The dangers and misfortunes of Migrants’ journeys and the untold stories of their lives are often misunderstood. Throughout this year, I have researched in dept into the lives of refugees from different countries. I also was able to see the perspectives of how different countries treat these people. In addition, I witnessed one on one conversations with a refugee and people vacationing to the Greek islands which was very enlighting.
Enrique decided to come to America to find his mother, just like a lot of refugee stories. For many years Enrique’s mother had been in America trying to make enough money to bring Enrique and his sister to join her. It seems like through all of the research we have done throughout the year that many other refugees stories have many similarities. “For Enrique, Maria Isabel isn’t just a way to stem the loneliness he felt since his mother left him” (Pg 33). I think this was a good example of why it is so important for humans to have connections to other humans. Enrique was really missing his mother when he met Maria Isabel. I also think that it’s important to note why Enrique’s mothers Laudes came to America in the first place. The book explaines that many refugees leave because “ They live on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa , Honduras. She can barely afford food for him and his sister, Belky, who is seven.”(Pg 4). The way Enriques lives in very rough and it’s hard for his mother. There are a lot of other people in the same situation where they are from and in some cases some are in worse situations.
Virtually unnoticed, Enrique will become one of an estimated 48,000 children who enter the United States through Central America and Mexico each year, illegally and without either of their parents. This statistics bewilders me because they are kids my age taking extremely dangerous train rides that a large percentage of people get robbed, beaten or even raped. The experience of immigrants without US approved documentation is difficult. People who do not understand the immigrant experience often believe that it is an easy decision to make and an easy process to go through. The idea that people who do not go through the State Department for official citizenship are taking the easy way out is ignorance. As was highlighted in Exit West, there is a lot of stigma relating to how people look at you . People risk their lives and leave everything they knew behind in the hopes of finding better opportunities. The official process of getting citizenship can take years, some cannot afford years and need to make immediate changes. The hope in the end is that it will have all been worth it, but it is in no way the easy way out. A major theme that is explored in Enrique’s Journey is the youth experience. Language around immigration is harsh in the US. The things that people say against immigration, advocate for it the name of national security are inhumane, and they do not realize that they are often talking about children. While adults do not deserve to be treated harshly, the issue is made particularly important because young adults and children make up a large portion of those who migrate. Rural and blue collar Americans are often concerned that those who emigrate are “stealing jobs”, while that argument is still xenophobic, perhaps it they understood the amount of children who are seeking education opinios would be less cruel. There are no guarantees for immigrants and refugees. They have to find ways to survive in countries that are often unwelcoming, “Refugees had occupied many of the open places in the city , pitching tents in the greenbelt between roads, erecting lean-tons next to the boundary wall of houses sleeping on rough sidewalks and in the margins of the streets” Pg73 (Mahsin Hamid). Nothing about the experience is easy. People also misunderstand what refugees go through emotionally as well. It is emotionally difficult to leave behind their culture and adapt to a new culture. Often times the new culture has a different language which is one huge barrier.“ I understood a mother gave birth alone in a hospital and didn’t even know the language with no one of her people there to wish well to the child in Arabic.”Joanna Kakissis ( Last Resort). In this example, you can see that the mother is unable to participate in a tradition that is part of her culture, because she is caught up in a language barrier. ` I’ve realized that I’ve only scratched the surface of what refugees go through. I’ve tried to highlight that it’s not an easy process and how much more work that the process of becoming a citizen entails. People need to understand what these people go through because maybe instead of refugees being welcomed by hand cuffs we can welcome them with open arms.
The goal of my paper was to exemplify the constant pressure on immigrants to assimilate. I hope to move the readers of my paper and encourage them to be more conscious not to put pressure on immigrants. When reading my paper one will realize the sacrifices one has to make both when assimilating or choosing not to do so.
A young brown-skinned Native American man sits with his long sleek black hair streaming over his shoulders. He has quarter-sized gold hoops in his ears and various necklaces decorating his neck. He is covered with a short fur jacket and a white undershirt. The same man later poses, his hair cut short, with a part on the right side, brushed to the left. His neck and ears are free of jewelry. This time he wears a dress jacket, collared shirt, and tie. Although he did not come to the United States from another country, he exhibits what many immigrants must do to reflect mainstream American society, in hopes of maintaining refuge.
Cultural assimilation is the process by which someone from a minority group alters their values, beliefs, and behaviors to assume that of a majority group. When immigrants move to different countries the pressure to assimilate is ongoing and if they choose not to alter themselves they may find themselves branded an outsider.
