Professor: Dale Byam
Literature of the African Diaspora
The negative effect of immigration
The negative effect of immigration
June11, 1999 was the day the title “immigrant” was added to my name. At nine years old I had yet to comprehend how powerful such a word can be, and how, because of this one word, my family’s life would change forever for the worse before it got better. Even though I was nine, I didn’t realize how fast my life would change. I grew up and matured not because I wanted to, but because I had to. Looking back at my memories now, I always wondered if it was worth it to go through so many hardships and obstacles so that my mom could provide my sister and I a chance of becoming someone; a chance of making the “American Dream” a reality. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but one thing that I know is that my family suffered greatly. Even though some things got better, to this day I still don't think that my life will ever be the same.
To be an immigrant means you are a nobody and that you have to start fresh. The laws are different, the language is new, and most importantly - the culture is new. The ability to express yourself is gone because of the language barrier. Immigration has effects both on the family and on oneself – not to mention that it brings physiological damage. It has a negative effect on both kids and parents because of the hardships that people have to overcome ahead.
For this paper, four works will be analyzed to show the impact of immigration on African Diaspora. Immigration causes people to face issues such as the need to change, social and economic difficulties, and the loss of culture. All of these problems will be described and shown. The impact of immigration is apparent in all of the works and it is still seen today.
Our perception of a person is made from the first impression. It takes 7 to 30 seconds to form a first impression of a person but it can take years to change that impression. Everybody, including immigrants, make a first impression. The problem is that our culture is unique and we tend to judge people (especially immigrants) wrongly by knowing they just arrived and are having hard time. Even as an immigrant myself I sometimes catch myself doing it. The road of immigration is not an easy one and it is definitely not for everybody. It is a choice that changes your life forever, and even though you are striving for the better you have to go through hard times before you get there.
One does not have to immigrate to feel immigration's effects. From the late 19th century, African people began to feel its consequences even when living on their own land. They started to feel the burden of the word “immigrant” because of other nations used the Africans as cheap laborers to exploit the African land for the vast resources it had. The burden of new language, culture, and laws, were dropped on the people’s shoulders; and the process of immigration started when the Africans were forced to be immigrants on their own land.
In our first work, we will be looking into a famous poem called Song of Lawino. This epic poem has become Africa’s icon of literary works because it depicts how Africa was suffering from colonization. This poem is a perfect example of immigration and its effects as it depicts two characters in two opposite extremes. Lawino is an African woman who is married to Ocol, who is the son of chief of their tribe. In the poem, Europe was occupying their nation and brought over its culture and beliefs. Ocol became fascinated with the ways of Europe while Lawino stayed true to the African culture. Ocol’s fixation with European people, books, knowledge grew to such an extreme that he stated rejecting his own African people and even his wife. Because Lawino stayed true to her African culture, she had a hard time understanding what was happening to Ocol and was always asking herself why he...