The presence of ethnic media sources is a reflection of the Texas' population and demographics, as is evident from the high number of Spanish and African American outlets.
This is in line with the national trend as Hispanic and African American publications make up half the ethnic press in the US. Such sources in Texas include Al Día Dallas, the largest Spanish language newspaper in North Texas with an average weekly distribution of 250,000, and the Houston Forward Times, an African American award-winning and historic weekly newspaper which boasts a paid circulation of roughly 65,000.
African American media provide a unique perspective and direct line into their community. For example, the philosophy of the weekly Dallas Post Tribune newspaper is: “The Black Press believes that America can best lead the world away from racial and national antagonism when it accords to every man, regardless of race, color or creed, his/her human legal rights. Hating no man, fearing no man, the Black press strives to help everyone in the firm belief that all are hurt as long as any are held back.”
However, Texas is also home to other ethnic groups, many of whom speak languages other than English. According to the 2009-2013 American Housing survey, of the nearly 24 million people in Texas five years or older, 65 percent speak only English at home. The rest speak more than 160 languages combined. The top three languages spoken in Texas other than English are Spanish (6,983,380), Vietnamese (193,408) and Chinese (140,971). Rounding out the top ten other languages in Texas are Tagalog, German, French, Hindi, Urdu, Korean and Arabic.
By monitoring ethnic media sources, MIREMS removes language and cultural barriers so that non-English speaking communities can be heard, offering insight into how and what they think about a range of social and political issues.
All ten of these languages are represented in the ongoing sample of ethnic media sources that MIREMS has compiled in Texas. The sample contains 64 sources covering 13 language groups: African, African American, Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, German, Korean, South Asian English, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu and Vietnamese. Most prominent are the number of Spanish (15), Vietnamese (11), African American (9) sources.
The number of Asian sources reflects the fact that the percentage of Asian immigrants to Texas has more than doubled in recent years, from 17.3 percent in 2005 to 40.4 percent in 2013. For example, DKNET Radio AM 730 broadcasts Korean language programming to more than 100,000 Koreans every day in Dallas and nearby areas. Founded in 1976, the World Journal is the most influential Chinese-language newspaper in North America and is published in various major US cities including Dallas.
Urdu is also represented in MIREMS’ sample with six sources in Houston, including the Urdu Times, which is North America’s first Urdu newspaper as well as the largest circulated Urdu publication in the world outside of Pakistan. It simultaneously publishes out of multiple US cities including Houston.
For the South Asian community, Sangeet Radio celebrates a leading position in Houston and surrounding areas as one of the longest running, multicultural radio programs of its kind. Its distinct programming reaches out to over 500,000 listeners throughout Houston and the city’s surrounding areas. According to The Express Tribune, the first internationally affiliated newspaper in Pakistan, “What truly sets Sangeet apart is its dedicated hour-long political show, which has been launched keeping in mind that the US elections are right around the corner.” Saeed Gaddi, who started Sangeet Radio in May 1997, explains: “From 7 to 8pm, we have a political show to accommodate American politicians, both local as well as congressional candidates, so that they can talk about the community’s issues.”
Many other ethnic media sources are also expressing their political opinions, including the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, established in 1852 as the first German newspaper in Texas. It published an opinion piece in January of this year titled “Democrats have good candidates”, discussing how U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke held livestream events all over the state and saying “there’s much for Democrats and other progressives to be excited about” in the New Year.
Our sample collection of ethnic media sources in Texas includes 40 newspapers: 4 monthly, 1 twice monthly, 25 weekly, and 10 daily. This means that, out of MIREMS’ sample list, 95 ethnic newspaper issues are published each week. The remaining 24 sources are websites, TV and radio programs. As shown by the population demographics in Texas, the state’s ethnic media sources are worth paying attention to in order to listen to voices the communities which are making themselves heard in multiple languages.
As Florida’s population continues to rise—scheduled to reach 26 million by 2030—and some cities and counties already exist as minority-majority communities, it’s no surprise that the means of communication in those communities is becoming more and more important. Not just for those living in the communities, but anyone hoping to work with, influence, support, learn from or communicate with them.
More than 27 percent of Floridians speak a language other than English. And it’s more than just Spanish.
In Hallandale Beach, 25 percent of the cities 40,000 residents speak a language other than English or Spanish at home. It’s projected that 6.2 million Floridians will speak a language other than English at home by 2030.
From Russian papers with no online presence, Haitian weeklies stacked in corner stores and pirate radio stations, there’s a huge presence of ethnic media and the diverse voices they carry in the state of Florida.
Florida is home to the US’s second highest Russian population with 260,000 people. Sunny Isles, which has a weekly Russian newspaper called Express Courier, has seen many Russians arrive over the past 20 years and it has experienced an increase in recent years due to conflict in the region.
Little Haiti, aka “Lemon City”, has a large population of Haitian exiles as well as other Caribbean immigrants. Haitian-Creole is spoken widely in the area.