The pressure to behave like the majority and follow their beliefs is derived from many different sources that depend on an individual's situation. For adults, it can come from peers in the working world, friends who they see doing so, or the fear of getting deported if they are undocumented. For kids, it often comes from family, peers, school teachers, and many times the media.
The media often portrays immigrants and/or the countries they come from in a negative light. Media outlets and journalists do this by focusing on the bad things that have happened in a country and to associate immigrants with the people doing wrong in order to give them a bad reputation. People like President Trump, who are widely covered in the media and therefore play a highly influential role in shaping public opinion, perpetuate negative ideas about immigrant groups. This makes their living in the country even harder since they are not welcomed and people have false preconceived notions about them. Assimilating won’t change ones skin tone; however, it may make it easier for them to live in a new country without attracting as much negative attention.
Assimilation often means sacrificing a part of one’s identity. Enuma Okoro, a woman born in Africa and migrating to America stated, "Coming of age in foreign classrooms, my sister and I slowly shed our native skins. We let teachers mangle our names, then adopted their mispronunciations — introducing ourselves with syllables our own relatives tripped over." (Okoro 1) . Names are a big part of who people are. Often times, names are unique to someone's culture, region or family. By not correcting her teachers’ mangled pronunciation of her and her sisters’ names, she has allowed her identity to be trampled for the convenience of another, but doing so also lightens the pressure. When she speaks of “shedding our native skin,” she is exemplifying the assimilation process. In her writing, she explains that when she first got to America from Africa she had no good thoughts about her old country. Many immigrants experience this when trying to disassociate themselves from their past. To be someone else you must also forget who you were. She went on to say that later when she went back to visit, she got in touch with her roots, discovered many things she liked and decided to move back.
People who choose not to assimilate either find a community where they can avoid it or live a life with the ongoing pressure of harassment. On the other hand, culturally assimilating does not ensure immunity from harassment.
Once assimilated, one might feel as foreign to their own past and culture as they did when first coming to a new country. In We Need New Names a girl traveled from Africa to America. In Zimbabwe, she peed in the bushes, ate with her hands, played with her friends all day not attending school and spent the majority of her time outside. In America she pees in the toilet, often uses utensils, and spends her time inside and on the internet or talking to friends. In the beginning, she hated America and wanted to go back, but later she stated, “One part is yearning for my friends; the other doesn't know how to connect with them anymore, as if they are people I've never met”(212). This shows how foreign the place and people she once associated with home are. Many immigrants still yearn for their old country, but understand that it was best for them to leave considering the conditions there. The internal conflict she faces of yearning for her Zimbabwe and simultaneously wanting to fit in, in her new country makes this lack of connection hard to repair.
How do immigrants feel about assimilation? Assimilation can involve changing religion. Adopting a different language, the slang that may come with that and even the accent. It can also mean breaking one's own traditions and ideals to adopt new ones. Assimilation applies a lot of pressure on immigrants. For example, in We Need New Names, Darling’s Aunt Faustilina in America would practice speaking English in a mirror after she messed up a conversation in English until she spoke precisely and articulately. Aunt Faustalina, is her role model, and from her, Darling learned both what to do and what not to do. For immigrants, learning what to do and what not to do is a continual struggle that may never result in the acceptance they seek while it compels them to sacrifice parts of their identity to do so.
Bulawayo, NoViolet. We Need New Names. Vintage Books, 2014.
Okoro, Enuma. “A Return to Nigeria.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Apr. 2014, opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/a-return-to-nigeria/?hp&rref=opinion.
“A Tour of 5 Refugee Camps.” This American Life, www.thisamericanlife.org/greece/.
“Sea Prayer .” YouTube, YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKBNEEY-c3s.
“Don’t Have to Live Like a Refugee.” This American Life, 19 Apr. 2019, www.thisamericanlife.org/593/dont-have-to-live-like-a-refugee.
Americans often misunderstand the lives of refugees because of widespread misconceptions. Refugees entire lives are put on hold and are often put in danger, many even perish along the way. Many aspects of immigration are often overlooked and brushed under the carpet. Refugees do not have the option to leave their homeland and lose more than just their house in search of a better life.
