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Author Topic: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?  (Read 12855 times)

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Offline Bruce

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My wife tells me that she and three of her friends scattered accross the country from her home city feel like second class citizens in the USA.  Yesterday I felt fairly bad because she told me that the only ones who love her in this country is me and my family (plus her three Russian friends from Tver of course).  Is that how most of your wives feel?  Part of the problem here in the greater NY region is the general (I hate to say it, but I believe it is true) perception that "Russians' (because the general NY population think all FSU people are Russians) are rude, fast, looking to manipulate and looking for a way to cheat you.  Will the general perception of Russians in the USA get any better?  Minorities seem to go out of their way to try to make life miserable for my wife, which only feeds her natural racist tendencies - since she never really experienced them except for seeing some African and Indian students in her home city.  She is getting to the point that she does not want to deal with any minorities unless I am present with her ie. I deal with them.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 03:37:05 AM by Bruce »
"A word is dead when it is said, some say.  I say it just begins to live that day."  Emily Dickinson

Offline BC

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Interesting question.

Nothing at all noticed here in our neck of the woods - never even came up in discussions with IT/RU couples we know.  Quite accepted with open arms by the locals as I have been.

I know it would be more of a factor in Germany though, not because of the WW's directly but that many ethnic Germans returned to Germany from FSU territories, received their German passports/full citizenship and/or received substantial benefits because their families were forced to move out of Germany during WWII.  I personally know many Germans that feel these Russian 'aussiedler' are second class citizens.  Russian mafia is frequently a kitchen table discussion topic there.


Offline Jet

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Is that how most of your wives feel? 

Yep, pretty much.

Will the general perception of Russians in the USA get any better?

Russians themselves seem to do their part... My parents were picnicing at a big park in PA. They noticed a large, obnoxious group speaking Russian and drinking at a nearby table , and tried to strike up a conversation:
Mom - I noticed you guys speaking Russian, are you from there?
Group (snidely) - Of course!
Mom - My daugther-in-law is from a small town near Moscow.
Group - AND WHAT?? (then going back to talking amongst themselves) 

Minorities seem to go out of their way to try to make life miserable for my wife, which only feeds her natural racist tendencies - since she never really experienced them except for seeing some African and Indian students in her home city.
Lil has dealt with this also, more so with latinos in professional situations, and they act like they are a higher class of immigrant than she is. She's come to learn the difference between Black people and n****rs but the latter gave her a very difficult time back when she was commuting to Miami via public transportation.
Every action in company ought to be done with some sign of respect to those that are present. ~ Geo. Washington

Offline jb

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Hummmm,,, not quite second class citizens.  Here the problem is more like jealousy.  The AW are especially on alert when a beautiful woman enters the room and speaks with a sexy accent that catches the attention of every male in the house.  To have her also be smart and highly educated doesn't help matters either.  While being a college professor doesn't pay so well, it does carry a certain level of social status that selling insurance or secretarial work doesn't seem to convey.  Very often AW will avoid contact with her, or deal with her with an "arm's length" attitude.

I also understand the comment about a RW not wanting to deal with minorities, my wife has received a lot of flack, and some hard pressure to give passing grades to students who don't deserve them.  To her way of thinking it only cheapens the value of a diploma, and no one respects the sheepskin from the school if the business world comes to think of it as a "Diploma Mill" for the minority students.  Such actions only re-enforce her already low opinion of such people.  The worst so far that has happened is for minority students who are incapable of doing college level work, to complain to the administration about her accented English.  Since the Chair of her math and science department is a Pakistani gentleman named Dr. Mohammad Ali *****, and speaks with a thicker accent than she does, such whining complaints generally fall on deaf ears. 

So the question is not one of being second class, but one of being in a class of her own.

Offline catzenmouse

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Our answer would pretty much mirror Jet's response and Bruce's original post.

 We've met a few nice Russians here but also a lot that Elena would have nothing to do with. And yes, the behavior of many of the black and hispanics that she comes in contact with do nothing to show any positive aspects of the groups as a whole.

