenship. Nowadays, the largest share belongs to the Turkish community (18.5%), followed by Polish (9.2%).

After the second world war, Germany was in need of labour to rebuild the country. People were encouraged to come to Germany and work there. This applies mostly to Turkish immigrants to former West Germany and Vietnamese immigrants to the former GDR, as for being a fellow communist nation. The government did not invest in language training or did not provide any service to make it easier to adopt for the migrant workers, since they were only seen as temporary cheap labour or so-called Gastarbeiter. Gastarbeiter is a German term for immigrant workers who came to Germany between the end of the war and the 1970s. Literally meaning “guest worker”, it refers to the temporary contracts after which the immigrant workers were supposed to return. In recent times this word got quite a negative connotation.

However, many people stayed and brought their family to Germany or married a German spouse. The government was not prepared for this. Since there literally was no effort in integrating the immigrants, those people were tolerated but not integrated in society. This continued for quite some time and the government somehow missed the turning point of Germany becoming a migration country.

Whereas other cities have a “China Town”, parts of Berlin seem like a Turkish parallel world. Even though some families are staying in Germany for the 3rd or 4th generation, many of them keep close ties to their home country and mixed slangs developed.

However, I do not think that multiculturalism has failed – it is the government who failed in creating opportunities to integrate immigrants into German society. It was only in 2005 that Germany introduced compulsory German language courses to immigrants, in case that the do not have sufficient knowledge of German to work. Moreover bilingual primary education only focusses on languages like French, Spanish and English. Most immigrant children therefore attend a regular school, where teachers are not prepared for them. This creates an environment where it is difficult for them to adopt. Since some districts in Berlin have a very dense immigrant population, people are more likely to stay in there national group.

I see Germany, my home country, as a multicultural society. Growing up in Berlin, I shared my class room with people from many different backgrounds. 24% of Berlin’s residents have a migration background and events in Berlin like “Carneval of Cultures” attract thousands of peoples. This percentage is still quite small compared to cities like Frankfurt (am Main), the heart of Germany’s financial sector and the most important international airport in Germany. The city is home to 42% of residents with immigration background.

Nevertheless, many “native” Germans are hostile towards immigrants. As of 2008, a survey found out that 53% think that “Germany has too many immigrants” and 50% think that immigrants like to stay along their fellows. In recent years, attacks on refugee homes increased and the National Democratic Party of Germany (a far-right German nationalist party) still manages to get many votes by promoting to “send all foreigners home”. Even though they were not able take part in any federal government, they are still active on a local level.

Recently, realizing the problem of demographic change (aging society) and the lack of high-skilled workers marked a shift in Germany’s immigration policies. However, it seems like the government is always only approving of immigration if it is in need. I hope that this attitude will change and Germany’s growing multicultural society will be seen as a benefit of our country.

References:
1) BBC News. “Merkel says German multicultural society has failed”. 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11559451
2) Abalı, Oya. “German Public Opinion on Immigration and Integration”. 2009. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/tcm-germanpublicopinion.pdf
3) Statistisches Bundesamt. “Bevölkerung mit Migrationshintergrund – Ergebnisse des Mikrozensus”. 2011. https://www.destatis.de/DE/Publikationen/Thematisch/Bevoelkerung/MigrationIntegration/Migrationshintergrund.html

French citizenship or the anti-communitarianism

by Marin Enault

By studying immigration in the United States, I noticed how much the vision of the migrants was different compared with France’s vision. The history of both countries being completely different, it seems that it influences the conception of the immigration. It seems interesting to compare sociologically these two ideologies as well as their result.

Countries as the United States, Australia or New Zealand built themselves thanks to the colonizing immigrants. This special past is important in the idea which these countries have of immigration: Immigration is always massive, wished, checked and presented as a strength. The multicultural society of the United States is described as a wealth, responding to a logic of market.

The public policies that control the immigration’s flow according to certain criteria: countries, languages, professional qualifications… This “chosen” immigration policy entails the creation of ethnic communities, sharing the same characteristics. In the US we can speak about South American, Asian or Black communities, which are themselves divided into an infinity of national or cultural communities. It is a large-scale communitarianism: the immigrants live parallel existences while sharing the same nationality.