The U.S government and media often say that immigrants come into our country and steal taxpayer’s jobs. What isn’t publicized is the struggles immigrants and refugees face to make it to America or a safer place to restart their lives. There are many dangers that come with migrating and seeking refuge. An example of this is seen in the article Desperate Crossing by Scott Anderson, it tells the story of 733 refugees traveling from Eritrea to Sicily. The article includes photographs of the cramped boat, the hundreds of refugees had nothing but the clothes on their backs, which was the only thing between them and the hot summer sun. Most of the children on the boat did not know how to swim and there were no lifejackets onboard the boat. The migrants paid upwards of $1,500 for what they thought was a 6-8 hour journey, realistically though, it would take 6-8 days. Before the boat reached the island of Sicily the boat capsized, only 28 refugees survived. Sadly events like this are common, thousands of refugees die in transport to a new home some contracting life-threatening diseases or starving. Yet these are not the things that we are frequently made aware of. Instead, we are told that refugees do nothing but steal taxpayers’ jobs and create havoc within the country. If the media would allow citizens to see the struggles refugees and immigrants face there would be a better understanding of their intentions. To live a healthier and happier life in a safer environment.
When immigrants uproot their families and lives they lose more than their home, they lose irreplaceable aspects of their life. Refugees’ homeland is somewhere they do not need to explain their identity or subside their culture, but when they are forced to leave their home they also lose their identity. This is especially clear when moving to the United States, many immigrants have to explain themselves and their identity in hopes of being accepted. In the novel, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri she touches on the losses that come with immigrating. On page 56 Lahiri writes ¨They’ve learned their lesson after Gongol. They´ve learned that schools in America will ignore parents’ instructions and register a child under his pet name. The only way to avoid such confusion, they have concluded, is to do away with the pet name altogether, as many of their Bengali friends have done.¨ This quote represents how it is difficult to stay true to your culture when the people around you don understand its importance. Rather immigrants give up the fight to show their culture and identity, afraid of disrespect from others. United States citizens are predisposed to assumptions for Muslims, giving people the idea that they are all terrorists. Sadly people do not take the time to understand people’s differences, instead, they try to conform them to their standards. Another example of how immigration causes many people to lose their culture and identity is seen in the article A Return to Nigeria. Enuma Okoro writes of the differences immigrants feel when visiting their homeland, “Each time I boarded the plane to return to the States it was with a surprising hint of sadness. I became increasingly uncertain about what I was really going back to. Sure, there was a reliable infrastructure of basic necessities like electricity and medical care. Yet, back in Nigeria, I had the irreplaceable experience of feeling connected to an untapped part of myself. I was gaining insight into my ancestral and communal identity as a Nigerian, as an Igbo woman.” This quote shows how refugees lose their sense of culture and their identity when moving to a better living environment. This quote from the article shows how at some point refugees would rather sacrifice their living environment to live somewhere they don’t need to explain their identity and culture. Many people do not acknowledge the sacrifices refugees make to have a better life in a safer environment.
Seeking refuge has lifelong damaging effects on immigrants. Throughout the film Beasts of the Southern Wild, the viewer realizes what being an outsider can do to a person. Immigrants and refugees often feel like outsiders in their own homes. They are treated differently even though we are all people, that cannot seem to accept each other’s differences. At the beginning of the film the protagonist, Hushpuppy narrates a conversation between her and her father as he explains life outside the “bathtub”. “ Ain't that ugly over there? We got the prettiest place on earth. Daddy says, up above the levee… on the dry side, they're afraid of the water… like a bunch of babies. They built the wall that cuts us off. They think we all gonna drown down here. But we ain't going nowhere.” This scene in the movie stuck with me as Hushpuppy is very young and is already being taught the ways in which the world discriminates against those who stray from the streamline. Those living in the bathtub make up a community of understanding individuals who come together and celebrate their differences. People living on the other side of the levee treat people of the bathtub as outsiders. Similarly, many immigrants are treated as outsiders, they have to work harder to be seen and treated as equals. Having to prove and explain themselves to be accepted causes emotional damage, feeling inadequate for being themselves. Ultimately immigrants tell their stories, passing them down from generation to generation. Another scene from Beasts of the Southern Wild that represents the emotional damage immigrants deal is when Hushpuppy says ̈If Daddy kill me I ain't gonna be forgotten, I ́m recording my story for scientists of the future.¨ Immigrants and refugees tell their stories so that their struggle is never forgotten. Immigrants and refugees lose their culture and identity when searching for the start of a better life. Sadly although they escape the struggles in their homeland they are dealt a whole new stack of difficulties that ultimately pose lifelong emotional damage.
In today’s society, immigrants and refugees are misunderstood and placed under a category of unworthy. They are treated with disrespect for being different when in reality every single person is unique and different and deserves an opportunity for a better life. Americans often misunderstand the lives of refugees because of widespread misconceptions. The misconception that refugees do nothing more than steal taxpayers’ jobs and money hides their struggles. That immigrants’ entire lives are put on hold, they ́re put in danger, and they ́re forced to seek refuge. The sooner this misconception is forgotten the sooner everyone can accept each other differences and respect each other enough to give others the opportunity for a better life.
