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Selfless Selfie Citizenship: Chupacabras Selfie Project

Abstract

This chapter sheds light on the experiences of immigrants criminalised by the immigration system in the USA. As the media perpetuates a discourse of immigrants as dangerous and threatening to a sanitised American way of life, the aim of this chapter is to focus on the often forgotten stories of people left out of the immigrant right’s agenda and often the main targets of punitive legal measures. At the centre of the chapter is ARTivism – activism through art. Inspired by the author’s film, Chupacabras: The Myth of The Bad Immigrant, undocumented immigrants in California were encouraged to take selfies with a chupacabras mask and stand up to dehumanisation and criminalisation of immigrants, by taking ‘selfless selfies’ and using the hashtags #NotYourChupacabras and #YourChupacabras.

Keywords

  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Selfless selfie citizenship
  • Digital ARTivism
  • Respectability politics
  • #NotYourChupacabras
  • #YourChupacabras

As undocumented immigrants, we have been portrayed as monsters sucking the blood out of American society. To them, we are not humans, we are the Chupacabras.

Chupacabras: The Myth of the Bad Immigrant, film by author

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Fig. 15.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The film can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acp87_6qPVE.

  2. 2.

    Respectability politics was coined in 1993 by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham to explain the involvement of black women in the Baptist church. Higginbotham specifically referred to African American’s promotion of ‘temperance, cleanliness of person and property, thrift, polite manners, and sexual purity’ as a reform strategy where African Americans are encouraged to be respectable (Higginbotham 1993). In turn people of colour are also responsible to show white Americans that blacks can be respectable and good (Harris 2003). Respectability politics was adopted by middle- and working-class black women alike; it was an effective way to combat racist narratives about black women’s sexuality, work ethic and the constant positioning of black family as abnormal (White 2010).

  3. 3.

    ‘DREAMer’ is a popular term used in reference to undocumented students who quality for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act that would legalise the status of undocumented youth who attend college or enrol in the military; the bill was first introduced in 2001 and has yet to pass.

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Correspondence to Silvia Rodriguez Vega .

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Rodriguez Vega, S. (2017). Selfless Selfie Citizenship: Chupacabras Selfie Project. In: Kuntsman, A. (eds) Selfie Citizenship. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-45270-8_15

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