Florida’s largest language increases have come from Middle-Eastern languages like Pashto, and Asian languages have seen a 47 percent increase from 2005-2015.
Two main ethnic groups, Latino and African American, make up almost half of the ethnic press in the US. Florida also contains a large number of Spanish media, including well established daily newspapers such as El Nuevo Herald (with a circulation of 48,079) and Diario Las Americas weekly.
The African American newspapers include the likes of The South Florida Times and The Miami Times (with a circulation of 80,000).
MIREMS sources comprise of upwards of 250 ethnic media editions or broadcasts published or produced every week.
Written by Caora McKenna
Multilingual and ethnic media join the discussion surrounding March For Our Lives
When 17 children were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, the usual, rehearsed national mechanisms were triggered. News coverage, outrage, grief, public acknowledgement of pure tragedy of losing young lives, and plenty of #thoughtsandprayers.
But this time, something was different. A perfect storm perhaps, where students and teachers had been engaging in meaningful conversation about gun control, even on the day that 17 of their classmates would be killed by an AR-15. It could be the fact that the US saw their largest mass shootings in decades in 2017, helped by the fact that the average income for parents living in the district was around $130,000 a year--meaning these kids were educated and felt empowered.
Regardless, the Parkland students have started a national movement, acknowledging their privilege and working hard to include youth from minority communities who face gun violence every day. They made a call for action, and their actions rose to a force this past weekend across the country and around the world, as millions of youth and adults joined student leaders in over 70 “March For Our Lives” events.
After the shooting in Parkland, ethnic media across the country took part in the conversation, which has only grown in volume and weight since then.
As students painted their posters and packed their bags in anticipation for the March—happening not just in Washington, but cities from coast to coast—ethnic and multilingual media were publishing editorial, opinion and feature stories.
Hoy Los Angeles spoke with Edna Chávez, one of 15 students from LA to attend the march in Washington. Her “goal” she said, was to “draw attention to a wider type of violence, one that permeates her community almost every day.” This point of view was expressed often in ethnic media from Spanish or African American communities.
Reports from all languages across the country covered the events of the day. The figures stating the number of attendees wasn’t always consistent, but the message these students set out to share was being heard: Better gun control, now. Italian La Voce di New York said you’d have to go back to the Vietnam war to see protests on this scale. Voice of America Urdu called the marches “some of the biggest US youth demonstrations for decades.” And described the the whole day, including the moment when Pro-Trump counter protesters arrived at the end of the rally in New York, as “what democracy looks like.”
There was coverage of celebrity appearances and shutouts, from Obama and Hilary Clinton’s tweet of support, to mentions of Amy Schumer. But the majority of coverage was focused on the students and their messaging.
The Epoch Times reported on the White House applauding the students and activists saying “keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President” and cited a poll saying that 53% of Americans said protecting people from guns is more important than protecting their right to own arms. However, in Hoy Los Angeles, authors Michael Livingston, David Savage, David Montero criticized the governments’ lack of support for the students saying “Neither President Trump nor the Republican-controlled Congress support the students' proposals to ban assault weapons and high-capacity devices,” adding that “Trump was not at the Capitol to hear the roar of the march and the students' speeches, as he spent Saturday at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida.”
New York’s The World Journal, a Chinese source, was among the outlets reminding readers of the “serious differences” among Americans around opinions on gun control. Sing Tao Daily in San Francisco quoted David Farmer from Maine who had lead gun control efforts back in 2016, warning that the argument was lost “at the kitchen table, the bar and the bowling alley." Adding that "The gun enthusiasts eventually persuaded people to their side in one-on-one encounters with their friends and relatives and neighbors.” A commentary in La Voce di New York by Vito De Simone predicts all the effort will be “for nothing.” Saying that “the problem is the government has fallen into the hands of powerful interests.” Absent from the coverage, however, were any strong pro-gun sentiments in editorial and opinion pieces, as well in news reports.
Reflecting upon the impact of the marches Voice of America Ukrainian reported “Among the issues facing the organizers and participants of the march will be how to translate a one-day event, regardless of the number of participants, into meaningful legislative changes. Similarly, an editorial from Miami’s El Nuevo Herald heeds the same warning. Saying that “a difficult and uphill path follows.” It continues to say that “the NRA has a lot of money” and guns are going to stay on the streets, whether they are legal or illegal. “Life is going to go on,” the editorial says “which creates the possibility that the revolution will lose momentum.”
Sing Tao USA out of New York reported on a more hopeful effect of the March, saying that normally the NRA controls the discussion on gun control, but now that political discussions have started, voters can take “the details of the gun bill into further considerations, and the situation changes.”