My essay focuses on the determents of cultural assimilation as well as the ways that American life forces immigrants to leave behind the culture of their homes. I want readers to notice the critiques of the current system and begin to think about ways that we could change these things.
The choice to immigrate to another country or place is a hard decision for anyone. Having to completely change your life is a complete shock and this decision is never made lightly. People immigrate for many different reasons, it could be for safety, better job opportunities, education, family, but it is never an easy decision. One of the many challenges that immigrants face when living in a new place is the balance between the two cultures. Choosing which aspects of your native culture and the new culture to incorporate into your life is a choice that every immigrant has to make. The same goes for the children of immigrants, who in many cases are torn between the traditions that their family wants to teach them and the traditions of their friends and peers. In this essay, I will explore the sacrifices that immigrants and children of immigrants have to make to assimilate into their new culture.
“The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahari, follows the son of two immigrants, Gogol. In Indian culture, most people have a nickname and a “good name” (one that they use on legal papers, at work and school, etc). When Gogol goes to school for the first time, his parents, Ashima and Ashoke, instruct the teachers to call him “Nikhil,” but there is some confusion and he ends up continuing to be called Gogol. When Gogol’s sister is born, their parents decide to give her only one name, “They’ve learned their lesson after Gogol. They’ve learned that schools in America will ignore parents’ instructions and register a child under his pet name. The only way to avoid such confusion, they have concluded, is to do away with the pet name altogether, as many of their Bengali friends have done.” Ashima and Ashoke were forced to give up one of the vital traditions in Indian culture to make the lives of their children easier. Gogol had to grow up with his pet name being used for everything and they didn’t want that for their second child. The entirety of “The Namesake” stresses how important names are in Indian culture, showing the level of sacrifice that giving their child only one name was for Ashoke and Ashima. One of the keywords from this quote is “Learn.” Ashima and Ashoke, like all immigrants, are forced to learn the nuances of their new culture. In American in particular, we expect immigrants to assimilate into our culture instead of celebrating and trying to understand our differences in ways of life. We can see this often in the current events in America. From crowds of people chanting “Build the Wall” to foreign language speakers being discriminated against, being told that “this is America, speak English.” The culture of America backs immigrants into a wall, where their only choices are to conform or to fail.
We see this type of behavior in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” also. While the people that live in the bathtub aren’t technically immigrants, they may as well be, as their way of life in no way resembles the culture outside of the bathtub. Once Hurricane Katrina hits, a “rescue team” comes to take the residents in the bathtub to a hospital. The only problem is that no one in the bathtub wants the help of outsiders. They created a community within themselves and distrust the outside world. In this case, the outside world wants people in the bathtub to assimilate to their culture, and leave their home for safety, because they believe that their way of life is the best one. Most of the people that live in The Bathtub are happy with their lives, even if people on the outside wouldn’t consider them ideal. America often writes a narrative of being the saviors or heroes of history, but in many cases, people are perfectly fine with their lives, and don’t want to be “saved”. This situation is reminiscent of the boarding schools that young Native American children were forced to attend, which taught them to adapt to western culture. They were taught English, forced to dress in western clothing, and converted into Christians. In the early American’s minds, they were saving and “fixing” the Native American children, but in reality, they were stripping the children of their Native culture based on extremely racist ideals. This savior complex is weaved into American history and is something we still haven’t shaken even today.
The story of immigration in the United States is a complicated one. The founders of the US were immigrants, who stole the land we live on today from Native American people. Today, that is America’s biggest fear, of having our jobs, our land, stolen from those we see as the other. Our definition of what “American” even is is shallow and weak. Instead of accepting and appreciating our mix of cultures we hold certain traits and traditions at a higher level. If we can’t realize and reconcile with these truths, we will never be able to move forward as a country.
The Impact Parents Have On Their Child?