European countries, in particular France, have a different immigration culture. Even if the number of immigrants is important (nearly 160,000/year), France sees the communitarianism as something bad, as a failure of the integration. Partially because this country is the heir of a long republican tradition, France pursues the dream of “republican messianism”: the French nation is one and indivisible: the origin, the color and the culture of an emigrant disappear since he becomes French. So the French state refuses to see ethnic communities on its territory, simply French citizens, without any other criterion of distinction.

To describe this ideal, Ernest Renan spoke about a “national project”, a nation based on the “will to live together”. However, today this myth seems unrealistic : it seems that the French nation, in spite of its historic will, does not integrate any more her immigrants as well as the native-born French people. Although the theory of the communitarianism is always refused by the political elite, ethnic groupings nevertheless built up themselves. The migrants, due to the lack of economic integration, live in the same poor suburbs areas. The myth of a “French-style” citizenship collapsed: the secularism loses its sense when the school holidays are based on the Christian calendar while in certain high schools the majority of the students are Muslim.

France always ideologically refused the creation of subgroups within the French citizenship, however it turns out that the economic reality does not allow any more the same integration for all.

To convince itself, it is enough to look at the exam’s results of the Parisians elite’s high schools compares to the very close high schools, considered as difficult, where the students are mainly sons of immigrants. Not recognizing communitarianism doesn’t makes it disappear, quite the contrary.

References

Costa-Lascoux, Jacqueline : « L’intégration « à la française » : une philosophie à l’épreuve des réalités »

Renan, Ernest. « What is a Nation? »

Are foreign languages a threat to the host country culture and language?

by Glenn Soenvisen

In the mid-90’s a new term, “Kebab-Norwegian,” was coined in Norway; it meant the dialect of the Norwegian language which contained relatively many loanwords from non-western immigrants. This term was soon picked up and used vigorously by the media, where it sometimes was stated as a reason for the deterioration of the “real” Norwegian language. In some extreme cases it was even stated that the verb was put in the wrong place when speaking “Kebab-Norwegian” and female and neuter gender nouns became male. Some even said that it brought unwanted culture into the country, stating that degrading non-western words for “females” were used to refer to females in general. In short, some people perceived “Kebab-Norwegian” as a threat to the “real” Norwegian culture and language. Therefore, we needed assimilation of the users in order to retain our national identity and values.

What I find funny about this, though, is how little basis there are for these utterances. For one thing, “Kebab-Norwegian” is only used in the eastern parts of the Norwegian capital Oslo by immigrant youth and their possible native Norwegian friends; it’s an ethnolect rather than a dialect, and there has been no proof of it spreading to other parts of the country, as is only logical since ethnolects are associated with specific ethnic or cultural subgroups. You could say it is an in-group way of speaking.

And that brings me to another thing worth pointing out: the ethnolect in question is spoken, not written. Sure, users may write it when chatting online through facebook and the like, but those services are closed networks and not available to everyone. Furthermore, even Norwegians may write in their own dialects in such contexts, but it doesn’t seem to affect their ability to write correctly written Norwegian when needed.

Moreover, considering that “Kebab-Norwegian” is almost exclusively used by youths, the users of it are most likely bilingual, or even trilingual, having learned “real” Norwegian from a very young age, as well as English which are being taught from early elementary school level. Keeping this in mind we can take a look at what Alejandro Portes writes in his feature article “English-only triumphs, but the costs are high:” bilinguals outperform their monolingual counterparts in almost all cognitive tests.

In short, immigrants speaking “Kebab-Norwegian” should have no more difficulty in using suitable language to suitable situations on the same level as native Norwegians do. That learning two or more languages at the same time makes for underdeveloped ability in both/all is a thought for the 1930’s.

Besides, even Norwegians themselves mess with the genders of the nouns. I myself use all three genders (male, female, neuter), but in some parts of Norway the female one doesn’t exist. There’s also often the case that nouns can be used as both male and female. What’s more, the new rages in the language debate is that native Norwegian children are more and more using the sound sh [ ʃ ] where kj [ ç ] should be used and, to a lesser degree, using the word hvem (who) where hvilken (which) should be used.

Lastly, it’s not like degrading words for females in general is exclusive to non-western languages. I dare say that bitch is, unfortunately, used extensively in informal spoken English and Norwegian both.

Of course, foreign languages may have influence on the national language and culture, but only in minor ways, such as adding words which we don’t have any words for in our own language, replacing interjections, or introducing new foods. However, this cannot be considered a threat at all. Rather than threatening, the influences enrich and enhance, like an add-on to your browser. If “Kebab-Norwegian” really was a threat, one can wonder why the English influence, which is much bigger, hasn’t made us all speak “Norwish” yet. There is no need for complete assimilation.