As students returned to their homes and classrooms this week, it is possible that the adults doing the reporting were unable to feel and communicate just exactly all they were feeling. After speaking in Washington on Saturday, Edna Chávez added to her comments that in her community in South Los Angeles gun violence has become “normal.” She said that she and her classmates have committed to putting an end not only to the mass shootings, but also to the violence that families suffer from day to day.”
As this issue remains in the forefront of Americans’ minds, there is great value in listening to these communities, especially Hispanic and African American, for whom the issue of gun violence is a “normal” part of their daily lives.
Edna Chávez from South Los Angeles' speech. She talked about gun violence being 'normal' in racialized communities like hers.
A month ago, MIREMS reviewed how ethnic media is discussing immigration reform in the US. We saw how immigration reform was widely seen as a divisive wedge issue and how, contrary to the perception that it mostly affects Hispanics, each ethnic minority feels the impact on members of their community.
With the March 5 deadline for an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program come and gone - thus rendered merely symbolic by court action - there is still no permanent solution for the Dreamers in sight. In fact, the deadline passed almost unnoticed in the ethnic media, where not only the Parkland shooting and calls for gun control but also reports on Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) raids and abuses, Trump's war on sanctuary jurisdictions, and growing fear of deportation in the immigrant community dominated the news.
The national Spanish TV station Univision has almost daily reports on raids by immigration authorities and their impact on the Hispanic population. Many immigrants, even with legal papers, are afraid to drive, take public transit and go to work after news spread that ICE was conducting operations on buses and at work places. "A nut factory outside Fresno lost 5-10 percent of its employees when a raid was announced, even though the employer checks all employees' status on e-Verify as required" (Univision, New York, 1 Mar. 2018).
While the Hispanic weekly La Raza denounced that ICE was targeting Dreamers for arrest (La Raza, Chicago, 6 Mar. 2018), the weekly Hoy Los Angeles criticized immigration authorities for separating children from their parents at the border as "cruel and unnecessary" (Hoy Los Angeles, 5 Mar. 2018).
Univision reported that only 2,000 out of 11,000 unaccompanied minors who filed asylum claims were accepted because many are unable to articulate their legitimate fears well enough (Univision, New York, 1 Mar. 2018).
The Vietnamese daily Viet Bao reported on an incident where 92 Somalis were shackled at the wrist, waist and legs for over 48 hours during their deportation, were not allowed to use the rest room and were beaten and threatened (Viet Bao, Los Angeles, 7 Mar. 2018). Also according to Viet Bao, Vietnamese immigrants across the country have filed a lawsuit alleging US authorities are rounding them up and holding them in detention facilities for deportation even though Vietnamese immigrants who came to the US before 1995 cannot be deported (Viet Bao, 1 Mar. 2018).
The national Chinese daily paper Sing Tao reported on the conflicts between mayors of sanctuary cities like Oakland and New York on the one hand and national authorities on the other. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned undocumented residents of an ICE operation in 77 California businesses and identified ICE activities as a tactic to create fear (Sing Tao USA, New York, 26 Feb. 2018). Chinese organizations, including Chinese For Affirmative Action and Chinese Progressive Association, participated in a demonstration outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in San Francisco in solidarity with the more than 10,000 undocumented Chinese migrants in San Francisco (Sing Tao Daily, San Francisco, 1 Mar. 2018).
The expiration of the DACA deadline was reported in Voice of America Vietnamese, which noted that options for a resolution were "on the back burner" and the White House apparently expecting a Supreme Court victory (VOA, Washington, DC, 6 Mar. 2018). The weekly Russian Bazaar was hopeful that the court rulings meant that DACA beneficiaries could renew their permits indefinitely, would not be deported and would eventually get permanent residence, even if it is under the next president (Russian Bazaar, New York, 28 Feb. 2018).
However, Spanish media including the Miami daily El Nuevo Herald did not believe President Trump's assurance that Dreamers "don't need to worry" about deportation and feared that their migratory limbo could be "lethal in the anti-immigrant era of Trump" (El Nuevo Herald, Miami, 6 Mar. 2018). Hoy Los Angeles and La Raza reported on high rates of anxiety and depression among Latino parents and adolescents and avoidance of medical attention, police help and social services support due to fear of immigration authorities and family separation on the part of both legal and undocumented residents (Hoy Los Angeles, 1 Mar. 2018; La Raza, Chicago, 2 Mar. 2018).
Meanwhile, Haitian and African American media focused on a lawsuit by Haitian and Salvadoran immigrants who claim President Trump's cancellation of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans was racially motivated (South Florida Times, Fort Lauderdale, 1 Mar. 2018, and Haitian Voice of America, Washington, DC, 2 Mar. 2018).
While the DACA deadline passed with little notice or end in sight, immigration issues remain a central preoccupation of the ethnic media. Each community has its own concerns and perspectives, which are reflected in the papers, websites, radio station and TV programs they turn to for news, analysis and perspectives relevant to their own lived experience.
