Tag Archives: Immigrants

The Golden Girls Character Review: Sophia Petrillo

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Golden GirlsRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from The Golden Girls.  to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to women of a certain age, the impression is that time have taken their toll. At this point in their lives, they are living quietly, without the excitement of their younger years. Sophia Petrillo (the late Estelle Getty) on The Golden Girls proved that women of a certain age do not lose their lust for life just because their younger years are behind them.

Sophia was born in the first few years of the 20th century in Sicily. One of three children, she immigrated to New York as a teenager. After the death of her husband and being hospitalized for a stroke, Sophia moved in with her daughter, Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur).

The stroke took away Sophia’s ability to censure herself. This often led to conversations that ended with Dorothy threatening to send her mother back to the home. “Shady Pines, Ma” was often heard out of the mouth of an exasperated Dorothy.

Though she openly mocks her housemates, Sophia loves them as if they all were her flesh and blood. It is that love that sustains her, especially after Dorothy re-marries and moves in with her new husband.

To sum it up: It would be easy to create a character of a certain age who has taken a back seat to life. It is harder to create the same character, especially if she is female, with the same vibrancy and joie de vivre as a younger woman. Fans of The Golden Girls love Sophia because she is sassy, she is smart, but most of all, she loves her daughter.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Who is Going to Pay For the Wall? America!

Politicians are notorious for making campaign promises that are just that.

During the 2016 Presidential election, you know who made the following statement over and over again.

“Mexico will pay for the wall.”

The reality is that Mexico will not be paying for the wall. America will pay for the wall.

Last week, press reports stated that billions of dollars that were earmarked for various military projects will be used to pay for the wall.

So much for campaign promises. I guess he is a politician after all. Maybe now we have a chance of getting him out of office in 2020.

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Filed under National News, Politics

If You Must Read One Book This Labor Day, Read Common Sense and a Little Fire, Second Edition: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900-1965

In the working world, there are certain things that we are used to: a reasonable wage, a set number of working hours, a safe working environment, etc. But it was not so long ago that it took mass protests and generations of union workers demanding their rights for these to happen.

If you must read one book this Labor Day, I highly recommend Common Sense and a Little Fire, Second Edition: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900-1965 by Annelise Orleck. Telling the story of Rose Schneiderman, Fannia Cohn, Clara Lemlich Shavelson and Pauline Newman, Ms. Orleck tells the story of how four immigrant women created and defined the labor movement for their time and for our time.

I think this book is important to read, especially today, because many of us have off today. We take for granted the rights that we have as employees, especially those of us who are protected and supported by a union. In the time of the women whose stories are told in the book, joining a union and protesting at best meant being professionally blacklisted and at worst, meant a trip to the hospital after being beaten during a protest.

These four women and many others paved the way for the working world that many of us know of today. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing today, if you have a chance to read this book today, I highly recommend that you do.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History

Thoughts on the Latest Immigration Mishaps

Unlike other nations, the United States has a reputation of not being so homogeneous. Most, if not all Americans (unless one is of Native-American descent), can trace their family history to at least one member of their family who was born somewhere else.

You know who and his administration seem to be determined to destroy all that.

Last week, ICE raided several meat processing plants in Mississippi. Hundreds of employees were arrested, many of who are not in the country legally. Among those arrested and detained, a good amount are also parents, leaving their children without a stable parental support system.

Watching these clips breaks my heart. One would have to be inhuman (or without a heart) to not feel something for these kids.

What I find disturbing is that while the company’s owners get off scot free and continue to rake in profits, their employees are targeted for potentially not entering the country legally. And of course, the company had a job fair to fill the jobs that have been left vacant.

One does not risk everything and leave the country of their birth to start over in a new country for shits and giggles. More than a century ago, members of my family left Eastern Europe because of the three p’s: prejudice, poverty and pogroms. The stories of these immigrants may not be the same as my family’s story, but their reason is the same.

To add insult to injury, new immigrants who are currently receiving some sort of public assistance may be denied green cards. Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director Citizenship and Immigration Services defended this decision by rewriting The New Colossus.

America has been and always will be the land of immigrants. It does not matter if one immigrated yesterday, two generations ago, or five generations ago. We are all related to immigrants. Until we appreciate and respect that notion, we will continue to disregard our history and the national ideals that we claim to be proud of.