“I am your father. Behave yourself. Stop being difficult with your grandma.” As you can see the parents are making sure to show there kid from right and wrong by telling them what they have to do. they also show them the love and making the baby know that they will always be there no matter what. You also see the mother making eye contact with her kids and husband to show that she is also showing love to them both. Parents are also the most brain in the relationship because sons and daughters would go ask them for any help because that’s what you really want to ask because they might know better from right and wrong and that can show their kids from the best and and learn what’s wrong. Kids always want what they want but parents might have another idea to teach their kids that it might be very bad and wrong to do that. The father would always be with their kids 100% even if they are wrong but they oust also teach them what is was that made them do the wrong thing. The police do not do anything. Some of them are even in on it.” This can tell you that the cops can’t even be trusted and this makes it harder because you won’t have no one to look up to, or call for help, they would just not care and keep going. This is where the father or mother shows up and tell his son that this world is. It what you really think or see, this world makes see what it wants you to see and to show you that it’s about that and it won’t change your mind. It also says that cops are in it and that can be a problem because they have more power than the people so they can do whatever they want and you can’t do anything about. This can also tell you that the police in this country are more powerful just because they can pull over people and this have no rights, and this can be worse for them because they can get killed just because they wanted to make a point. This is where a father has to take out of his time to show and go give the details to their sons to show them that not everything should be about the cops and talking with them for anything and that he should call his dad if it not that bad. People in this world do whatever they want because of the freedom and chance we have. But the father we have to show them the ways and guide them to a better place and mind set that it’s not like people that are born in a rich family that means that you will be rich and your kids and if you are born in a poor family that means you will have the same job and the same amount of money so it’s hard to tell and you can’t do anything about that because that’s the rule. But you can make your own choices and make it better and that’s what a father should say to their child because if they want the best for them they would do anything and whatever it takes. People would try to move to a better place but the problem is if you didn’t go to school and collator would be hard to find a job that would make you a lot of money so it can be the same but at the same time it can be a better life and freedom for your kids and their kids to come. So father would do whatever it takes so that the son or daughter learn from good and bad and a child needs a father in the pic so that can show that they can also be man and learn from the father from what’s good and bad. Something that does not make sense to child or a son or daughter even if it’s something that they have never seen before and that can make them overthink it or want to know more about it. They would always ask the father because that’s how life is and mother for things that are not the big because they might make a big deal about it and they father might not. This world has a lot of things to find out and for most people they don’t want to find out about it because that can cause them big problems or killed so that’s why you should always ask a father that is in the pic and ask hey do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea so that you can learn from them and their past mistakes. You should stay with what you got or ask around for help. In Conclusion, parents are the ones that keep you in check and teach you the ways on what is wrong and what is right. You might like the choices they give you or what they tell you to do but what you have to know is that they want what is best for you and your life. Sources Article Title Figure 2f from: Irimia R, Gottschling M (2016) Taxonomic revision of Rochefortia Sw. (Ehretiaceae, Boraginales). Biodiversity Data Journal 4: e7720. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.4.e7720 Enrique’s Journey
In my second "advanced essay" for Mr.Block's english class I focused on how you should feel towards an immigrant refugee. Readers will notice a link to a video as my works cited. I strongly recommend it to everyone.
Don’t feel obligated to a stranger. It makes you feel you owe someone something who you have no connection to. Why would you allow yourself to be brought down by the thought of some else’s pain? Not to say that the suffering of a stranger is irrelevant but only that one shouldn’t let it get to them if they’re doing alright for themselves. The other side to that coin is having empathy. Being able to understand someone’s pain and sympathize for them is important. That statement can pertain to a beggar or the orphan. In this case though it pertains to the immigrant and refugee. It’s hard enough to carry out your own struggle of a life. Most Americans take things day to day if not week to week. So there isn’t any room for anything but sympathy for a refugee. It’s real easy to be in a position that many Americans are in and say that you don’t owe a stranger anything, but it’s true. With privilege comes responsibilities but not obligations to humans on the other side of the globe.
War has ravaged humankind since the very beginning and only the dead see an end to war. Americans are lucky enough to live in such a safe haven where the worst blow was dealt on September 11th. Even emits all the chaos and aftermath of such an event there were no American refugees, no Americans were forced to leave the country because of a fear for their lives. The privilege to live in such a place is undeniable. Especially when on the other side of the planet there are human beings leaving behind everything they’ve ever known in hopes of a better, safer life. It’s probably the scariest and most difficult journey a person can make and yet tens of millions are forced to make it. There are so many people now that the story of the refugee is in fact the story of the modern world. Over the years, the only thing that’s changed is that there are more people to be displaced. Now with modern media and how connected everyone is it’s an issue that is recognized worldwide. The only thing is it’s so very difficult to solve. As much as locking immigrants out is looked down upon, it’s only considered because there is only so much you can do about the issue. There isn’t one definitive answer to the question of where do these people go? The one thing that is known is that they have nowhere to go.
