Globalization: Immigration and Race in the Modern Day

Hey there, BUIAA! Come join us for this week’s Global Insights discussion, on Wed. September 19th, at […]

Hey there, BUIAA! Come join us for this week’s Global Insights discussion, on Wed. September 19th, at 7:30 pm, in Photonics 203.

Up on the agenda, an exciting discussion entitled Globalization: Immigration and Race in the Modern Day.

Some background!

Racial and ethnic division is no new phenomenon. Since the first civilizations formed, a sense of an “other” prevailed in uniting clans and families. Loyalty and imagined community proved important for the great empires to expand, conquer, and prosper.

Speed forward 1000 years, and society’s definition of race intrinsically wove itself into the norms of wealth, prestige and honor. Colonialism was one obvious extension of racial superiority, but divisions remained within societies as well.

Fast-forward yet another couple hundred years to today, and we see a vast increase in the speed at which humans can communicate with one another. Technological innovations have grown the world economy, and the transportation sector is one that has vastly improved in recent decades. Mass immigration is another phenomenon that is nowhere near “new,” but the pace and implications of immigration have grown. Along with this, are the time periods immigrants stay in their host country, as well as their level of integration there too.

In this discussion, we are aiming to talk about the issues of immigration and race in the modern day. We will focus on trends of migration, as well as racial and ethnic discrimination (both de jure and de facto), and its place in an increasingly globalized world.

The following sectional outline (and the included links) are provided for you to get some background before our meeting!

History: Colonialism, Liberalism, and Independence 

Colonialism posed an obvious extension of racial theories overlaid on economic motivations. Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” highlighted the superiority felt  by developed Western nations, as well as provided the rationale for some of the first racially based global migrations. Without a doubt too, the colonialism that occurred certainly entrenched European racial strata in the “New World”.

It’s effect is evident in the long history of conflict between the ideals of equality in national liberation movements, and the reality of continued social discrimination despite the rhetoric proclaimed.

Where We Stand Today: Domestic Race and Ethnic Discrimination

Internally, racial and ethnic discrimination is still a problem for many diverse states in today’s world. Despite large progress, and perceptions of having already found solutions, problems still exist. Not only that, but they are the cause of much domestic turmoil for governments and people across these afflicted countries.

Perhaps surprisingly, domestic discrimination is particuarly prevalent in many of the American republics of the Western Hemisphere. While this is largely a result of the colonial stratification and mixing of races in centuries past, it still poses troubles for today that need to be dealt with. Below are some articles on two case studies for our discussion, Brazil and the United States.

The former is similar to the US in racial variances, but has a completely different system for the categorization of these groups.

And while the latter is supposedly “color blind” since the election of black President, Barack Obama, racial concerns irrevocably still plague the US today. This is evidenced by the promotion of legislation like the Dream Act, and the problems it tries to address. (Text below)

Brazil –

United States -

Where we stand today: Globalization and Implications of Immigration

As mentioned before, immigration is not a new phenomenon. The individual and mass movements of peoples have long colored global history, and continue to do so. The largest changes that have occurred through globalization and modernization, however, are its pace and duration.

In previous eras, moving across the world to pursue dreams of freedom or economic betterment meant a complete sever from your homeland. Enclaves of ethnic groups existed in major cosmopolitan cities, but integration was emphasized, as was a common feeling of a fresh start.

Today, however, immigrants may continue to chat with their families at home, buy food from home, and create separate communities. As a result, there is a prevalent trend of non-integration, which is caused by both immigrant groups wishing to maintain their identity, as well as host nations desire to maintain their national identity. Because of this, immigration is not always a permanent move anymore.

In addition too, economic concerns influence the heart of the matter, and policy, when these concerns are on the agenda.

Below are some regional case studies that elaborate on the trends mentioned above. In both regions featured, questions about the role of migrant workers abound, and more broadly, concerns over national identity in the face of ethnic variation are prominent too.

Middle East and Africa –

Europe –,,

Further information and some starting points to consider will be provided with a presentation at the discussion. We hope to see you there!