At MIREMS, we continue to tap into these voices, and make them accessible to decision makers. For immigrants - undocumented or not - and their families, raising their voices is more imporatant now than ever.
MIREMS chooses a story from our daily advisory reports to share on our blog.
These cross-cultural translation summaries are a first hand look at what ethnic and multilingual media are reporting on across the country.
Source: El Nuevo Herald is a print and online news source serving the South of Florida.
March 5 has arrived. It's the arbitrary "expiration" date for DACA, which President Donald Trump artificially set. And although the recent decisions of the courts, including the US Supreme Court, allow DACA beneficiaries to continue renewing their permits, perhaps for months, the big question is if the Dreamers who lose their protection or those who don't have it will become targets for detention or deportation by an out of control Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Let's recall that Trump and his administration have repeatedly said that contrary to other undocumented immigrants, Dreamers "don't need to worry", because they will not be a target for deportation. But with the harshly anti-immigrant stance of this administration, who can trust in Trump and ICE? No one. National attention is currently focused on other matters such as gun control following the Parkland shooting. Sadly, just like on other occasions, immigration and DACA are like a bride abandoned at the altar, all dressed up and nowhere to go. As DACA's future is debated in the courts, the reality is that the Dreamers, with or without DACA, continue to be in a dangerous migratory limbo which could turn out to be lethal in the anti-immigrant era of Trump.
Written by Maribel Hastings
Opinion story published March 6 2018.
Beyond mirroring the mainstream emphasis on gun control and mental health, ethnic community media also reflect perspectives that are more prevalent in newcomer communities. Some are shared among them - especially the perception that this was a hate crime - while others are specific to certain communities.
On Valentine's Day, MIREMS’ home state of Florida became the site of one of the world's deadliest school massacres, with 17 fatalities and 15 victims hospitalized.
While mainstream media focused on the course of events, the perpetrator's mental health, the FBI failure to follow up on a related tip and renewed calls for gun control, particularly from student survivors, MIREMS reviewed ethnic media’s response to the incident. MIREMS focused on the opinion, feature and editorial stories — amidst the flood of news stories — that shed light on how unique ethnic groups might experience the tragedy differently.
In the week after the shooting, we compiled 50 articles and broadcasts from the African American, Arabic, Caribbean, Chinese, French, Haitian, Italian, Jewish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian media in Miami, Chicago, New York, Washington (DC), Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.
Opinion stories from all these ethnic communities advocated better gun control regulations. Frustration with prolonged government failure to act, making the government complicit with perpetrators, and the influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA) over politicians are especially palpable in Hispanic, Italian and African American media. Spanish dailies in Miami wondered: "How many times do we have to live through this nightmare? What is failing in the system so that we already have a total of 1,827 deaths and 3,142 wounded from gun shots at this point in the year?" (Diario las Americas, Miami, 16 Feb. 2018). "Once again, a terrible lethal weapon has fallen into the hands of someone who shouldn't have it" (El Nuevo Herald, Miami, 14 Feb. 2018). The Nuevo Herald also ran several articles criticizing NRA donations to politicians.
The sense of outrage with the lack of control on firearms was also felt in an Italian daily paper, La Voce di New York: "How did a 19-year-old orphan expelled from school with known mental problems get an assault rifle and keep it at home?" (15 Feb. 2018). The Afro-American Chicago Crusader pointed out it is "easier to buy a weapon of war in Florida than it is for a woman to get an abortion" and reported that "the NRA is actually investing money in teaching young people how to shoot" (16 Feb. 2018). Afro-American The Miami Times quoted Broward County Vice Mayor Mark Bogen reflecting on how "absurd" and hypocritical President Trump's visit to the victims is because his regulatory changes allow "allow mentally ill people to purchase guns" (16 Feb. 2018). Notably, not a single ethnic media source advocated against gun control or for arming school personnel.
The other common preoccupation in the ethnic media, like the mainstream, was with the perpetrator's mental health. A Spanish daily paper in New York spoke of the Department for Children and Families in Florida releasing a document about Nikolas Cruz showing that he suffered from depression, autism and ADHD, which they considered key to understanding the boy (El Diario, NY, 19 Feb. 2018). One of the national Chinese weekly papers reported that Cruz was an "outcast" who was "crazy about guns" (The Epoch Times, Los Angeles, 15 Feb. 2018). An Arabic weekly paper in New York reflected that "the most bizarre thing in the Parkland crime is that it was expected. The murderer had shown obvious signs of a disrupted psychological, social and family life." The article mused that America's emphasis on "individual freedom" allows everyone to carry guns and to choose their health insurance, which "has deprived millions of Americans of health insurance" and propagates the idea of arming good people to fight armed bad people despite its "obvious foolishness" (Al Hayat Newspaper, NY, 16 Feb. 2018). The national Spanish TV station Univision reports that the shooter's peers "were concerned about the comments he would make" and that Cruz "had been expelled from the school for bad behavior" (Univision, NY, 14 Feb. 2018).
