Universal Mother: Transnational Migration and the Human Rights of Black Women in the Americas
35 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2008 Last revised: 15 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 7, 2012
Community or personal identity, as well as externally imposed gender, race, and cultural stereotypes operate simultaneously to influence global markets. This essay explored the human rights implications of the stories surrounding a female transnational household worker as they show how perceptions about identity shape legal responses and how legal frameworks can shape perceptions of identity.
The identities associated with the migrant household worker discussed here seemed to constitute a particularly complex instance of race, gender, ethnicity, class, immigration status, nationality, and disability discrimination. But all human identities can be equally complex.
The essay suggests that human rights discourse should be flexible enough to address the multiplicity of identity-based violations. It also recommends that the stories of Black female transnational workers illustrate the interdependence and indivisibility of human rights.
To be legitimate, the human rights framework must be a useful tool for those Black women whose rights are violated regardless of their geographic location.
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