For as long as these people have been becoming displaced, where to go has been their biggest question. The ones who make it wind up somewhere but how welcolm they are is what affects their future the most. In many countries, refugees can find asylum but limited embrace from the people already there. After reaching the finish line by getting to the new country refugees are often met with disrespect and snap judgments. People who are set in their ways will create false justifications for such inhumane disrespect but all those people have one thing in common. They have never met a refugee. Never spoken to the people they think they hate so much. Somehow people are able to create such a strong opinion of something they have never experienced, and this plays into many more aspects of life rather than just immigration issues. Although, refugees seem to get the worst of it. People who have already been through so much get thrown aside like nothing.
When people are face to face it’s a whole different story. There must be only a handful of truly awful people who can look refugee in the eye and explain how they feel no different than how they felt before. Most people can empathize and relate with someone who has a drastically different story than your own. That’s why the video by the New York Times was so good. It showed exactly that. In the video refugees got to sit down and speak to native people living on the island they migrated to. The video was sobering in the fact that these people are so similar to everyone else. Their conversations were genuine as were the laughs, these people got along. Possible because of the mentality that the natives went into such a project with. They understood the refugees situations and had empathy for them. Of course there was no obligations, just a genuine conversation. If more people could have this opportunity with migrants things would be much different.
Works cited: “The New York Times.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Feb. 2016, www.nytimes.com/video/multimedia/100000004237409/migrants-stories-from-a-greek-island.html.
Treat Others how you Wish to be Treated Jackson Shumard
In a picture, taken by Vadim Ghirda there is a lot of people doing different things. We can see about a dozen men, knee-deep in a flowing river doing various tasks. Some of the men look to be holding one man back from the others. Most of the other men are standing around watching this happen while a man in the back stands around with his camera taking pictures. At the same time, we can see a baby being passed from man to man which seems to be in hope to get it away from the water. Although it is a very chaotic photograph, it is obvious the baby is the focal point of the picture.This picture was taken to show that even in a time of chaos there will be ones who put other priorities first and feel an obligation to others. This is significant because there is a wide range of responses people have in situations of despair. Growing up, and to this day I commonly hear the phrase “treat others how you wish to be treated” and I keep it fresh in my memory. This phrase holds a lot of weight when having a discussion about obligations to others. Obligations can look very different when dealing with people of varying importance in your life. Most people would say they feel the most obligation towards their family and friends, but what about strangers? I think that when dealing with strangers peoples obligations greatly vary. Many people feel little to no obligation to strangers and no pity to those in situations below theirs, but there are also a ton that are the complete opposite. For example, the people that serve in the military, the fire department, first responders, teachers, and policemen are all careers that are based on serving the needs of others who are almost always strangers. But even more specific than that, what about the people who do more to help individuals? The ones that feed the homeless, or help people cross the street, or even holding the door. What caused such the variation in levels of obligation people feel and what obligations (if any) do we have to strangers? While reading “Enrique’s Journey” there was many obvious examples of people helping strangers they had never seen and probably never would again. “Enrique is stunned by the generosity. In many places where the train slows in Veracruz-at a curve or to pass through a village-people give. Sometimes twenty or thirty people stream out of their homes along the rails toward the train. They wave. They smile, they shout, and then they throw food.” In this scenario dozens of people ride the tops of trains for days through mexico, few with money for food or water. In the small and very poor town that this train is traveling through countless families come out of their homes on the regular to give a portion of what little they have to the migrants on the trains. I found this significant because of how much it is related to the question of what obligations people feel towards strangers. In this case these people feel obligated to feed the countless different people coming through their village every week when they themselves have very little. When it is looked into more closely, many people can’t afford to be giving away food or water, but they do. “These are unlikely places for people to be giving food to strangers. A World Bank study in 2000 found that 42.5 percent of Mexico’s 100 million people live on $2 or less a day. Here, in rural areas, 30 percent of children five years old and younger eat so little that their growth is stunted, and the people who live in humble houses along the rails are the poorest.” If this information is true, and they still give away little of what they have why is it rare to see someone help a stranger at in Philadelphia? The variation of obligation people feel to others is something that I think exists a lot less in America. I think for the most part Americans are greedy. Many have ten times what those people in Mexico do, but won’t share a penny to someone who needs it. I think that the level of variation that people feel towards others is a response to how a person grew up. It is much more likely for someone who has struggled themselves and gone through hardships to recognize when someone else is and lend support. That is why so many of the Mexican families living along the tracks feed others, because they too have been hungry or poor at a point. In a place like America the attitude is different. There is a stigma to work and get it on your own and little pity to those who rely on others. While in certain situations this may be the appropriate response, I think that many people just need a little help or proof that someone cares about them to get them back on their feet. If everyone would show a little more obligation to help those around them it would benefit everyone.
https://politiken.dk/fotografier/art5849931/Click-the-black-background-and-switch-on-their-reality Pg.106 “Enrique’s Journey” Pg.105 “Enrique’s Journey”
My goal for this essay was to make people think about their obligations to others. When we look at how people treat strangers it varies from person to person with a wide range of responses. I am proud of how I examined the responses of the people living in Mexico along the train tracks. using the book “Enrique’s Journey.” It greatly shows the difference in how strangers are treated there compared to other places in the world and bring up the question of why that is.