While ethnic media shared concerns with the mainstream American media, they also reflect perspectives that are more prevalent in immigrant communities. Some are shared across communities, especially the perception that this was a hate crime. A Russian weekly paper notes that Cruz was a racist: " Despite his Hispanic roots, he hurled slurs at African Americans and Muslims and had ties to white supremacists" (Chicago News, Chicago, 16 Feb. 2018). One of the Spanish daily papers in New York ran multiple articles on how "Nikolas Cruz hated "Jews, Afro-Americans and immigrants" (Diario de Mexico USA, NY, 17 Feb. 2018) and "was member of a chat room where he expressed a desire to eliminate members of the Jewish, immigrant, gay and Afro-American communities" (Diario de Mexico USA, NY, 20 Feb. 2018). The New York based and nationally influential Jewish daily JTA also reported at length on how "Nikolas Cruz made anti-Semitic and racists comments in a private chat group" (18 Feb. 2018).
Other concerns are unique to one ethnic group. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, served an area that was 30 to 40 percent Jewish, forming a tight-knit local community. Five of the victims were Jewish. Jewish media focused on the vigils and funeral services in the community, as well as responses from community leaders including the sheriff and local rabbis. The national website Chabad.org reported: "Even after the bullets stopped—and the students and adults who were murdered were identified—Chabad rabbis in Parkland, Fla., say the tragedy in their community is just beginning to unfold. 'This is a small community, where nearly half of the population is Jewish, so everyone has been touched by what has happened,' Rabbi Shuey Biston told Chabad.org (15 Feb. 2018). JTA featured Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, the county’s first Jewish sheriff, who led the police response to the school shooting (15 Feb. 2018).
The Ukrainian media also presented a unique angle. In addition to calls for tighter arms control, Voice of America Ukrainian reported that Russian bots had "intensified propaganda" for gun control. " Two days after the tragic shooting at a Florida high school, a large amount of material in support of weapons ownership appeared on Twitter pages. These pages are linked to Russian accounts" (VOA, Washington, 16 Feb. 2018). This contrasts with mainstream reports like those in The New York Times that the bots spread messaging both for and against gun control in order to inflame divisions in the country.
An overview of diverse ethnic media shows that minority communities, who are so often painted as perpetrators but who also bear the brunt of violence in the US, tend to support stricter gun control as well as attention to mental health issues. In addition, they can offer unique perspectives, depending on location and ethnicity, which add value to social, political and economic analysis.
Theses perspectives are made available by careful curation and translation by MIREMS consultants who use their knowledge of both linguistic and cultural differences to perform cross-cultural translation.
Written by Silke Reichrath
Who's in your back yard? Do they want to unrig the system?
The battles and causes you champion are fought for in those multilingual and diverse streets across America. Understanding what is being said and reaching out in those languages gets your voice—and ears—on the ground with them.
If you want to sell, speak the language of the buyer.
MIREMS makes that language barrier transparent.
As a multilingual team, we bring a unique approach to linguistic and culturally diverse media research and monitoring.
From multilingual media research and analysis, to serious media monitoring and support for media outreach campaigns—we bring these voices to the ears who need to hear them, and help you deliver a response.
We're just getting started. Our first stop is the Unrig the System Summit in New Orleans this weekend. We are thrilled to learn more about how we can help #unrigthesystem.
More than one in five Americans speak a language other than English at home. From majority-minority populations in California to small but mighty Brazilian communities in Marlborough, Massachusetts, they make up part of 63.2 million American residents who think and speak and even work in a language other than English.
Over the past month MIREMS consultants dove into these communities via the newspapers and radio stations they use to communicate with each other and the world around them. The headlines that topped mainstream media stories found their voice in the immigrant communities they were talking about. The volatile navigation of immigration reform is having a big moment right now, and the country’s ethnic and multilingual media is certainly along for the ride.
Italian sources focused on President Trump and immigration. The Italian outlet America Oggi from Norwood, New Jersey says Trump’s “wedge politics” which are “pitting illegal aliens and Americans against each other,” keeps the Dreamers issue “controversial.” The source also had regular cover of Russia related issues, and Trumps state of the union address.
Smaller language groups wrote about their place within immigration reform. Chicago’s Polish Dziennik Zwiazkowy, with a circulation of 30,000, called for “The abolition of visas for Poles” as a “matter of honor and national pride.”
A column in a Korean outlet in Atlanta, The Korea Daily says that “a popular perception is that Trump's anti-immigration policy targets mainly Latinos - which is wrong.” The article says “the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been arresting Asian immigrants over criminal records as old as 20 years.” It continues saying “Asian rights advocate groups have been emphasizing that Asian immigrants must make a collective voice against discrimination, as the popular perception of Asian immigrants as a ‘silent group’ undermines their political power in the States.”