 But it is not just those groups in particular as it seems that there is no limit on the rude, selfish, and arrogant attitudes of people in general. When I first moved back from Canada after living there for many years I could not believe how much Americans had the "H.U.B" (Head Up Butt) attitude about anything that was not in their little tunnel vision world.

Ken
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Offline catzenmouse

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jb,

 There is no doubt in our minds here as the the high quality of these ladies. Beauty, style, grace, intelligence, plus that deadly sexy accent! Jealousy is a common factor in other women when they see this. These attitudes from others come in a great part from knowing that they are not up to the level of these women so they do what they can to belittle them. It truly takes a small person to try to bring another down so they can feel better about themselves.

Ken
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Offline ConnerVT

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This thread makes me glad I'm up here in the sticks of Northern New England.  Vermonters are known to be friendly and generous to everyone, and it has proven true for both my wife and son.

I understand where Bruce is coming from, as I used to live close to NYC.  There has always been a pecking order of the classes in NYC (the World's melting pot).  Russians are the newest class of immigrants to the US, so of course, they are finding themselves at the bottom of the list.  But then, even second and third generation whites can feel as "second class" citizens when traveling through Manhattan's Upper East Side (home of the monied WASPs related to those whom arrived on the Mayflower).

Living in New York, you earn your acceptance by having a thick skin, and building your place within the cultural mix, not by expecting it out of kindness.  But I expect Bruce understands that already.   ;)

My wife's experience has been pretty positive.  Although Vermont has probably the smallest minority population in the USA, the Burlington area is still pretty diverse.  My wife comes in contact with even a larger percentage, from ESL classes and her work in the department store.  Most of her contacts have been positive ones -- I can only think of a handful of experiences in the past two years where there has been any issues.

Offline Admin

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I guess I'll cast the dissenting vote.

When Olya first arrived, she spent a great deal of time with an elderly lady from the church who was her English tutor. They became fast friends - and we have since spent a fair amount of time with their family, including their adult children. All have treated Olya with incredible respect and affection.

More recently, we had occasion to be deeply involved in some very serious litigation. Olya was represented by one of the most accomplished and prestigious attorneys in the state (maybe the country). This attorney had studied in Ireland and spent a semester in St. Petersburg - she has been successful with numerous multi-million dollar awards for her clients. She really is a terrific lawyer - AND - a great person. Her comments about Olya have been nothing short of stellar - and her treatment of Olya is wonderful.

When Olya was taking English courses, all the other students were from foreign countries - and almost none were from the FSU - mostly Asian and Hispanic. Olya was treated VERY well by them - no 2nd class treatment at all.

Maybe we are just fortunate (or blessed), but the experience of others treating Olya badly just has not been a problem - well, unless you consider my ex-wife or the REASON for that litigation - but those were anomalous in many ways.

- Dan

Offline catzenmouse

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 Sorry, I did not mean to imply that everyone has been rude or inconsiderate here to Elena. She has met many very nice people. Everyone from her work loves her and they have told her that she is the best employee that they have. She is good friends with one of her original ESL teachers and they get together occasionally.

 I was speaking of the general public and how she is treated when she goes to stores and how the customers at her store act. When I was in the retail business we had a saying that unfortunately is all too true. "Customers are the biggest pigs on the planet." People who would never throw litter on the ground or even consider making a mess in their or someone elses house will turn into complete and utter slobs and trash anything and everything just because they can.

Ken
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Offline KenC

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I'm going to give you a little different view of this subject. Many of the new arrivals feel very intimidated in their new environment and it is apparent to others around them. Now depending upon your location, the general populace will react to that intimidation projection differently. For example, the people of VT or CO may much more sympathetic than say a hard core New Yorker.

Lena was almost shy with strangers when she first arrived. Everything was new and different to her. She didn't have the confidence she now has in her language skills. As their confidence grows, so does the respect from strangers. Once your lady projects confidence, then you may run into the jealousy factor that jb writes about.