The goal of my essay is to determine who belongs and what makes someone a native. Something that I am proud of is how I describe the photograph in the beginning of my essay. I would like the readers to notice the analysis I used to prove my points. I tried to connect all the sources we in class to my topic.
In a photograph from a refugee camp at the Islahiye Camp in the southeastern Turkish province of Gaziantep, the ground is covered in dust, dirt, and rocks. The sky is filled with clouds hanging over the bunched up mountains in the background. There were about 15 white tents lined up along the sides of the dirt. About 7 on one side and 8 on the other. In the middle of all this are about 30 people, more than half are kids. It seems most of the kids aren’t happy and are looking for something to do.
When people think about immigration the main focus is about immigrants not belonging. But the main reason why they think they don’t belong is because they moved from another place but the reality is that people choose what they want the criteria of an immigrant to be based on the situation. In the book We Need New Names the kids are going around trying to find something fun to do. It reminds me of that part because the environment they were in wasn’t the cleanest and didn’t have the best living conditions. The difference is that those kids in that book weren’t immigrants. Their environment was in that condition because of crime, war, and other world problems. In the picture the immigrants were put in an environment with similar conditions because that’s how immigrants are treated since they aren’t natives.
This raises the question of who belongs and what makes someone a native? A widespread belief is that decisions about “who belongs” are often based on appearance. I actually believe this to a certain extent though. I believe this is true because usually the people being targeted in the United States are people that don’t identify as white or black. Such as Latino/Mexican, Chinese/Asian, Middle Eastern, and many more. I’ve rarely seen people with the fairer skin color be questioned on rather they belong in the United States or not compared to other races. One reason I disagree with that is because one way they determine “who belongs” is if that person was born in that country. If they were then that person is automatically considered a citizen of that country. Another way they determine “who belongs” is by checking if a non-native born person has their citizen papers because if they don’t have them than they believe that person should be allowed to live in that country.
According to We Need New Names one of the main characters Darline, moved from Africa to the United States specifically Detroit, Michigan. When she got there she pronounced it as Destroyedmichygen. She met this girl named Kristal and they weren’t really friends. Kristal was teaching them how to put on makeup and she felt superior to them because of that. Darline did not feel the same way. She thought to herself “Kristal thinks that since she taught us to wear makeup and has a weave, she is better than Marina and myself, but the truth is she can’t even write a sentence correctly in English to show that she is indeed American.” I chose this quote because this shows one of the “qualifications” of a native. Since Kristal could barely write in English (the native language of the U.S) Darline is a little skeptical about Kristal actually being American.
According to another book Exit West one of the main characters Nadia was describing her neighborhood. There were many people moving in and out throughout her time there. As she was describing that she said “We are all migrants through time.” What I got from that quote was that everybody is a migrant to another place. For instance when you are from a certain place you are considered a native but when you travel to somewhere different you are now considered a migrant or an immigrant and the same goes vice versa. Another example of this was in an article called A Return to Nigeria. The boy was describing his childhood when he said “Coming of age in foreign classrooms, my sister and I slowly shed our native skins.” He is saying that he is losing his native culture because where he is at now it is considered foreign which forces him to adjust to fit in with natives. Another thing is when someone doesn’t belong they are forced to adapt to the culture around them and sacrifice very important things from their home. When Darline moved from her hometown of Africa to the United States, she had to leave her friends (which were like family to her), her mom, and all the fun things she did there. When she got to the United States it was very unfamiliar to her. She thought the way they danced, ate, and talked was weird. Immediately after she got there she started looking for things that she would see back home. She couldn’t find anything. Her cousin that she didn’t even really know she was related to told her “This is America, yo, you won’t see none of that African shit up in this motherfucker.” This shows that Darline has to adapt to the culture of the United States because what she is used to is nowhere to be found. Since the culture there is not the same as Africa’s culture she has no choice but to learn to adapt to it. In Exit West Saeed and Nadia had to leave Saeed’s father behind along with their jobs and their homes. That was hard because they had to adapt to an unfamiliar place with other each other. In the beginning of the journey they weren’t even that close but as the journey went on their bond got stronger.