Chinese immigrants in New Zealand: A case of educational optimism?

by Yuriko Otsuka

New Zealand is not only known for sheep and agriculture, but it is also known as a country which has a lot of immigrants. The population of New Zealand was about 4,252,277 people in 2010, and in that, the Chinese immigrants were about 85,477 people, which placed them as second among the immigrant nationalities in New Zealand (Peoplemovin, 2010). I stayed in New Zealand for a year since I had an opportunity to study abroad, and when I interacted with my Chinese friends, they told me about their life in China. Their parents had high expectation of their child’s grades, and told me that one of the reasons they came to New Zealand as an exchange student is to avoid the pressures from their parents; especially their mother. Chinese mothers, parents are way strict compared to ordinary Japanese moms and dads.

Tiffany (2007) indicated the reason why Chinese parents encourage their children’s education even though they are out of their home country by saying, high achievement and university degree will eventually lead their child to have a good job, and having a good job “represent the access to financial, professional and life success”. From that we could see that Chinese parents are really strict to their children’s education because they think it is good for their child in the long run. In “Chinese immigrants children’s first year of schooling: an investigation of Chinese immigrant parents’ perspective”, Li (as cited in Tiffany, 2007) said that “Although these [Chinese] families have resided in the new country for several years, they still connect themselves to their motherland and indigenous Chinese cultural values”. These ideas and actions make people call the Chinese mothers “tiger moms”, being strict in order for their children to have high academic achievement.

Considering about tiger moms, people may think becoming like them will enhance their child’s academic achievement, due to the results of Chinese immigrants ranking at the top in the classes in New Zealand. However, we should know that being strict and encouraging children do not mean that the child will achieve high academic scores. Colleen (as cited in Heather and Lois, n.d.) find that 87% of the Chinese students had high expectation towards getting good grades from their parents in New Zealand. However, only 37% said they are achieving their parents’ expectation. From this it is not 100 percent sure whether having a tiger mom is a guarantee of their children to achieve high academic expectation.

Not only having a guarantee of a child having a high academic achievement, but there are some problems of tiger moms in New Zealand. For instance, there is a possibility of a clash between the child and the parent. Similar to the Japanese society, I think the Chinese always makes their child to do work instead of letting them have a break time. I think being in to the slow life in New Zealand may make the Chinese immigrants think whether it is necessary to work this hard? Since I experienced the slow life in New Zealand, I felt like that. Acculturating to the host country will let people know another type of the society where the environment might be the opposite of the motherland. I think it is a good thing to have good grades, and parents to interfere their child’s education. However, interfering too much does not mean that the child will achieve high academic expectations. Furthermore, does not mean that children will become happy by having a tiger mom and achieved high academic expectations.

References

Kao, Grace, & Marta Tienda. (1995). Optimism and achievement: The educational performance of the immigrant youth. Social Science Quarterly, 76, 4.

Kavan, Heather & Lois Wilkinson. (n.d.). Dialogues with dragons: Assisting Chinese students’ academic achievement. Retrieved from http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/fms/Colleges/College%20of%20Business/Communication%20and%20Journalism/Staff/Staff%20research%20files/hkavan_Dialoguing%20with%20dragons.pdf

Peoplemovin. (2010). Migration flows across the world. Retrieved from http://peoplemov.in/

Japanese Education Systems’ Ignorance of Muslim Migrants Children

by Akie Kuwano

Although Japan used to be referred to as ethnically homogeneous, the number of immigrants reached more than 1.5% of Japanese population in 2005. Despite this shift in immigrants’ population, Japanese education system is reluctant to change. In order to keep Japan as secular nation, Japan persists in its principle of separation of religion and education. However, this attitude often creates problems between Japanese schools and migrants parents/children. The problems are mostly evident in the case of Muslim migrants because their religion, Islam, rules not only the realm of their private life, but also their behavior in the public sphere. The main problems those Muslim migrants are facing in Japanese public schools is about school lunch.

One example of Muslim faith conflicting with school lunch in Japanese school is Ramadan. Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, provides that the ninth month of the Islamic calendar as Ramadan, the month of fasting. Many Muslims start Ramadan at the age of 7, just about the time when children start going to elementary school. Although it is medically proved that Ramadan does not cause any medical illness to healthy individual, without having any knowledge some teachers feel it abuses children.

