- freely available
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 4025; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16204025
1.1. Brazilian and Dominican Immigrants in Massachusetts
1.2. Brazilian Immigrants and Work
1.3. Dominican Immigrants and Work
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Sampling and Recruitment
2.2. Cultural Conversations
3.1. Live to Work vs. Work to Live
3.2. Go, Go Culture
“We Brazilians put work in front of everything. Our culture here, unfortunately, is work. Not for all; for those who have been here for several years and have a good and stable life, it is different”.
“I notice older generations of Brazilians people always complain that in America, you become American because you go to work, come home, eat, sit in the couch, watch T.V., go to sleep, and repeat. And in Brazil you don’t do that, people go out, people move, there is always something to do. So, you become Americanized when you live here because their culture is more overwhelming than our culture”.
“People begin to have a routine that is not normal for human beings. To be human is not to work from 9 to 5 and 9 to 5, go to home and sleep and return to work. This routine is for a robot”.
“You, if you are an immigrant here you have to work more, here you see your children less. There you have an economy where people have one job and work from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. There [DR] you arrive in your house and can-do family activities, on the weekends there are family activities and there is not this rhythm of full time, part time here it is work fulltime then part time and you don’t see your family”.
3.3. American Dream
“When you immigrate you have to sacrifice yourself to a cleaning job or whatever you can find, then you can’t go to school [because of the number of hours you have to work to get by]. You have to leave all of your dreams where you leave them…”Dominican—Elder
“I wanted to come here and enlist in the army [28 years ago]. But when I arrived in Connecticut (…) they said I entered the country illegally so I had to return to enlist. (…) You come here with a dream and think it will work. It did not work. But what difference does it make? I continue working the same way landscaping, restaurants, cleaning jobs in supermarkets, house cleaning. I am here to this day”.Brazilian—Construction Worker
“I felt like, often in my Brazilian group of Brazilian friends I was the only one dreaming big. Like all these Brazilian kids were like, yeah, my dad works as a carpenter, my dad works as a painter, I am just going to be a painter, carpenter or work in construction, live paycheck to paycheck. And I was like, well you are in America. Your parents brought you here for an opportunity. Are you going to waste that? Why are you limiting yourself to this?”Brazilian—1.5 Generation
“Everyone has equal opportunities and you have respect for all groups and respect for all different ways of living that you can put into practice. The notion of entrepreneurship, that is, that you are able to succeed through your own effort, do your own work. These characteristics I think you can exercise perfectly. I think it’s a desirable thing to happen in Brazil too”.Brazilian—professional
“I think growing up and having Brazilian and American culture, you learn really quickly that you are different. Even though you can assimilate to some other group, you know that you are not the same. Growing up in a wealthy neighborhood and knowing my mom was a single mother and trying to start a business, working a lot. Me and my brother we had a lot of free time so we would go to school and be like these kids have this, these kids have money, so at a young age we started working, 12 or 13 and we would work all summer. So, next think you know, we had everything they had. We had the shoes, we had the clothes, we had anything we wanted because we worked hard for it. We didn’t just sit there and be like, I am an immigrant, I just can’t. No, we would get what we wanted because we would work for it”.Brazilian—1.5 generation
“We, Dominicans have the capacity to do the job that is there, if we have to wash we will wash, if we have to iron, we will iron, if we have to fly a plane we will fly a plane”.Dominican—Elder
“All the systems are set up to make you fail. If you don’t have at least a middle-class income so that’s why you get, its easy no offense, I just lost my job in June, what was the first thing I thought well I get laid off, okay I got to give up my apartment I got to put my student loans on hold (…). In the Dominican Republic, you lose your job you’re like okay, well I’m going to sell mangoes on the street and oranges that I grow on my tree. So, I think that’s why it is easy to catch depression here because the moment you lose something that you control or that keeps you steady you freak out because it’s hard to get back on your feet”.Dominican—1.5 Generation
3.4. Working Conditions
“I work with plaster (…) you fill half tank, half a gallon of water, you take the bag that is the pure powder, you throw the gallon, the powder comes on your face. (…) I do not wear a mask, so like that, I see this too often”.Brazilian—Construction Worker
“One day, we went to wash a bathroom, she said, ‘this here is the disposable glove, because I like to wear a disposable, not the yellow glove, okay’. She gave me one glove. I looked at her, I said, ‘Well, how am I going to use only one glove? I need both hands protected’.”Brazilian—Domestic Worker
“Even being an immigrant, I could tell that some of the jobs I got at first was because of my status and they kind of knew that, even my pay, I would stay there for so long, and I just finally get to a point that I am like, you hit the glass roof. They don’t want to pass that point and you look over and you see Americans kids that are just starting to work and you have been there for five years and the same pay rate”.Brazilian—1.5 Generation
“My mom was always working and we needed to get around, so next thing you know you are driving. And then, you are the only 16-year-old out there that knows how to explain to a cop why you are driving without a license”.Brazilian—1.5 Generation
“It happened to me the first time I came to this country, I went to work in an American company speaking very little English. (…) The American tells me one day, ‘I’m sorry you do not work more because you do not speak English’ and I have a knife in my hand to split a biscuit on an aluminum table, and I give him the knife and I told him ‘Fuck you!’ You speak English, if you give me a chance, [I can learn]. And he says ‘What did she say? What did she say?’ asks the man and said ‘I do not know what she said.’ ‘Yeah, you know what she said’ and I said ‘You know what I said, fuck you’ and I dropped my knife and left”.Dominican—Elder
3.5. Work and Health
“…and the work, you know the stress from working…stress is normal but when you are doing more and more the stress becomes too much and then there is depression, you know.”
“(…) everything causes anxiety, you can’t meet your rent what are you going to do oh my gosh you’re sick today do I have childcare, now I am pregnant who’s going to take care of my kids I have to go to work, if I don’t pay my light bill I can’t turn on my lights so everything is just money that you have to pay out and if you don’t have money to pay any of those things then what I am trying to get at is everything causes anxiety then you get so depressed about everything”.Dominican—Generation 1.5
“She ate really badly because she couldn’t [eat] in the “go, go” of work, she ate very little. Very little. She had a problem of ulcerative colitis (…) she was hospitalized, she had several surgeries, I was in the hospital with her. And she ate very badly. Now she cannot eat right because there are things she cannot eat”.Brazilian—Domestic Worker
“I go to work sometimes and eat a pizza, but I’m not going to stick with it, but I get home when I’m not working, my wife is home, my daughter, it’s rice, beans and meat. (...) When I eat a sandwich that I stay the whole day I do not feel [well]...I feel weak that you can already see that my health is not good, but now when I eat my food from the Brazilian culture that is my rice, the beans, the meat I feel [good]”.Brazilian—Construction Worker
“I have a friend of mine she has panic attacks. She went to the doctor for her panic attacks because she is housecleaning and she cannot drive, she cannot...because afraid of the police”.Brazilian—Professional
Conflicts of Interest
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|NVivo Word Query—Text Search|
|Brazilian CC transcripts (n = 5)||work, working, job, employer, co-worker, trabalho, money, emprego, trabalhando, dinheiro, busy, bisado, bizy, doente, sick|
|Dominicans CC transcripts (n = 5)||work, working, job, employer, co-worker, trabajo, trabajando, trabajar, money, dinero, empleado, enfermo, sick|
|1.5 Generation||3||1.5 Generation||4|
|Domestic Workers||7||Low wage workers||10|
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