In conclusion there are a lot of different factors that go into determining who belongs and what makes someone a native. For example someone isn’t considered a native simply because they weren’t born in that place. Many people believe that theory. So in that case everybody is considered an immigrant when they go somewhere else.
Sources 16 Children – 16 Photos: Click the Black Background and Switch on Their Reality Peter J - https://politiken.dk/fotografier/art5849931/Click-the-black-background-and-switch-on-their-reality Exit West by Mohsin Hamid We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo A Return To Nigeria by Enuma Okoro
My goals for this essay are: to get as much writing time as I can, try to exceed the requirements and not do the bare minimum Have my writing be clearer get my essay proofread and go deeper into ideas that need it. I’m most proud of my essay is the part when I talked about the article because I feel like I went into depth and explained.
This is a picture of refugees trying to cross into another country. There are barbed wires that go from the ground and past their heads. When you look into the distance, it seems like the wires never end as if it’s a maze and what you can see past that is just barren land. It looks as though the people have been walking for a while. The man on the far left in the front is trying to squint to see how much longer the walk is for them. The child in red at the back looks like he or she has no clue as to what’s happening. Everyone is walking in pairs of three, probably because their traveling as a group or there isn’t enough room for everyone to walk together. Another thing is that everyone is wearing jeans and jackets. It’s nothing too heavy that might slow them down but no one is carrying luggage.
When it comes to moving to another country, it’s all about the different opportunities that you can have. The legal way of moving to America, getting a green card or an immigrant visa, can take more than 10 years. Some of the different ways of getting a visa are getting a family petition or an employment sponsor. Even with these options, people still have to get different forms and money. Another thing is that not everyone gets approved or don’t have enough time. That’s when people have to resort to sneaking into a country, which is dangerous and could put them back into the situation they once were or worse. After arriving and settling migrants need jobs and money to support themselves and whoever else might’ve arrived with them. Unfortunately, most jobs don’t pay as much and don’t give migrants the same respect as everyone else. The main jobs that people usually associate with migrants are agricultural workers, construction workers, drivers, tailors, maids, and housekeeping. What people don’t realize is that as long as they’re citizens and have working papers and some money to start with, they can be whatever want. It’s not uncommon for migrant families to have their own business because they do have a lot to bring to society and our economy.
The article, Immigration Must Be Considered An Opportunity For America Not A Problem by Steve Case says, “Countries are either open and growing — absorbing new ideas, people and ways of doing things — or they are closed and falling behind, trying to defend the status quo, exclude outsiders and shut out new thinking.” This quote relates to my topic of opportunities because if countries continue to evolve and let the idea of immigration become normalized then people won’t have to come here both illegally and legally just to worry about getting deported or getting treated as less of a person. It might also the immigration process easier. People wouldn’t have to worry about the types of forms they have and when they might expire, and they wouldn’t need immigration lawyers.
The book that I’m currently reading, Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, starts off with a guy named Jende, who moved from Cameroon (Central Africa) to America with his wife and daughter, going to a job interview to be a chauffeur. He was able to get his job because a family member talked to the employer and recommended him even though Jende did have to lie about his work permit and driver’s license. A quote from page 17 says, “You think a black man gets a good job in this country by sitting in front of white people and telling the truth? Please, don’t make me laugh. I just didn’t want to tell you beforehand and get you even more nervous.” When moving to somewhere new, people should make sure that they have connections with others so that they can get job opportunities and things that would put them in a comfortable position.
In Exit West, the form of magical realism that the author used was portals for the people that needed it the most. There were numerous people that went through portals to go somewhere safer than where they originally were. Nadia and Saeed needed to leave their home country as soon as possible because of the ongoing violence and lack of resources that were there. In Chapter 6, they were successfully able to pass through a portal that took them to a restroom on the Greek island of Mykonos. I used this example because, without the portals, the refugees in the book would probably still be at wherever they came from.
In conclusion, opportunities are a huge part of migration. Without opportunities, most of us wouldn’t be where we are today.
Citations: “How Does the U.S. Refugee System Work?” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/how-does-us-refugee-system-work.
Case, Steve. “Immigration Must Be Considered an Opportunity for America, Not a Problem.” Vox, Vox, 3 Aug. 2016, https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2016/8/3/12362390/immigration-visa-policy-entrepreneur-immigrant-education-snapdeal-kunal-bahl.