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Filed under National News, Politics, Thoughts On....

Thoughts On Independence Day

For most of the world, the 4th of July is just another day. But for the United States, is our Independence Day.

I am proud to be an American, in spite of our flaws. I am proud to live in a country in which my rights as an individual are respected. I am free to worship as I choose, to ask questions of my government and freely protest when I disagree with their actions. I am free to speak openly without fear of reprisal. This is the land of opportunity, a country in which someone who is born poor has the potential to die rich.

This is a land that opened her door and her arms to million of immigrants (including members of my own family) who were fleeing poverty, persecution and lack of freedom. This is a land in which generations of soldiers have fought and died for.

This is a land that after speaking of the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.We have and continue to right the wrongs of our past by protecting and opening doors to those who in past generations were denied because of who they were.

Happy Independence Day, wherever you are.

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Filed under History, Misc, Thoughts On....

So Chain Migration Is Only Acceptable When It Comes To Your Family?

Chain migration is defined as follows: “movement in which prospective migrants learn of opportunities, are provided with transportation, and have initial accommodation and employment arranged by means of primary social relationships with previous migrants.”

For many years, chain migration has been the way to American citizenship. One member of a family would come to America, settle in and in time bring over the rest of their family.

You know who has included in his anti-immigration policy the banning of chain migration. Except, that is, when it comes to his own family.

It was announced today that his in-laws have become citizens. They became citizens via chain migration.

So, basically, chain migration, like immigration to the US in general, is bad, Except, that is, when it comes to his family. Then it’s fine.

I hope I am not the only one who sees the complete hypocrisy in this latest bit of news. It just adds one more reason why he is unfit for the Presidency.

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Filed under National News, Politics

The Greatest Thing You Can Do Is Serve Your Country, But Some Are Still Prevented From Serving

Immigrant has become a dirty word in this country, especially since you know who became President.

While the ban on Transgender troops was lifted last year, there are many who are willing and able to serve, but are given the runaround when they present themselves as recruits.

Today, the Associated Press reported that immigrant recruits are being quietly discharged by the military.

Not only is America the land of immigrants, but her military is made up of immigrants or children of immigrants. My grandfathers, the sons of Jewish immigrants, served their country in World War II. One of my great-uncles served in World War I.  Many Irish immigrants fought for the North and the South during the Civil War. Similarly, European immigrants fought for America during World War I. They wanted to prove that they were just as American as any native-born soldier.

The fact is that America has not had a draft since Vietnam. Everyone who signs up for the military is doing so of their own free will.  They know, just as we know, that it is an honorable, but perilous profession.

To potentially put your life on the line to protect the American people, reveals to me at least, the nature of those who join the military. I could say the same thing about you know who, but he did use the excuse of “bone spurs” to get out of serving in Vietnam.

 

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Filed under History, Politics

Thoughts On Last Night’s Syria Strike

Last night it was announced that US, UK and France successfully hit its targets in Syria. The airstrike was in response to the chemical attack on the citizens of Douma last weekend.

While the airstrike does it’s job in sending a message to the Syrian regime, there is a component missing that is ignored at least by the current administration: the Syrian refugees who are being prevented from entering the United States. So far this year, only 11 Syrian refugees have been allowed to enter the country.

Since you know who took office last year, the parallels to Nazi Germany have been spoken of frequently.

In May of 1930, the St. Louis sailed from Hamburg to Havana. Most of the passengers were Jews, looking for sanctuary from the destruction and prejudice they were experiencing in Europe.

To make a long story short, the ship was stuck in limbo. Only a handful of the passengers were allowed to disembark in Cuba. America refused to open her doors to those who were still on board. As a result, the ship has to return to Europe. While some of the allied countries took a few passengers, the rest were sent back to Germany. 254 of the passengers were killed in the Holocaust.

While I cannot disagree that we need to protect our borders, we need to open our country up to those who are suffering the most. Military strikes send a message, but so does opening the door and welcoming a people who have lost nearly everything.

But then again, this administration, like the one that turned away the St. Louis seems not to care.

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Filed under International News, Politics, Thoughts On...., World News