How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Posts of the week: Shahs of Sunset, a 'civil detention center,' coming out undocumented, when people of color go missing, more

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A student activist's t-shirt, December 2010

The past week brought us an ethnic reality TV show that had some readers fuming, a "civil detention center" for immigrants in Texas and a growing movement of undocumented young people going public with their immigration status, among other things.

In case you missed any of the week's highlights, here are a few:

Monday

See 'Shahs of Sunset?' Share your thoughts The controversial Bravo reality show that debuted last Sunday has been infuriating many Iranian Americans. The show is the latest of a series of ethnic reality series similar to "Jersey Shore," following six wealthy Iranian Americans in and around Beverly Hills. The cast members' flashy lifestyles depicted on the show have offended viewers who say the show promotes negative stereotypes. Comments posted by several readers - including a few who defended the show - were posted in a follow-up.

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'Where's your green card?' Mississippi becomes latest immigration battleground state

Yet another Arizona-style immigration bill is moving forward in the South, this time in Mississippi, where members of of the state House approved a strict anti-illegal immigration bill early Thursday. And within hours, at a college basketball tournament game between the University of Southern Mississippi and Kansas State yesterday, members of the Southern Miss Band were chanting "Where's your green card?" at a Puerto Rican-born player from the other team.

Never mind that Puerto Ricans don't need green cards, since they are automatically U.S. citizens at birth. The exchange, by now widely reported, highlights the tension surrounding immigration that's been brewing in Mississippi and surrounding states, including neighboring Alabama, which enacted a similar law in September.

Earlier this month, a Southern Poverty Law Center report that tracked calls to a hotline set up after the Alabama law took effect suggested rising discrimination against Latinos, including taunts of "go back to Mexico" hurled at U.S. citizens. One citizen complained of being asked to provide “American” identification at a store while making a purchase.

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