A Punjabi source in New York, The Daily Hamdard, joined the “us too” discussion, reporting that 40 percent of foreign born tech workers in Seattle, the home of Microsoft, are from India. Punjab Radio USA, broadcast out of San Jose, also commented on immigration reform noting that among the “6,90,000 undocumented immigrants, who came to the US as minors...are several thousand people of Indian descent.”
Vietnamese source Viet Bao from Los Angeles reported on the pockets of the labor force with large proportions of immigrants, namely construction. The article notes that while the “majority of immigrants originate from Latin America, Hawaii attracts mostly immigrants from Asia.” It warns of sweeping changes in immigration as right now “immigrant workers comprise over one quarter of the work force, the highest ever since the American Community Survey (ACS) first established its tracking records.”
Not to be forgotten, the Spanish media is robust: Sources in Florida and California have larger readerships that some of the country’s largest English publications. As headlines in the past month have been focused on immigration, unsurprisingly, the Spanish media has been highly critical of the current state of affairs. From editorials discussing the “cruel” treatment of Salvadorians in Miami’s El Nuevo Herald titled “In our opinion: The end of TPS demands a humanitarian solution,” to the Diario de Mexico in New York calling it “another hit” to an already troubled group, coverage of the Trump’s cancelling of the TPS was critical and empathetic. Articles offered advice and messages of solidarity.
As immigration remains on the forefront of national and local politics, these local multilingual, often immigrant run media will be paying close attention. The question is whether or not you should be listening to them, too.
Written by Caora McKenna
By Andres Machalski
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads down to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump, we at MIREMS decided to scan ethnic media opinions on Trump, Trudeau and what the new US presidency might mean for Canada. As with the mainstream media, the news reporting was overwhelming, so we had to be selective.
What we selected were primarily opinion pieces, and those that reflected social media input. The rise of Twitterocracy as a form of government seems to have led traditional media sources to look to netizen tweets as a form of editorial opinion, at least in some ethnic media circles, replacing the more traditional editorial opinion pieces written by professional journalists. These reactions played extensively in the Chinese social media both in Vancouver and Toronto, on sites such as 51.ca and BCbay.com, and should be troubling news to the Canadian government.
In contrast to what we read in mainstream media, which seemed to be advice as to what the Canadian Prime Minister should or should not do, and the risks and advantages of confrontation with the American President, the multilingual segment of the Canadian social media and its audience seemed inclined to suggest that Canada stick to its knitting, and deal with problems at home rather than on the international scene, leading us to wonder whether Canada has really escaped the wave of protectionist, isolationist and ultra-nationalist feeling that is sweeping developed nations, or is simply a late bloomer. This poses a challenge to Canadian leadership on the 150th anniversary of Canada’s birth as a nation as it struggles to keep our doors and minds open to trade, immigration and multicultural ideals worldwide.
Understandably, the Afro-Canadian media stood out in its concern about the negative impact of Trump’s policies. During Fitzroy Gordon’s three-hour phone in show on G 98.7 FM Grapevine (Toronto, 22/01/2017), listeners shared their views. Many suggested giving Trump a chance. Some felt it was time for a change, but many regretted the end of Obama's administration, saying Obama had represented Black Americans. The Caribbean Camera (19/01/2017) asked six readers if the world would be a safer place with Donald Trump as President. Three of the six answered in the negative, while a fourth said it was difficult to say, especially as Trump has not provided a detailed foreign policy. One reader accused Trump of promoting segregation and discrimination. Another predicted that the United States will become a Third World country with rampant prejudice against non-Whites. One reader, the manager of an auto mechanic shop, does not believe Trump will ‘look out for Canada,’ just for himself.
Caribbean Camera (26/01/2017) contributor Carlton Joseph analyzed US President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech. While Trump is right to argue for the need for great schools, safe neighbourhoods and good jobs, Joseph wonders whether this means the targeting of minority neighbourhoods and ‘stop and frisk policies’ implemented by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. Joseph also approves of Trump’s stated resolve not to impose the American way of life on other countries. Finally, Joseph says the protest marches after Trump’s inauguration show that the US, particularly the women, will not be ‘fooled with lies and empty promises.’
These views are echoed in the Chinese Vancouver paper Today Commercial News (03/02/2017), where Guosang Chen says that US President Donald Trump's inauguration speech is full of lies and promises that will prove very difficult to fulfill.
Reflecting on Donald Trump’s speeches during the presidential campaign and his inaugural address, some callers on CMR FM 101.3 Radio Pakistan (20/01/2017) said that he will definitely attack Islam. This concern was also central to Harjinder Thind’s talk show (Red FM 93.1 Vancouver, 06/02/2017), on which callers discussed whether minority groups in Canada are facing increased racism and hatred in the wake of US President Donald Trump's controversial immigration policies. Callers expressed their opinions of Trump's policies as well as shared their experiences of racism in Canada. A few callers asked why it is always people from Asian and Muslim countries who fall victim to racism and why they are not considered equal to the mainstream population by some. Some defensively said that not all Muslims and other minorities are bad. One caller said that immigrants and refugees from all communities should integrate well into the country to which they are immigrating and should not impose their own cultural beliefs and traditions like the hijab and the turban. Many said that most racism occurs within the community itself.
