Immigrants Are One of a Kind!
I have really learned a lot this semester about immigrants. What I am most amazed by is their ability to adapt. Jasmine has adapted and adopted a new way of life then she ever had before. Even though she initially came to the United States to escape her parents she ended up finding something even better. A whole new family to start. She got a nice job and an amazing husband and flourishes here in the desert. While many migrants come here to find something or to escape some type of oppression Jasmine was simply trying to escape her family and be more independent. So you would say her story is far different from anything I have read about or observed this semester. It was a far cry from what I expected as well.
In Voyages: From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs by Cathy A. Small the journeys of several different migrants were recorded and observed by an anthropologist. Many of these immigrants were “transmigrants” which basically means that while they did live in the United States they were constantly traveling home and sending lots of money home to Tonga. Transmigrants travel back and forth between their place of birth and their new home constantly. While Jasmine travels home as often as possible I do not think that she qualifies as a transmigrant.
We see different types of migrants in In and out of Morocco by David A. McMurray. In Morocco and Melilla you can really see how both sides affect one another. Melilla takes on traits found in Morocco as Morocco takes on characteristics found in Melilla. In the case of the United States and the United Kingdom it is difficult to find where we are currently taking from one another culturally. It probably has something to do with the small amount of United Kingdom immigrants found in the United States and the even smaller amount of United States citizens found in the United Kingdom. But individually we can see that Jasmine has taken on the traits of America and abandoned most of what she was accustomed to back home.
In Crossing the Blvd by Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan many of the migrants had stories of persecution and abuse from their home countries influencing their decisions to come to the United States. They detail the stories of migrants from all around the world finding themselves in Queens, New York. While these immigrants hold on tightly to their heritage they still hold bitterness towards them for the persecution that they suffered. While you would think that those who were persecuted would be more likely to abandon their thoughts and customs it seems to be an individual decision. It does not matter where you come from or why you left the choice to assimilate is always yours. But the diversity from those that do not completely assimilate is what makes our country so special. The diversity is what makes this place beautiful. Even though Jasmine does have many American traits there are still those things that make it evident that she is from the United Kingdom, like her accent and mannerisms for instants.
In Lives on the Line : Dispatches from the U.S.- Mexico Border by Miriam Davidson shows how American business often takes advantage of Mexican workers by underpaying them and having them work in despicable conditions with no benefits. It also shows how Mexico is constantly taken advantage of by the United States government. Even though it can get awfully bad in Mexico there are still those that stay and try to make the best out of a not so good situation. There are even those that no longer live in Mexico but yet still want to travel home to help in any way possible. Jasmine, even though her family struggles expresses how important family actually is to her when she speaks of her desire to speak to her mother everyday. Hispanic peoples in general care about their families more than anything and it is also displayed by Jasmine by speaking with her family and traveling home. While she may have left home at a young age to escape her family it had less to do with them and more to do with the fact that she was young and rebellious. Lives on the Line showed just how important family and country can be.
Another book that Jasmine sort of defied was The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. A young girl with epilepsy’s family had trouble blending into the United States’ world of modern medicine when she was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. The book documents their journey with doctor’s and the problems that were faced because of two different belief systems. It can be assumed but not made factual that had the family fallen in line with modern medicine sooner, little Lia Lee may still be alive. It is times like that when assimilation is pertinent. In just about every other aspect besides law enforcement it is not vital to take on new ways of living and a new culture. But in Jasmine’s case the new “American” lifestyle just fit her.
All immigrants are different depending on millions of factors and it has become more clear to be then ever after reading these books and interviewing Jasmine. The books although not closely tied in with my interview with Jasmine show exactly what I have learned and will continue to stress. All immigrants are different. They have different reasons to move, different reasons to stay; they assimilate, some of them don’t;, some stay in touch with family and others never see any of their family ever again. Immigrants are as different as their fingerprints. No two are completely the same. They may share certain similarities but at the end of the day they are different and distinguished. After my interview with Jasmine and comparing it to the books we read. , I know this better than anything.
"Crossing the Blvd." by Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan
"In and Out of Morocco" by David A. McMurray
"Lives on the Line: Dispatches from the U.S.-Mexico Border" by Miriam Davidson
"The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" by Anne Fadiman
"Voyages: From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs" by Cathy A. Small