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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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Stories of Servitude

Stories of Servitude

Racial Slurs, Humiliating Insults, and the Exercise of Power

(p.86) 2 Stories of Servitude
The New American Servitude

Cati Coe

NYU Press

Most of the African research participants in northern New Jersey and the Washington DC metropolitan area told stories of deliberate humiliation or diminishment in which their place of origin or Blackness was used against them. Through these interactions and stories about these interactions, African care workers were becoming familiar with American racial categories, in which they were Black, mixed in with stereotypes about Africans as non-human and about immigrants stealing jobs from citizens. These insults incorporated them into American racial categories as “Blacks” and “people of color,” social categories of person that made little sense in their home countries. As a result, African care workers were becoming more sensitive to the experiences of African-Americans. Care workers take stories of racism to be paradigmatic of their experiences in the United States.

Keywords:   racialization, dignity, humiliation, domestic service, slavery, belonging, exit, voice

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