The other instance is Halal food. Islam regulates what followers can eat and cannot eat, according to Qur’an. Food that is compatible with Islamic teaching is known as Halal food, while the others are called Haraam. The most frequently used Japanese condiments like soy sauce or mirin are Haraam because they usually contain alcohol. Accordingly, many of the lunch that Japanese schools provide are Haraam to Muslim children. In order to avoid Haraam foods, Muslim children often bring their own lunch box from their home. Some school view this as unequal to other Japanese children, some school urge Muslim parents to pay for school lunch.

To sum up, it is the lack of knowledge which preventing Japanese schools from handling problems correctly and flexibly with Muslim migrants children. It is understandable that Japan wants to eliminate religion from public sphere because in Japanese sense religion is what governs people’s private life; however, Japan also needs to understand that religion is sometimes inseparable from their public life and is even forming their culture, in which the society needs to pay respect to accommodate population from foreign countries.

References

Mina, Hattori. (2007). “Development of Religious Value for Indonesian Muslim Children in Japan: A Case Study of Voluntary Educational Activities in Nagoya City”, Intercultural Communication Studies, Vol.19

樋口直人、丹野清人「食文化の越境とハラール食品産業の形成―在日ムスリム移民を事例として―」、徳島大学社会科学研究弟13号、p99-p.131

International migration and globalization are connected

by Julia Helbing

When thinking about international migration, it came into my mind that it is somehow connected to globalization and high-tech work.

There are inevitably many poor countries. But in these countries are a lot of high-skilled workers. Because they don’t have the chance to get a proper education or a job in their country of origin, many of these workers go abroad, where they can find proper education and work. But still they take parts of their old life with them; they still want to eat food from their country of origin. So they import it from their home. Some people even opened shops just for the needs of foreign habitants, mostly foreigners, and imported the food they are used from home. As soon as normal supermarkets noticed this, they also started to offer some food from foreign countries, hoping that the immigrants would buy at their supermarket and take some other items with them. I think this is one good reason, why trade with foreign countries started and influenced globalization.

Nowadays, international migration is an all-over-the-world topic. People are going almost everywhere, because they have family in other countries, they already found a job or where they hope to find a job in the future. Many students also go abroad, to add experience and a stay abroad to their life or to learn another language and become fluent in speaking it. If they would find a job, they would also stay in this country and finish their studies there.

But going to a foreign country is really a very big step and should be considered well. When you start a new live in a country you don’t know, or you are not used to the habits, you will experience many difficulties not just concerning the language. In the other country, many things are different to the origin country, people behave different and react different. For example, whenever I go for shopping in Japan, whether it is food shopping or anything else, the employees behave different than German employees. Japanese employees seem to be friendlier, but they sometimes try to avoid speaking English with a foreign costumer. German employees seem to be a bit colder, but almost all of them can speak English or another language fluently. In Japan, you also take off your shoes when entering the fitting room, in Germany, you just keep them on.

International migrant also have strong ties to their home countries. They try to stick to their holidays, want to consume food and drinks from their own countries and they also like to speak their mother tongue at home. Of course they try to learn the language of the host country, but normally they speak it with an accent. When their children are growing, the children usually just use the mother tongue of their parents at home, but speak the host country’s language as soon as they exit the house. They find it less problematic to adapt to the behavior, language and costumes of the host country. The second or third generation of immigrants also loses the connection to their countries of origin more and more. The third or fourth generation can’t even speak the language of their grandparents anymore.

Nevertheless, immigrants have very often to fight against discrimination. Even if they can’t even speak the language of their country of origin, just because they look different, some people don’t see them as for example American habitants, despite they grew up and went to school in America. There are many laws against discrimination, but still a lot of discrimination happens, even in political environment. In Germany for example, one politician, Thilo Sarrazin wrote the book “Germany disestablishes itself” and stated that Muslims are taking away the jobs in Germany.

I think in a globalized world, there should be no space for discrimination. We can buy articles from all around the world through the internet or even in our local supermarket; a lot of foreign people are doing great jobs all over the world. And there are also some jobs that habitants born in one country don’t want to do, e.g. the care of elderly. They are happy that foreign people do this. You could say that some people don’t want to live with foreigners, but can’t live without them.