paid domestic work

Essay by siastomproCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2014

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Paid domestic work in the United States has become historically characterized as racialized labor throughout the development of this country. The relationships between domestic employees and employers have always been tied to racial meaning. These meanings include the "white master", who is depicted as superior, and the racial-ethnic "servants or maids", who are cast as socially inferior. Doméstica, written by Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, outlines how the American legacy of occupational racialization has progressed, focusing on immigrant Latina women in Los Angeles. The author concentrates mainly on the views and experiences of the common domestic labor of these immigrant women, which is categorized into three titles: live-in nannies/Housekeepers, live-out nannies/housekeepers, and housecleaners. An historical pattern of racialized labor can be drawn from the Asian immigrants coming through Angel Island trying to find labor in the early 1900's all the way up to the late 1900's with Latino immigrant women working domestic jobs.

Many similarities of the racialized labor these groups have faced can be concluded considering the historical stigma attached to them.

In class we learned about the process of Asian immigrants being associated with low class, low skill jobs when they came to America in the early 1900's. During the time when the new Asian immigrants were trying to find waged jobs, the last thing that the American labor force wanted was racialized competition from these immigrants. The Asians were essentially driven out of this labor force and were forced to go into degrading niches that were looked down upon, like foods and services. These kinds of services were in high demand and needed to be fulfilled so this was the best option for the poor Asian immigrants. These jobs were looked down upon and known as unwanted labor so they soon became reserved for the Asian immigrants. The Chinese...