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The New American ServitudePolitical Belonging among African Immigrant Home Care Workers$
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Caiti Coe

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479831012

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479831012.001.0001

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“Anyone Who Is Not African”

“Anyone Who Is Not African”

The Racialization of the Care Workforce

(p.41) 1 “Anyone Who Is Not African”
The New American Servitude

Cati Coe

NYU Press

Home care is a portal to the American economy for African migrants, but it is one in which they are racialized as African and Black. When Africans come to the United States, they encounter a racialized employment market, in which their Blackness and immigrant status plays a major role in how they are perceived. Because they are desperate for work to support their families, they are valued by agency staff as dedicated and hard-working, patient and respectful. Africans also highlight these qualities when they seek employment. However, their cultural capital as “African” is not considered valuable by patients, who often express a preference for “white” or “American” care workers. This chapter analyzes the ways that care workers are recognized and positioned within the care labor market, and how this recognition makes African care workers vulnerable to exploitation and humiliation.

Keywords:   labor market, racialization, cultural capital, home care, domestic service, social networks

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