Ken wrote about his wife working in a department store. This is an excellent way to build your RW's people skills. Most RW will struggle with obtaining their first jobs any way, so this can be a very good step for them. Unfortunately, many RW view being a "seller in a store" as a less than prestigious job. If you look at it as a high impact ESL course, it is more valuable than the paycheck. My wife also made quite a few Russian friends from her time at Saks.
KenC
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Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies-Thomas Jefferson

Offline mischief

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2006, 07:33:22 AM »
"Living in New York, you earn your acceptance by having a thick skin, and building your place within the cultural mix, not by expecting it out of kindness."

That’s very true but nonetheless even in NY I feel very comfortable … For the most part people are very nice to me as well as I’m very nice to them even here… Though there is no comparison in the attitude of NY people and people of the rest of the country… Not on a one occasion my husband would come home irritated to no end because of the some morons who don’t know what a customer service is…
To me it all depends how you carry yourself… any a$$hole wouldn’t dare to say something rude to me or look down on me and if he does he would get the same treatment (not on the same level though)… I think it all comes down how you feel about yourself here in the first place… if you feel as a second class, you’ll be treated as the second class…
With regards to minorities the more interaction the better… when we lived in Texas I wasn’t too thrilled with Mexicans in the beginning… but then I met some very decent and nice Mexicans who are to me much better people that most of the whites I knew…
Wish everybody could understand and treat people for who they are not for what class/ background or country they came from…
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 07:36:18 AM by mischief »

Offline PeeWee

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2006, 07:42:10 AM »
Hummmm,,, not quite second class citizens.  Here the problem is more like jealousy.  The AW are especially on alert when a beautiful woman enters the room and speaks with a sexy accent that catches the attention of every male in the house.  To have her also be smart and highly educated doesn't help matters either.  While being a college professor doesn't pay so well, it does carry a certain level of social status that selling insurance or secretarial work doesn't seem to convey.  Very often AW will avoid contact with her, or deal with her with an "arm's length" attitude.

I also understand the comment about a RW not wanting to deal with minorities, my wife has received a lot of flack, and some hard pressure to give passing grades to students who don't deserve them.  To her way of thinking it only cheapens the value of a diploma, and no one respects the sheepskin from the school if the business world comes to think of it as a "Diploma Mill" for the minority students.  Such actions only re-enforce her already low opinion of such people.  The worst so far that has happened is for minority students who are incapable of doing college level work, to complain to the administration about her accented English.  Since the Chair of her math and science department is a Pakistani gentleman named Dr. Mohammad Ali *****, and speaks with a thicker accent than she does, such whining complaints generally fall on deaf ears. 

So the question is not one of being second class, but one of being in a class of her own.

The attention whore factor is when one woman in a room draws more attention to her self than do the others. The cat's claws come out and the snide remarks rain down on the self proclaimed queen.

Really, this is America guys. Our entire country is made up of immigrants.

My mom is none differ. "Everytime I go to the store some Goddamned Russian is there. Why don't they go back to where it was they came from."  

"But mom. You're Irish. Do you need to also return to Ireland?"

Ever been to Chicago. One of the most racially segregated cities I have ever visited. Southside? Cabrini Green? What are those places? I was working with a AA fellow. We spent the entire day working in Chicago's southside. All day long I did not see one white person, other than me. Finally he explained it to me. "Blacks live in this neighbor. Latinos the next one over and so forth." I finally saw a Mexican jogging along in the black part of town. So I pointed it our to my parntern. "See! A Mex over there running."  "Yeah," the he said, "he's running to get out of the black neighborhood."

What your wife may be experiencing is an attitude not specific to Russian but more specific to anyone who speaks with an accent. She could have been German or French and drawn the same reaction.

PeeWee  

Offline catzenmouse

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2006, 08:16:29 AM »
Very good points KenC. Elena has/has had some of that intimidation factor/lack of confidence in her English abilities. One of the best reasons to just get out in the work force in any job is that it does force them to use English on a regular basis with a wide variety of people. She does not believe it but her English skills have grown significantly since she started working.

 Peewee,

  Seems to me you are the one being an "attention whore" as this appears to be your "thought for the day" having used it a couple of times here already today.