The Chinese Readers website (23/01/2017) points out that countless people around the world, especially Americans, said they want to immigrate to Canada, and concludes that many U.S. voters don’t like Trump. BCbay.com (Vancouver, 23/01/2017) tells them that Trump taking office is not scary but if they’re willing to move to Canada, they can also achieve their life goals.
The readers on 51.ca (Toronto, 24/01/2017) are not so welcoming, saying Canada's housing prices will continue to rise. Out of seventeen comments, Dragonok’s opinion that Trump’s "America First" policy will only make the US better and better received five likes. Longago’s comment that none of the Hollywood stars followed through with their promise to immigrate to Canada received twelve. In contrast, HeartSutra felt that Canadians will flock to the US in order to stay away from the Liberal Party’s high taxes and high electricity rates.
On Chinese Readers (Vancouver, 23/01/2017) commentators talked about how Canada is a good neighbour to the U.S. Po Mianao asked why Trump would bother Canada, saying there’s basically a trade balance between the US and Canada, and Canada even accepts refugees from the U.S.
This opinion is echoed in Xin Feng’s column in 51.ca (Toronto, 24/01/2017), who says Trump is neither a risk nor crisis for Canada, but a wake-up call for the Canadian government to think about how to grow the economy without depending on Big Brother, to completely get rid of the carbon tax, and safeguard traditional social values. As for Canadians who are protesting against Trump’s presidency, he says, there is no point. They should actually be focusing on Canada’s own issues!
51.ca (Toronto, 24/01/2017) netizens took the debate on US- Canada relations as an opportunity to lambaste the Canadian government. Of seventeen comments, most are negative and aimed at Trudeau. Xi Fengzong said ‘Prime Minister Potato’ (Trudeau) kept his promise to accept Muslim refugees, charge a carbon tax and keep all the promises that would harm the people. HeartSutra said Trudeau is not on the same level as Trump, seeing how Trump just sends his son-in-law to take selfies with Trudeau. “Trivial” remembers that during the elections, Trudeau criticized the Harper government for following the United States closely, but now he’s following the US even more closely than Harper did.
An editorial in the Canadian Punjabi Post Toronto (24/01/2017) asks to what extent Canada is ready to re-define its trade relations with Mexico to save its trade relations with America, suggesting that the Trudeau government has an opportunity to reverse its trade relations with Mexico by taking advantage of America's NAFTA talks.
Focusing more on trade issues, Ramanjit Sidhu on FM 93.1 Punjabi Morning (23/01/2017) says there seems to be a major contradiction between US and Canadian perspectives. While Trump's statements on trade are based on business and do not see climate change as a big issue, Canada talks about protecting the climate. Trump's 'America First' policy is also a challenge that Canada has to deal with.
Italian newspaper Corriere Canadese (24/01/2017) publisher Joe Volpe says that globalization has worked for the Americans thus far, as has the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, Volpe says Trump has decided to ‘squeeze’ the US’ main trading partners – Canada and Mexico – in order to send a message to his rivals Europe and especially China.
Fairchild Radio FM 96.1 (23/01/2017) Mandarin commentators and international economic and trade experts Xie Jin and Zhu Xinyan said that pulling out of the TPP does not mean that the United States no longer needs trade relations with the countries involved in the partnership. Will NAFTA be next?
Speaking on CIRV FM 88.9 Mandarin (24/01/2017), Teng Jianqun, a scholar at the China Institute of International Studies, believed that Trump is not against trade. He believes Trump just wants to bargain one-on-one to get the maximum benefits. On Dushi.ca (24/01/2017), American and Canadian trade lawyer Hua Na said that Canada doesn’t need to exaggerate the threat, because Trump did not target Canada during his election campaign.
Writing on Dushi.ca (20/01/2017), Chinese chartered financial planner Yang Fan pointed out that the U.S. has a large trade deficit with Mexico, so it’s not surprising for Trump to get his hands on Mexico first. Trump’s border tax will obviously protect manufacturers within the U.S. and punish importers. Consumer products and automobiles are the primary drivers of the U.S. trade deficit. The writer asked if Americans are willing to work the bitter, dirty, low value-added jobs again.
Punjabi CIAO 530 AM Sarang (Toronto, 25/01/2017) suggested NAFTA is not only about trade, but people and services are also involved in this agreement. Any changes may affect 30,000 jobs. At least 36 American states consider Canada as their largest trading partner. Therefore, it will not be easy to cancel NAFTA. Trump is troubled with Mexico's part of this agreement but he has no problem with Canada. The NAFTA renegotiation is expected to be more about Mexico than Canada.
