Sunday, June 26, 2011

Adjusting to America

America is the land of immigrants.  America is the super power of the world which is why people from all over the world desire to live here.  People from South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and all the other continents want to live here more than any other place.  Being an immigrant from Liberia I know the myths that people believe when they think about America.  People think that money grows on trees in America, that you can get rich without working and live a free great life without any struggle.  I even remembering thinking that the sand in America was sugar.  The American media and American movies were the only images of America we saw, and in them everyone was rich, having fun, enjoying life.  The music videos showed America as a great place with many beautiful woman. These are the reasons that America is the land of immigrants.
            But when I got here things were not what I expected it to me.  The first week I got here I wanted to go back to Africa.  I saw the bad side of America like southwest Philadelphia, people getting shot, people getting beat up in school.  I also realized that immigrants were treated as second class citizens and were bullied.  If you cannot sound like an American and speak good English, then you get put in a lower class.  I was picked on for not being able to speak English so I stopped talking in class.  I got picked on for the way I dressed.  I got called names like “monkey” and “African bootyscratcher”.  If Americans travel to other countries, they draw attention and respect.  I remember being in Africa and when one of my neighbors returned from America, my neighborhood gave the person gifts and treated him nicely so we could hear stories.  We African love stories, and so even if you just visited America but wasn’t an American you were still treated like kings.  I was therefore so surprised to see how foreigners in America treated with respect and seen as second class.  People in America don’t seem to care about foreigners.  I think that if America learns anything then it should be how to welcome foreigners and treat them how people in Africa would treat Americans.  
            But there are still some Americans who do help immigrants adjust, there just needs to be more.

By Emmanuel Kollie

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