Ken
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Offline Bruce

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2006, 09:11:32 AM »
Excellent replies, and I guess things are not getting any better accross the USA.  There are lots of things for AW to feel intimidated about a RW so that does not make life for our wives any easier.
"A word is dead when it is said, some say.  I say it just begins to live that day."  Emily Dickinson

Offline BC

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2006, 09:27:26 AM »
My mom is none differ. "Everytime I go to the store some Goddamned Russian is there. Why don't they go back to where it was they came from."   

"But mom. You're Irish. Do you need to also return to Ireland?"

If I were a RU woman interested in you PeeWee I would consider this a BIG red flag.  If it ever comes down to it you will sooner or later be emotionally drawn and quartered. If you're serious about a RW better give your sweet mom the 'boot' first or just wait long enuf..  I can only imagine the expletives she will be calling your wife..

<-- ear on the rails.. do I hear something coming?

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2006, 09:34:38 AM »
Folks,

This topic is treading dangerously close to crossing the line. Let's see if we can't bring the exchange back away from ANY disparaging comments toward or about other racial or ethnic groups - and while I understand the use of the term "Attention Whore" is aimed at attractive females in general, and not RW in particular, making the point once or twice is probably sufficient.

Thanks,

- Dan

Offline Jumper

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2006, 10:31:42 AM »
Well regardless of Chicagos segregation,
 the fact is it is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world,
beside NYC .
Think of it as NYC, without the 'tude.
it is midwest afterall.

being so diverse,  people "here" think nothing of someone from another culture, because a good chance they are or thier parents.

So in our experience there hasnt been any second
 hand citizen treatment?

my wife in fact has always been astounded at how open and friendly people are here.
In public most are simply curious of her accent and style in a positive way. She still cant get over all the sincere compliments she gets from women while shopping.. (in the FSU she never had a FEMALE stranger compliment her looks,style,  or shoes or whatever, here it is almost daily)

anyway she has made friends quickly,been accepted easily,  and her friends are from all groups of people.

I would note that as KenC mentioned-
initially her confidence wasnt where it would be naturally ..
and peoples reactions, as well as her own interactions ,
was tainted by that, it went away as soon as she was comfortable enough to be *herself*

.

Offline Zhena

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2006, 11:21:06 AM »
How interesting topic!
I have to agree with KenC too,he makes a sense.
I bet a language is a very important skill,yet a self-confidence. Of course,a place plays some role too.
I think that every RW can get over that unpleasant moment of feeling a stranger. Just have to be involved deeper in that new life.

Offline Captmonk1

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2006, 03:21:25 PM »
My wife doesn't feel like a 2nd class citizen at all here where I am and in fact is always amazed at how friendly everyone is.

Brad

Offline catzenmouse

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2006, 03:26:13 PM »
Seems quite a bit of this is like real estate. Location, location, location is everything.

Of course not everything. But it does seem that certain places do offer a better reception than others do.

Ken
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Offline PeeWee

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2006, 06:12:46 PM »
Very good points KenC. Elena has/has had some of that intimidation factor/lack of confidence in her English abilities. One of the best reasons to just get out in the work force in any job is that it does force them to use English on a regular basis with a wide variety of people. She does not believe it but her English skills have grown significantly since she started working.

 Peewee,

  Seems to me you are the one being an "attention whore" as this appears to be your "thought for the day" having used it a couple of times here already today.

Ken

Not only for the day but for the week, the year. It is true. Good that you are paying attention, however. I'll probably mention it a few more times in the coming year.

Peewee

Offline Wild Orchid*

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2006, 08:02:00 PM »
I know it would be more of a factor in Germany though, not because of the WW's directly but that many ethnic Germans returned to Germany from FSU territories, received their German passports/full citizenship and/or received substantial benefits because their families were forced to move out of Germany during WWII.   I personally know many Germans that feel these Russian 'aussiedler' are second class citizens.  Russian mafia is frequently a kitchen table discussion topic there.

That is new to me. I always thought their families moved voluntarily because Katherine the Grate asked them to.  ;D

It just shows how much you know about Russian history. No families has been moved to Russia from Germany during WWII. They kept prisoners of war as a laborers and that all.