An editorial in the Hispanic Sin Fronteras News (Surrey, 25/01/2017) points out that in addition to the hike in gas prices, Mexicans were dealing with an increase in energy services prices, a lack of gas supply, growing inflation and depreciation of the peso as a result of the measures proposed by Donald Trump even before he had assumed the US presidency. The Trump phenomenon is another one of the factors that has created a perfect storm for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump's continuous comments about the policies that he will implement regarding the Mexican government have caused many difficulties for Peña Nieto as well as a huge fall in the value of the peso.
On CHIN AM 1540 (22/01/2017), Jewish program commentator Mark Adler said Trump will look out for America above everything else and that's the lens by which he will define whatever he does. NAFTA will be re-opened, and Canada has a lot to lose. Harjinder Thind on Red FM 93.1 Punjabi Morning (24/01/2017) said Canada is very concerned about the future of NAFTA, which is responsible for creating thousands of jobs and increasing prosperity in Canada, as the new US president is willing to end the North America Free Trade Agreement.
On BCbay.com (20/01/2017), School of International Studies at Beijing University Dean Jia Qingguo said that Mainland Chinese leaders want to know whether or not Trump’s threats on Twitter were serious. If Trump challenges “One China”, then ties may sever, and military conflict is not impossible.
A Portuguese Correio da Manha editorial says that the United States and Britain have turned their backs on the world and, in contrast, the Chinese president announced at Davos during the World Economic Forum that China will keep its doors open and that it will focus on globalization. “Who would have thought this could happen in the 21st century?” the editorial concludes (Toronto, 24/01/2017).
“Between China and the U.S., which is more reliable?” asks writer Chang An Jian on 51.ca, (25/01/2017). He believes that other countries, especially countries in the Asia-Pacific region, already have an idea. Trump’s “prescription” is shifting from “interfering with others” to “minding your own business.” Another internet user said diplomats are useless for him, since he rules the country using Twitter. Some people are worried he will test out the nuclear button the next day.
U.S.-China issues scholar Diao Daming said Trump is in a rush to get rid of all the arrangements left behind by Obama. Trump wants Americans to see that he’s making changes, because he has been saying that he wants to give power back to the people.
On BCbay.com in Vancouver (24/01/2017), one writer is not sure whether you’d be able to enter the U.S. from now on if you are anti-Trump. Many Chinese people can actually understand this. If you’re entering their country to protest against their leader, then they obviously shouldn’t let you in. There are five comments on this article. Most commentators don’t see anything wrong with what the U.S. custom officers did who refused admission to Canadian protesters. It doesn’t make sense for you to go to someone else’s country to protest against that country’s leader. Echoing false news themes, one of the commentators wrote that there should be a thorough investigation at the border, because most of the terrorists come from Canada. Another commentator agreed with the thorough investigation – “After all, doesn't Canada welcome Muslim refugees and Mexican illegal immigrants?”
An article in the Russian Express weekly (Toronto, 20/01/2017) says that Donald Trump's presidency will be the historical moment of truth, and that great hopes for a government's return to the interests of common people are associated with this presidency. First of all - peace! Ending wars and conflicts: a real fight against terrorists and their employers. Immigration: putting an end to the mass immigration of terrorists and criminals who compromise the existence of civilization. Environment: taking real measures for the protection of the environment. Society: putting an end to gender extremism, taking measures to protect children from sexual abuse and to return to normal moral standards. Democracy: the restoration of civil rights and freedoms violated by totalitarian political correctness. The author concludes by saying that "the global parasites" will do everything to persecute Trump and discourage change, but human nature cannot be infinitely trampled and distorted - the disregard of the interests of common people has gone too far and has become dangerous for everyone.
Not all comments are that favourable to Trump. DuoWei News, quoted on 51.ca (24/01/2017), said U.S. President Trump has been creating “chaos” and this strategy proved to be working for him. Trump will definitely be using this strategy in the future, including in domestic and foreign affairs. In another 51.ca article on Trump's cabinet ministers, Jie Qing Bao (iMarket) said that it appears Trump has moved the entire Wall Street over. “Look at these people: a finance minister with no political experience, a US ambassador to the United Nations with no experience.” Another comment states that Trump has the mindset of a businessman; he keeps his true intentions a secret. This is not only inappropriate in international politics, but it’s also dangerous. If this will be his mindset going forward, then governments in different countries may need to be prepared for the worst.
51.ca (25/01/2017) quotes usqiaobao.com saying Americans can become arrogant again! Trump is admired, because he’s an outstanding businessman. As an outstanding businessman, he dares to talk about anything. Since Trump took office, people’s hearts are racing, because they don’t know what to expect the next day. Trump said that he would “Make America Great Again”. This is too abstract, what exactly does it mean? It means “I get the final say.”
By Andres Machalski