A few days ago, I mentioned to a colleague at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio that our child by virtue of being born in the United States would be a US citizen automatically. The first thing out of his mouth was “Oh, an anchor baby.”
Accidental racism anyone?
For those that do not know what an anchor baby is, it is a derogatory or pejorative term for babies that are born in the USA to foreign national mothers that are not legal permanent residents of the US this is based on US citizenship laws of jus soli (right of the soil). Anchor baby was earlier used for children of Vietnamese immigrants “Fresh off the boat” hence the anchor…but I digress.
The thing is, our child will have the opportunity to choose his citizenship later on from three countries if he so desires. Mexican Mother =Mexican citizenship by jus sanguinis (right of blood); Bahamian father confers Bahamian citizenship as well.
After quickly running through our unborn son’s potential for multiple citizenship, and how the laws of the USA and the paperwork we have to do, make it required, the next question was “so you don’t plan on staying here to raise your kid?”
Our visas and my scholarship requires me to leave the USA with my family, after my degree program. My wife is not even allowed to work while we are here. So, when confronted with anti-foreign sentiment, or having my divergent cultural perspectives questioned and devalued regularly in most circles, I think not.
I may consider working here to gain further experience in my field. But, no, I do not believe raising my child in the USA would be my reason for choosing to attempt to stay here. I have had the dubious opportunity to experience racism in all sorts of ways in nearly every country I have gone to, but I have to say there are especially outrageous and uniquely subtle forms of racism here that I am not particularly eager to share with my child. If you want to hear more of some of the challenges of being an international student in the USA come to my talk at the Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality Symposium at Wright State University in Dayton Ohio, this February. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for further details.
Sincerely,Ancilleno Davis, M.Sc.