Offline Daknack

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2006, 08:39:57 PM »
Ill put it this way on the issue of race, class, and what not.  Ive learned a great deal in my lifetime.  I grew up in a all white neighborhood, and my mother being a protective type of women didn't let me out much (I wasn't allowed to cross the street without supervision until I was 6... and this wasn't exactly a busy street).  The first minority I ever met was my first grade teacher who, having never seen a black (or payed much attention) I described her to my mother often as "my chocolate teacher".  Of course my mother have no conception of what I was talking about and at the first teacher conference told me that my teacher was black.  I of course exasperated explained that she was wrong that she was chocolate colored.  So I came into the world with fairly no preconceived notions.

As I grew up, having been born just inside the city limits of Baltimore, I started to mix with minorities (mostly blacks).  And I grew to have an extreme dislike of them growing up.  The ones I was near were fairly poor, uneducated, on welfare, involved in drugs, violent, and oddly enough fairly proud of all of those situations.  Now both of my grandfathers were fairly racist... one was a member of the KKK and took place in minstrel shows.  One day, I told my father a black joke that my grandfather had told me.  I was maybe about 10 years old at the time.  I think I got one of the worse A$$ kickings of my life (and if you think I'm mouthy now imagine me as a teenager).  My father took me aside and explained to me why his opinion was the way it was instead of his fathers.  When he was in the Marines, everyone bled the same color, and you all were the same color: Camo.  It could very well be that black guy pulling you out of a fire fight.  At the time, I ignored my father, having 10 years of life experience under my belt I had never experienced being around minorities that didn't act like the ones we lives around (with the notable exceptions of my teachers).

As I got older, we moved from that area to the suburbs, and I was exposed to an entirely different type of minority.  The middle class minority.  They worked hard, had degrees, and in short, were like my family.  The more I mixed with them, the more my mind was changed.  Now I go to and work with an all minority university.  To put it simply, im like the grain of salt in the pepper can.  I was initially apprehensive about it, but after one day I had no worries.  I have never felt uncomfortable because of my race there.  Being inserted into a majority minority community for some time Ive learned something that should be obvious (especially to the married people).  Education level makes a huge difference in how people relate to each other.  If you are an educated person of any race, your not going to have as much in common with an uneducated person even if your the same race.  I find I have more in common with my fellow educators than the whites I grew up with in the edges of the city.

The keys are exposure, level of education, similar values and ethics, and the minorities willingness to be part of our nations (as opposed to a separate nation living within ours), and the ability to speak English.  People of any background that speaks English in the US become frustrated when they see others speaking non-English or very poor English.  Ive worked and associated with many many foreigners, and those that spoke good English (regardless of race or accent) are thought of almost as Americans (although with an exotic twist).

Offline Jet

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2006, 09:18:33 PM »
Education level makes a huge difference in how people relate to each other.
This is exactly what the wife discovered, and that was my point. Not a whole hell of a lot of other nuclear physicists hanging out at the city bus terminal, but her opinions changed quickly once exposed to other professionals of similar backgrounds.
Every action in company ought to be done with some sign of respect to those that are present. ~ Geo. Washington

Offline PeeWee

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Re: Do any of your wives feel they are treated as first class citizens?
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2006, 11:24:07 PM »
If I were a RU woman interested in you PeeWee I would consider this a BIG red flag.  If it ever comes down to it you will sooner or later be emotionally drawn and quartered. If you're serious about a RW better give your sweet mom the 'boot' first or just wait long enuf..  I can only imagine the expletives she will be calling your wife..

<-- ear on the rails.. do I hear something coming?

Not worried about my mom. I've not let her run my life since I was in high school. Knowing my mother as I do I did prepare my last RW before she met her for the first time. My friend easily won her over with her Russian charm. The two of them got along just fine so I'm not thinking about it as being a problem.

I have two friends. She is caucasion he is Hawaiian/Chinese. Her parents warned her that if she married him they would disown her. She did as I would. Ignore the parents. My friends have been married for 20 years. 

Peewee
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 11:33:19 PM by PeeWee »

 

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Re: Has anyone here ever told a girl they like her but not how she is dressed? by Trenchcoat
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